Monday, November 4, 2013

We’re frustrated! Can CMMI training help?

Dear CMMI Appraiser, earlier this year, we adopted the CMMI to help us be more productive and profitable, but we haven't seen the changes we want to see yet.  All that’s happened is our engineers are getting frustrated. Would CMMI training help? ~ Morris A.

Morris, it’s good that you are adopting the CMMI with the goals of driving performance improvement and behavioral change. Not every company that has adopted the CMMI knows to take that approach – though every CMMI consultant should know it and should advocate for it. Sounds like that might not be happening in your case.

Yes, CMMI training would help reduce frustration – but there’s something that can help you even more, and that’s a comprehensive understanding of the Generic Practices (GPs) in the CMMI. Without the GPs guiding the transformation of your organization, your company is like a boat adrift without oars or a compass. You may never get where you want to go.

The good news is, the GPs are there to help.  There are twelve GPs to guide you, and each is useful to you as you go about changing the culture of your organization without disrupting the business. Today I’ll talk about five of them, starting with GP 2.5.

The CMMI anticipates that people performing or supporting the process need to be trained in order to be successful. That’s what the fifth Generic Practice (GP 2.5) guides us to do – Train People.

You’ll find, as you expand your understanding of the Model, that there are multiple interdependencies among the GPs, particularly with regard to training. For example, let’s say one of the changes you want to see is that your Project Managers are efficient at estimating and planning. Starting with the first Generic Practice (GP 2.1), which guides us to set expectations, you are encouraged to tell your Project Managers that you expect them to be efficient at estimating and planning, and that you will TRAIN them on estimating and planning.

Here’s another example. The change you want to see is for your QA folks to run process and product quality assurance. The second Generic Practice (GP 2.2) guides us to plan, so, if you are going to plan for this change, you need to TRAIN your QA folks on running process and product quality assurance.

The third Generic Practice (GP 2.3) guides us to provide resources. If you are going to provide resources for your BA teammates to trace requirements and run JAD workshops, you need to TRAIN them on performing requirement traceability and running JAD workshops.

The fourth GP (GP 2.4) is about assigning responsibility. If you are going to assign responsibility to your engineers to perform peer reviews, you need to TRAIN them to perform peer reviews.

Starting to get the picture? Training is integral to success. But without a solid understanding of the GPs, you might not have a clue just how important training is. You might mistakenly think (as many companies do) that training is a costly overhead expense that does not fit into your tight budget. You might even assume (and we know what happens when we ASSUME!) that it’s OK to train your engineers by throwing them into the fire and asking them to learn on the job.

Is that how training currently happens at your company? Then that’s probably why you have frustrated engineers who are slow to accept change.

The CMMI guides you to take a better approach. Training increases productivity early in the tenure of a person’s employment. Where it takes an average engineer about a year to get up to speed in terms of productivity with peers, training helps them get up to speed in a matter of weeks.

Training also reduces the cost of your people’s time, eliminating their need to reinvent the wheel and perform rework.

Let’s recap. Training saves money, time and speeds your overall performance improvement efforts. These outcomes ought to reduce frustration, wouldn’t you say?

There are many CMMI training courses available in the marketplace. Look for a class that offers real life examples, lessons and proven techniques, so that your team can take away – and retain – valuable information to be used on the job, immediately.  If you are interested in learning about registering for one of our upcoming CMMI training courses, click the links below:

Also, you may want to check out the training courses offered by the CMMI Institute.

Good luck!

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, ScrumMaster, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff pioneered agileCMMI, the leading methodology for incremental and iterative process improvement. He has taught thousands of students in CMMI trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit for more information about engineering strategy, performance innovation , software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.

To download eBooks about CMMI, visit Jeff’s Author Page on Amazon.

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