Thursday, August 28, 2014

What does CMMI say about Agile cross-functional teams?


CMMI Appraiser, I've been trying to work my google-fu on this topic but cant really get a clean cut answer.

IWhen it comes to CMMI certification and utilizing an Agile flavor development methodology, does CMMI care about what domains are doing what work?


In Agile / Scrum / XP they preach the concept of cross-functional team memebers. Team members that at any given time can play the role of tester and/or developer. If a team is comprised of all developers (reporting to the app dev family) and this team does not contain members of the test domain (so a QA / Test family) does CMMI have concern with this? would this be considered a conflict of interest?

Thanks, Jesse

Dear Jesse,

Thank you for your question.  It’s a good one!

CMMI is nothing more than a model for improving what you are ALREADY doing!  There is no conflict between CMMI and any development framework or set of techniques like Scrum or XP.  

If you using Scrum, and you want to get more consistent value out of your Sprint Planning and Daily Standups, CMMI has practices to help.  If you’re using Pair Programming or Planning Poker, CMMI can help those also.  It’s method agnostic.  A lot of people struggle with this because much of the “press” about CMMI in the past has been focused around the early large-scale adopters (Aerospace, Federal Government, etc), and they were big “waterfall” shops.  But that was only one of many possible approaches.

There is no rule about cross-functional team members being good or bad in CMMI (in fact, there are no “rules” at all).  There is nothing in the CMMI model that requires independent testers/QA.  

Now, we can discuss whether that is a good idea in all situations, but in a typical small scrum team it usually does not present any issues.

Good luck!

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Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead AppraiserCertified 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.

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