Thursday, February 5, 2015

CMMI-TV: Are You Scrum or “Scrum-But”?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser, what can I expect as a member of an Appraisal Team that is appraising an agile organization? ~ SEPG NA Conference Attendee

Dear Readers,

Today’s episode of CMMI-TV was filmed ON LOCATION at the most recent SEPG North America Conference in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia, where I delivered the keynote address on “Values-based Engineering.” Earlier in the day, an attendee had asked what to expect as a member of an Appraisal Team that is appraising an agile organization. Below is a video clip with my answer, followed by a synopsis of my response. Enjoy!


The CMMI is an important tool for helping agile scale. Having a CMMI appraisal is a great way to test the strength and resiliency of your agile values, methods and techniques.


Being a member of the Appraisal Team looking at an agile organization has many advantages:

  • It is more interesting to appraise a good agile project
  • You get to appraise actual behaviors, not just the documents they are producing 
  • There is tremendous value for the company for you to appraise behaviors


As a member of the Appraisal Team looking at an agile organization, you will be asking questions, including:

  • Are you really agile? After all, ceremonies are widely open to interpretation. There isn’t a 1:1 map. So we as an Appraisal Team have to figure out, are you really agile? Or, are you just Fragile?
  • Are you Scrum – or are you “Scrum-But”? I use the term “Scrum-But” when people say, “Oh, we’re using Scrum, but …” For example, some misguided, would-be agile developers say, “We use Scrum, but we’re using Microsoft Project.”


Most organizations start off pretty fragile. The problem is that agile is an aspirational way of doing business. It’s not a methodology. Agile is something we are, while CMMI is something we use to make it better. If the desire to have an agile transformation is being pushed uphill from project teams, there is only one way this will end, and it’s not good.


Agile is aspirational. Agile projects have to be driven by aspirational values that come out of the leadership of the organization. It has to be part of the company culture. Because without that, you are Fragile … not agile … and you are “Scrum-But” … not Scrum.

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 running a successful CMMI and performance improvement program.

No comments: