Monday, February 17, 2014

Does the CMMI require us to have a full time CMMI consultant?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser, we’re a young company with a dozen FTEs. We see the value of adopting the CMMI, but lack the resources right now to bring on full time CMMI consultants to help us. Is there any way an extra small organization like ours can have a successful CMMI adoption? ~ software entrepreneur at a recent Conference

Dear Readers,

Welcome back to the studio for today’s episode of CMMI-TV. You know, in my travels around the country and planet, I meet a lot of executives who initially think it is not possible to have a successful CMMI adoption without incurring the heavy cost of a full time CMMI consultant. This is just one of the common myths about the CMMI and extra small companies (those with fewer than 20 people). Below is a video clip with my response to this myth, followed by a synopsis of my response. Enjoy!


Does CMMI require you to have consultants in your company help you achieve a level of the CMMI? Or is that a myth?

Some say they have a full time consulting presence on staff to help them achieve a level of the CMMI, but this CMMI Appraiser believes that only a MINIMAL consulting presence is required for you to be successful.


If you only remember one thing from this video, remember this: The CMMI is not something that consultants can DO to you. It is something they can HELP you with it. Hopefully they can remove some roadblocks, and give you some good suggestions – but no one knows your organization as well as YOU do. Therefore, the internal people at your company are the best source of process improvement ideas.


If you are going to use a CMMI consultant, DO use them to help you structure a program and go-forward plan to achieve a Maturity Level 2, Maturity Level 3, 4 or 5. But here are some DON’T do’s:

  • DON’T use CMMI consultants to write processes
  • DON’T let them tell you what the answers are
  • DON’T let them tell you what it is that you need to do to run your business to be successful

Only YOU can do those things. The engineers, management, project management and leadership of your organization are best suited to decide what best practices are likely to work best for you.

This is not to say that a consultant has no value. A consultant can help you get organized, and that can be extremely valuable, but DON’T lean on them too heavily to be successful with CMMI. Only a minimal consulting presence is required.


No matter what process improvement model you embrace or who helps you adopt it, the improvement of your company is up to YOU, not up to them.

For more information, register for our upcoming Webinar:

Shattering the Myths about CMMI and Extra Small Companies
March 17, 2014 (1-2PM EDT)

CMMI-TV is the free video series with the answers you’re looking for about Agile, CMMI and Performance Innovation. As a subscriber, you’ll be notified when we add new episodes to CMMI-TV and you’ll get links to other premium content, as well. Sign up here!

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

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff 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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