Friday, March 29, 2019

Did you experience an increase in quality and performance?

Welcome back to Ask the CMMI Appraiser for today’s installment of CMMI User Stories!

If you missed the previous posts, we’ve responded to the demand for information in the industry ("What does the market think about the CMMI today?") by sharing our study of what CMMI users really think about the CMMI. The first question was: “Are projects more predictable with the CMMI?

Today we're highlighting Question #2:

Did you experience an increase in quality or performance?


The great strength of the CMMI is that it provides organizations with guidelines for increasing performance and improving the quality of product and services. With a market that often focuses on achieving a “level,” we sought to understand whether organizations actually achieved improvements in performance and quality.

A healthy eighty-four percent of respondents said they improved in these areas (up from eighty percent in 2012).

Be sure to check back regularly as we share results of the CMMI User Story Report right here on Ask the CMMI Appraiser.

We’ve also made the information available in an eBook. If you would like to receive the complete set of user stories in the final Report, click here to access your free* copy.


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 www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about running a successful CMMI program.

Monday, March 25, 2019

How do we get teams to embrace CMMI and Agile?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser, we are looking at ways to use the CMMI and Agile to make software and engineering performance even better. This will be a big change for us. What’s the best way to get our folks to buy in? ~ Don V.

Hey, Don,

Great question! Most companies don’t realize that the biggest hurdle to success is how you deploy improvements to the community. It's critical to think about what you're going to do to get people to embrace it and actually use it.


In my experience, the place to start is with training. Upgrade yourself to the latest version of CMMI and Agile, while learning about the intersections between Agile and CMMI, so you can understand how to combine the two and get the best results.

Then let them run with it. Buy-in comes from overcoming obstacles together, having success, and developing a team identity. When people apply what they've learned, and help free the organization from burdensome process debt, unhappy customers, overhead, and compliance ... we call that "being a CMMI Badass."

There are many training options in the marketplace offering to help you. But software and engineering executives and professionals regularly tell us there's something different and unique about our CMMI and Agile training classes. Instead of some of the standard exercises, they participate in things like playing Planning Poker, using Fibonacci sequencing for their estimates, doing Agile program planning, conducting performance retrospectives, and practicing many of the hands-on Agile ceremonies and activities.

For some, the experience can be transformative.

So I'd suggest starting where you'll see the biggest immediate impact on performance, Don. Get your team registered for the latest training in CMMI V2.0 and Agile. They’ll come away knowing how to use CMMI and Agile together, freeing your organization to be great as you know you can be.

Join the CMMI Gang!

April 1-3, 2019: CMMI V2.0 Training

April 4-5, 2019: Agile/CMMI Integration Workshop

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 www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about running a successful CMMI program.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Are projects more predictable with the CMMI?

Welcome back to Ask the CMMI Appraiser for today’s installment of CMMI User Stories!

In response to the demand for information in the industry (What does the market think about the CMMI today?) we are sharing our study of what CMMI users really think about the CMMI.

The study consists of surveying over 70 CMMI users and asking them about their experiences with the CMMI, good and bad. Here’s our first question:

Are projects more predictable with the CMMI?



As more organizations around the world pursue the value that frameworks like the CMMI and Scrum are intended to provide – higher quality products, faster delivery, and predictable, repeatable results – it is not always clear that the benefits are being realized. Measuring a quality such as predictability can be an inexact science.

In our survey, eighty-two percent of respondents indicate that projects are more predictable with the CMMI (up from eighty percent in 2012).

Be sure to check back regularly as we share results of the CMMI User Story Report right here on Ask the CMMI Appraiser.

We’ve also made the information available in an eBook. If you would like to receive the complete set of user stories in the final Report, click here to access your free* copy.

*$9.99 on Amazon

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 www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about running a successful CMMI program.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

My Book "Great Big Agile" spotted at South-by-Southwest 2019!

Attendees at SXSW2019 got to check out my new book, Great Big Agile this week, courtesy of my great publisher Springer Apress!




Tuesday, March 12, 2019

What does the market think about the CMMI today?



What does the market think about CMMI?

Yes, that’s still the million dollar question, isn’t it?  Since the last time we did this survey seven years ago, we’ve seen a spin-off to the CMMI Institute, new leadership, new staff members, a fresh marketing approach, and the introduction of the Model upgrade, CMMI V2.0.


