Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Discount code -- $400 off! -- for Agile Dev East Conference

Hey, CMMI Appraiser, I saw a Tweet that you'll be speaking at the Agile Dev East conference. What topic will you be addressing? ~ John B.

Hey, John - thank you for following me on Twitter!


Yes, I'll be presenting at the Better Software Agile Dev East Conference, which takes place in Orlando in November.  My topic is agile leadership, and I’ll be introducing folks to a new model for evaluating high performing teams, the Agile Performance Holarchy. The Agile Performance Holarchy is a late-binding, soft-coded performance model for adopting, transforming and mastering agility within your software or technology organization.  With the Agile Performance Holarchy, current and future leaders now have an object-oriented model for building and assessing agile capability.

I’ve assessed hundreds of agile teams over the last 15 years, and I’ve learned that there are two impediments that exist to successful and scaleable agile adoption. It’s not that we need a new method. We don’t need to turn Agile into Waterfall.  And we certainly don’t need lower trust or more command and control.

What we need is for leadership to understand, embrace and project agile values, and how they trace to the ceremonies and techniques that we’re using. And we need teams to execute those ceremonies with discipline and integrity.

The Agile Performance Holarchy is a clear definition of great agile for leaders and teams alike, and it provides a sustainable path to agile capability, while preserving the value of high trust and empirical process control.

I hope you can stop by the session, John, and learn about verifiable agile performance.  For those who haven't registered yet, here's the link: Agile Dev East Conference.

Feel free to use my code (BE17JD25) and get $400 off!

It will be my pleasure to see you there.

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 www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information.

Friday, August 11, 2017

When is the best time to adopt CMMI?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser --  Our company just performed a self-assessment, and we are looking at CMMI as a way to push process improvement across our entire organization.  What are some of the factors we should consider as far as timing ... i.e., when is the best time to adopt the CMMI? ~ Brian G.

First of all, Brian, congratulations on completing a self-assessment.  That's the first step to improving you company, your products, and the satisfaction of your customers.  You are on your way!

For a lot of organizations, the best time to look at adopting the CMMI is when you identify the need to change behaviors and establish an environment for operating like a great company – for the long term.  For example:



If you are having trouble with estimates, CMMI can help make your estimates better.

If you are having trouble with late projects, CMMI can help improve predictability.

If your bosses are micromanaging you, CMMI can give them more information to help them understand what is going on with projects.

If you have a lot of tedious rework, CMMI can help avoid that by bringing clarity and validation to the process by making sure the requirements are right when you get them.

If you have unhappy customers, CMMI can help put a framework in place that helps you manage their expectations.

If you experience a lot of chaos in your business, CMMI can help you bring stability to that as well.

If you are interested in defining the Way you do business as a group, the CMMI can help you define your Way and be the great company that you are.

So what should you do next? 

I recommend learning everything you need to know about CMMI as a large collection of lessons learned and best practices.  You can get this information for free on our next webinar, "CMMI: Everything You NEED to Know," on Friday, August 18th at 2PM.


After watching the webinar, you'll be that much closer to getting started with CMMI. Please check back if we can offer further assistance.

In the meantime, I look forward to seeing you on the webinar!

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 www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Check out Ask The CMMI Appraiser TV!

That's right!  We're now have our own YouTube Channel!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYOtm0XSGzxoxy8O4ME9XMQ

Below, you’ll find a list of current "Ask The CMMI Appraiser" episodes. Click on the title to view the video, or use the link above to see them all!
Video 25:  What Is CMMI?
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 www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information.

CMMI: Do you know what "done" looks like?

Check out this video to see it all drawn out for youhttps://youtu.be/_eM1FVFH-04

About once a week my phone rings with a request to "get a level" of CMMI "as soon as possible."

Some of my friends in the CMMI community would chastise me for even entertaining the question and engaging these callers in a helpful conversation - one in particular (you know who you are)  might even slam down the phone (do people even still do that with cell phones?) while yelling "DUMMY!"

It goes without saying that the true purpose of CMMI is to serve as a model for performance improvement, and many say that companies who chase a certificate or plaque (we call this "plaque buildup") are doing nothing good for themselves, and probably damaging their company in the process.  

But I'm not with them on this.  Here's why.

These callers, often company owners, are in a very tight spot. Often they are qualified for the work, sometimes they're even ALREADY doing the work, but then the government (or customer) throw the CMMI requirement at them as a pre-requisite for keeping their revenue coming in.  Many of them have never even heard of CMMI.  I can excuse them for thinking this a tactic meant to unfairly exclude them from winning work for which their are qualified.

Frankly, asking how fast they can get to CMMI MLx is a fair question.  Especially since they don't really have a good feel for what CMMI even is.  They deserve an answer for how to "get it done."

So what does "done" look like?

