Saturday, August 8, 2015

Is CMMI Training like auditor training?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser, the Lead Appraiser that the company hired has informed me that I will be monitored for producing work product evidence for all of the sub-practices in CMMI. He said I need CMMI training, but I’m scared. Is CMMI training like auditor training? ~ Bali

Hey, Bali,

No need to fear. CMMI training is NOTHING LIKE auditor training, because a SCAMPI appraisal is NOTHING LIKE an audit! If your Lead Appraiser is treating the SCAMPI appraisal like an audit, he is driving all the wrong behaviors. I can’t image a more insidious waste of time and money – not to mention the drain on emotional capital. He is making you (and others in your company, most likely) fear the CMMI for no good reason.

Did he really say he’ll be monitoring you? Um, like this?

No wonder you're scared!  But it doesn't have to be this way.

What your Lead Appraiser needs to understand is that CMMI is just not an audit. Nothing about the CMMI is like an audit; CMMI is a model for continuous improvement. As Lead Appraiser, your consultant is tasked with not only ensuring that you’re using the model properly, but that you are getting value out of it, and that your company is using it to become a great company. That’s the bottom line of CMMI. 

If your Lead Appraiser is insisting on seeing “work product evidence,” or what are now called “artifacts” for every single sub-practice in the model, he’s acting like an auditor. The CMMI does NOT call for an audit of sub-practices! Sub-practices simply give us a glimpse into the mind of the authors to help us understand what they were thinking.

The practices in the CMMI are meant to provide valuable guidance for you. They are not things to comply with, as written. They are not hoops to jump through or penalties to be incurred if you miss a step. They are suggestions of what to do to make your company incrementally and iteratively better. 

There are few quick-fixes in the CMMI. I do have one suggestion, though. You can make your company instantly better by getting rid of that Lead Appraiser and replacing him with a good Lead Appraiser.

A good Lead Appraiser wants to know how he can help you get better. He doesn’t want to see you saddled you with “process debt,” busy-work and taxes. Rather, a good Lead Appraiser wants you to understand that CMMI is not scary when you learn to use the Model to set the right goals and objectives, and keep asking the right questions. For example:
  • How do you know you are good at what you do?
  • How do you know if you are improving?
  • How do you know if the process you use is working well?
  • How do you know if your requirements change process is useful?
  • How do you know if your products are as good as they can be?

Helping you learn about the way you work, so that you can get better, is what the CMMI is all about. With learning as your goal, you’ll stay on the path to greatness, and achieving a Maturity Level of the CMMI will be just one byproduct of your journey.

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:

Note: both courses include a 1-day supplemental CMMI-SVC class (optional).

Hope to see you in class!

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 program.

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