Much has changed. But have perceptions changed? To find out, we commissioned the second User Story study. Seventy-seven companies were randomly selected to participate rom the CMMI Institute’s Published Appraisal Results (PARs) All had achieved at least CMMI Maturity Level 2 between 2015 and 2017.

The reason we chose this timeframe was to give the CMMI users some period of time since adoption, allowing for more objectivity.

The survey went out to CEOs, VPs and Quality Assurance Managers of North American companies, large and small. Companies were in the aerospace, defense, finance, transportation, energy and manufacturing industries, and they were all using CMMI-DEV.

We listened to the stories they told about using the CMMI. We captured the data, and analyzed the results.

Like its predecessor, the second edition of the CMMI User Stories Report builds its case on anecdotal data from actual end users. We gathered stories about what’s working and what’s not working with the CMMI, directly from the users themselves.

We will begin posting the results later this week. You are invited to check back regularly as we share results of the CMMI User Story study right here on Ask the CMMI Appraiser.

We’ve also made the information available in an eBook. If you would like to receive the complete set of user stories all at once, simply click to download the free* version of the eBook.

*$9.99 on Amazon.

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 about running a successful CMMI program.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

How can I become a CMMI Badass?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser, how can I become a CMMI Badass? ~ Joey T.

Hey, Joey - the latest class of CMMI Badasses is officially trained, certified, and riding to a town near you!



What is a CMMI® Badass?
  • A CMMI Badass knows the CMMI is a way to super-charge performance, not a test to be compliant with.
  • A CMMI Badass understands that CMMI give you more control over the way you do your work.
  • A CMMI Badass knows that changing your company can't be done with a tool that promises “CMMI compliance in six months or less."
  • A CMMI Badass doesn't care about certificates or "plaque buildup."  It's about the rush of high performance.
  • A CMMI Badass knows that "creating evidence to pass" is a huge waste of time
  • A CMMI Badass knows why the company is adopting CMMI
  • A CMMI Badass captures data about whether or the team is benefiting from the CMMI.

Want to become a CMMI Badass? For the latest training in CMMI v1.3 or CMMI V2.0, you can join the CMMI Gang by signing up for one of our high-speed training classes. Check out the CMMI Badass site here:

www.cmmibadass.com

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, Certified Agile Assessor, author, keynote speaker, 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. His new book, Great Big Agile: an OS for Agile Leaders (© 2018), is now available on Amazon.

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


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

What are Representations in the CMMI?

Dear Appraiser,

What are Representations in the CMMI?

A “Representation” in CMMI is a way of looking at the data in the CMMI model and using it to evaluate performance.

Currently, there are two such “representations.” Staged and Continuous.

The “Staged Representation” organizes the twenty-plus process areas in the model by “Maturity Level.” In other words, there is a pre-defined set of process areas that go together for each maturity level, starting with 2 and going through 5 (no, there isn’t a Level 1 in the Staged Representation).

If a company wishes to improve using the guidance from Maturity Level Two, there are seven Process Areas to choose from in CMMI-DEV, and 8 in CMMI-SVC, and an associated set of 10 “Generic Practices,” which you can think of as the “secret sauce” required for successful implementation. After that, the number of Process Areas and Generic Practices increases (the number is dependent on which version of CMMI you are using).

Using the Staged Representation allows an organization to achieve a “Maturity Level.”

The “Continuous Representation” doesn’t have Maturity Levels, and in this version the Process Areas are organized within categories (Project Management, for instance) instead of Maturity Levels. You can pick and choose the ones you want, and if you want to “get a level” you can do it in one (or more) process areas by coupling it with the Generic Practices.

Using the Continuous Representation allows an organization to achieve a “Capability Level” in one or more areas.

So the difference between the two is simply in 1) how they are listed in the book and 2) how you can “get a level.” Simple!

Enjoy - and check my site at www.broadswordsolutions.com

What Makes the Scrum framework "Agile?"

[Dear Readers, here is another cross-post from the fun I've been having over at Quora this year!}

What Makes the Scrum Framework "Agile?"

I’m probably going to get flamed here, but the real answer is “nothing.”