We recommend starting with an independent, unbiased assessment.  This is a great way to get at the "single source of truth" and bypass all of the emotions, opinions, and roadblocks.  The CMMI has hundreds of nooks and crannies where performance weaknesses can hide, and we want to make sure you understand exactly what is in front of you and what needs to be done.

Once you have that under you belt, you'll have everything you need to put together a "plan-to-achieve." The data tells us that it's not a short process, but if you treat it like a project, and take a deliverable, purposeful approach, it can be done by any company.  Duration depends on a lot of factors: where you are today, resources commitment, sponsorship, and company culture.  I've seen companies take 5 years to get to ML2, and others take 6 months to get to ML3.

As we like to say in our business, "it depends." It's impossible to know without getting into the details.  Anyone who tells you otherwise ("sure, I can get you there in 2 months...") is lying.  Or unethical. Or both.

Once the plan is defined, there's some work to do.  You'll design some processes, develop some training, deploy both, and have your projects adopt the improvements.  In some cases, you may change the way you're working altogether.  Along the way we usually provide some training (Introduction to CMMI), workshops, and consulting, and when you're ready.....

We plan your appraisal(s) by selecting projects and people to sample, developing a schedule, documenting the plan, and reviewing/approving it with key stakeholders.  In the background we'll register your appraisal with the CMMI Institute, and make other key preparations.

About 30 days before your scheduled "onsite," we'll conduct some Appraisal Team Training with four or more of your team members, and conduct a Readiness Review.  That's where it all starts.  From there there will be same data collection in preparation for the big day arriving!

The "onsite portion of your appraisal (known as "Phase II") will take place over a week or more, and will include interviews, artifact reviews, and characterization of practices (a kind of "scoring"), all leading up to the development of a final findings report that will spell out the result.

Did you "pass?"  Well - that's up to you.  Good luck!

Check out this video to see it all drawn out for you: https://youtu.be/_eM1FVFH-04

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 www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information.






Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Adopting Agile frameworks and techniques doesn't make you Agile - does it?

It's undeniable that "agile" is all the rage and is growing exponentially, and that frameworks and techniques that are frequently associated with "agile" (Scrum, XP, TDD, BDD, Planning Poker, et al) are being adopted at a furious pace.  But its growth is horizontal *across projects* and not vertical from projects up to the C-Suite.  This is a problem.

In other words, management isn't really on board.  In most cases, they're still running a "waterfall" operation.  And Agile values? Not so much.

The adoption and projection of Agile values are what provides the necessary culture and state-of-mind that enables true agility.  Without leadership on these, enterprise agile will never happen.  Ever.

So adopting frameworks isn't enough, is it?

I've lost count of the number of companies I've worked with that started out by telling me that they were "agile - sorta."  By that they meant they were working "a little more iteratively" (whatever that means) and holding "daily meetings." Good stuff, for sure, but it's just the beginning.

Most of these companies were diligently trying to adopt agile frameworks and techniques, but they were doing it in a vacuum - without leadership support.  They were doing yeoman's work without leaders fertilizing the crops with a solid demonstration and projection of Agile values - especially high trust, transparency, fail-fast, and collaboration.

"Sure - be agile.  Just make sure to provide a 24 month program plan."

"Sure - be agile.  Just don't bother the customer."

"Great!  We love agile.  Can you fit this new feature into this sprint?"

I wish I could say this is rare problem, but it's not.  I've assessed more than 100 "agile" organizations and 90% of them had leadership that was not actively engaged in agile adoption.

Nothing against the folks who are doing great work at the team level, or the people leading the industry with new and innovative techniques for enterprise agile, SAFe, or DAD  (great stuff, really), but the real impediment is more basic - leaders need to get up to speed on what great agile is, better understand what they're role is in the agile ecosystem, and change the way their leading!

Until they do that, we're pushing rope uphill.

To make matters more complicated, there hasn't been an industry model for them to lean on to check themselves - until now.  Check this one out.

I'll be speaking on the of Agile leadership, values, and more at the upcoming 2017 Agile Leadership Summit in Washington, DC on September 22nd, 2017.  There will be eight great speakers, and networking with other Agile leaders who are looking to address this problem in the industry.  Why don't you join me?  agilecxo.org.

The first keynote is Kevin Fisher, VP at the Nationwide Insurance Advance Development Center.  Kevin is responsible for the capability lift of their 225 Agile teams.  Talk about Enterprise Agile!

The second keynote is our good friend Tom Cagley from SPaMCast.  Tom's interviewed 100s of Agile luminaries, and will be sharing his lessons on Agile leadership.

Register for the Agile Leadership Summit at www.agilecxo.org.



Jeff Dalton is an author, coach, and instructor for Agile leaders.  He is President of Broadsword, a Performance Innovation company, and Chief Evangelist at AgileCxO.org, a resource an development organization that provides models for Agile leaders.