Thursday, September 24, 2015

CMMI-TV: What should our process architecture look like?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser, What should our process architecture look like? ~ NY-SPIN Attendee

Dear Readers,

I had an opportunity at a recent NY-SPIN event to present on “Agile Resiliency,” our strategy for making agile strong enough to survive, thrive and even scale. Today’s episode of CMMI-TV was filmed ON LOCATION in New York City, where I was asked what a company’s process architecture should look like. Below is a video clip of my answer, followed by a synopsis of my response. Enjoy!


Process has an architecture best envisioned as a 3-tiered structure. At the highest level of the architecture are the values of the company, which trickle down to the methods we use to do our work. Methods are the second tier. Techniques are the third tier. All three tiers all go together, and you can transform your company culture by paying attention to each tier in relation with the others.


Agile values, such as high trust, transparency, collaboration, are values represented in the agile manifesto. In an agile organization's architecture, these values can be traced to the methods we use to do our work, as well as our techniques.


Methods can also be traced back to values.  In my company, Broadsword, our values happen to be agile values. We trust our people. We are open and transparent. Everybody in the company has ownership stake, and we’re a collaborative team. At one point, the team said, “Hey, if we’re going to have these agile values, shouldn’t we use Scrum, because Scrum fully supports those values.”

The values drive the methods.  Up to that point, we had been running in a Waterfall environment. We were making plans every year and putting estimates together for all the things we did.  But this method wasn't consistent with our desire to fail fast, be collaborative and transparent, and all the other agile values we upheld.  It only made sense that we would transform our company to agile and adopt the one method that was designed to support agile values, Scrum.


What techniques will we use? With values and methods in alignment, we can choose agile techniques that support our values and are part of the Scrum method, like Planning Poker, for instance.  This is how all three tiers tie together to create a well defined, well connected architecture.


If you’d like to know more about guiding your team to embrace agile values, methods and techniques to drive performance improvement, you are invited to participate in the newest webinar in our “Everything You Need to Know” series: “Performance Management!”

Webinar registration: “Everything You Need to Know: Performance Management!” on Wednesday, September 30th at noon EST

It's free, it's useful, and it's a whole lot of fun. Join us, won't you?

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.

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