Don’t get me wrong - Scrum is an awesome approach for getting work done, and it does spring from the “agile community.” But methods like Scrum, XP, Kanban, etc are not, in and of themselves, “agile.” Although, they are related to it and can support, it.

In order to appreciate this position, consider that Agile isn’t a method or framework at all. It’s a state of being.

Before you click over to another page because of the “warm-and-fuzziness” of that statement, consider that Agile was a reaction to the mechanization, over-processing, and de-personalization of corporate IT, which was going about the business of building software “factories,” and reducing software developers down to the lowest-cost lines of code that could be purchased on the global marketing (jeez, it sounds so evil when I put it that way!).

The result of this was, predictably, terrible software that was not only expensive, but didn’t do what the user wanted. One CIO friend, who knew it was bad but didn’t really quite get the reason for it, lamented “If I’m going to get crap, I want it cheap!” Obviously, not one of our best examples of technology leadership!

“Agile” is a social movement that leans heavily towards the following values: Trust (above all the others), transparency, collaboration, learning, and a positive, safe, and supportive work environment. Sounds great, right?

Well, it can be. But it doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and as it turns out people don’t naturally behave that way. That’s where Scrum comes in.

Scrum is a framework which demonstrates “Values Traceability.”  In other words, all of the ceremonies, techniques, and roles within Scrum are there BECAUSE of the values.


  • How do you promote “Transparency?” Have a daily standup, a scrum board, and sprint retros. 
  • How do you promote “Trust?” Involve you customer in sprint planning and sprint demos so they are part of the process and learn to trust your ability to deliver.
  • How do you collaborate?  Include your customer in backlog grooming, spring planning, and story writing

In other words, Scrum is a framework designed to get work done within the architecture of Agile values. Same for the other lesser used but equally powerful frameworks like XP and Kanban.

But - and this is a big but - there’s a massive hole in the model. The very people that CAUSED the agile movement to start (senior leaders) aren’t necessarily on-board, and there has not, until now, been a framework for them. And without THEM, none of it scales.

That’s where the Agile Performance Holarchy (APH), comes in. You can find out more about that in my book Great Big Agile: An OS for Agile Leaders here: https://amzn.to/2By1VWd

GBA is all about values, objectives, actions, and ceremonies for LEADERS to help them build, sustain, and evaluate agile performance using agile values.  Think of it like Scrum, but for leadership.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

When is NOT a good time to use Agile Methodologies?

Question: When is it a BAD time to use Agile Methodologies?

“Agile Methodology” is a pretty broad term, so I’ll make an assumption and assume you meant something like Scrum, XP, or Kanban. “Agile,” is generally thought of as a set of values and an approach to working together, but it has spawned a number of frameworks that are based on this vision, and many people use those terms interchangeably.
It’s a great question really. A lot of people decide to use agile just because it’s hot, popular, or they’ve heard that it’s better, but it’s really something you should consider before making a choice like that. This is because it affects more than just your team.
Warning size where Agile would NOT be successful are:
  • Your management (or customer, or both):
    • Your management (or customer, or both) are extremely controlling,
    • They don’t have a hire degree of trust
    • And they like to tell you how to do your work
All agile frameworks, and “being agile” itself, requires a high-trust environment. I don’t mean one where your management leaves you along or ignores you - they need o be involved - but one where they let you figure out how the work gets done.
Other warning signs are:
  • Team members don’t like sharing information regularly about their current work
  • The requirements are well-known and well-documented in advance, and changing anything takes an act of god (I’m talking to you government).
  • It’s impossible to co-locate, or at least have a place to gather regularly to share information, ideas, and brainstorming
But - there are many GOOD reasons to adopt agile. You might check out “Great Big Agile” on Amazon. It takes a look at organizational agile and covers a lot of these topics.
Good luck!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Do federal agencies distinguish between CMMI services or development for solicitations?

I’ve been a CMMI Lead Appraiser for over twelve years, have done hundreds of appraisals, and work closely with government agencies and contractors. 

I have never seen an RFP or solicitation that differentiated between CMMI -DEV and CMMI-SVC. Most that I have seen use outdated information, refer to older, sunset versions of CMMI, and don’t even seem to know the SEI spun the CMMI out to another company in 2013.
It all seems like boilerplate. That said, most of the solicitations that require CMMI are for technology-oriented (primary SW) companies, not services companies.
Good luck!