Thursday, February 22, 2018

Bon voyage, sweet Generics, we hardly knew ya!

Editor's Note: This is second in our series about the upcoming release of CMMI v2.0 [Jeff]

Thirteen practices, eighteen process areas, and a whole lot of discovery goin' on! We've all just gotten used to it - now you can say goodbye to the Generic Practices....FOREVER!**

The CMMI's Generic Practices (GPs), the set of 13 practices that serve as the "secret sauce" for ensuring institutionalization and adoption across all of the process areas, have been part of the CMMI since the beginning. 

As I've taught in 100+ CMMI training classes, they are the definition of "goodness" for successful process implementation.

Currently, users of the CMMI model apply the following Generic Practices to every process thread:

GP1.1: Perform Specific Practices (show up, do your work, duh)

GP2.1: Establish an Organizational Policy (ensure everyone understands what is expected of them)

GP2.2: Plan the Process (plan out how the process will be executed, so everyone knows)

GP2.3 Provide Resources (make sure all the tools, funding, and other resources are provided to be successful)

GP2.4: Assign Responsibility (assign process roles, not job titles)

GP2.5: Train People: (yeah, yeah, yeah, no one does this...enough)

GP2.6: Control Work Products (don't be a jerk, save your work)

GP2.7: Identify and Involve Relevant Stakeholders (are people playing their process roles?)

GP2.8: Monitor and Control the Process (is it working as planned?)

GP2.9: Objectively Evaluate Adherance (are people using the process?)

GP2.10: Review Status with Higher Level Management (making sure they care)

GP3.1: Establish a Defined Process (the project gets to tailor the process)

GP3.2 Collect Process Related Experiences (long way of saying lessons-learned, metrics, retros)

I've long said that the GPs are the best part of the CMMI, and they are what really differentiates it from other models.  And they're going away.

In CMMI v2.0 there will be more Practice Areas [heads up: name change in v2.0]  focused on the process, and two of them, Implementation Infrastructure (II) and Governance (GOV), will serve a similar function to the GPs.  We'll do a direct mapping in a later post, but for now, the practice areas include:

Implementation Infrastructure (II)

II will include practices for performing the process, providing resources, training, using organizational assets, and collecting lessons and assets.  Sound familiar?

Governance (GOV)

GOV covers more ground than the Generic Practices, but it also includes setting of policies and expectations, providing resources for continuous improvement, and adhering to policies.

So, yeah, the Generic Practices.

It's my understanding that both II and GOV will need to be applied to ALL Practice Areas in scope for an appraisal, and the "level" of each must match the target maturity level (think "Continuous Representation" and you'll get the idea).  Of course - some of this might change prior to release on March 31, but this seems pretty well baked.  So, at least they've kept the functionality.

So, the days of using the Generic Practices as a handy "front-of-book, back-of-the-book" reference are over, and you'll no longer have them to kick around during appraisals.  But now we'll have II and GOV to look forward to - so onward!

There are quite a few other changes – including how CMMI Training has changed (next week), and more.  I'll be back in a couple of days to write about those.

Meantime, if you're interested in learning more about the set of in-depth classes we are offering on the subject in May, click "CMMI v2.0 Training."

** all of this could change before the release on March 31, although I doubt it will.

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 training classes and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit for more information about engineering strategy, performance innovation, software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.

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