Thursday, March 26, 2009

Two more hours until YOUR questions are presented at SEPG 2009!

Yep, in two short hours yours truly will present your questions (and my answers) as part of my "Notes from the Blogosphere" presentation.

Last year attendees rated this #1 at SEPG 2008.  Lots of fun and prizes will be given out.

See you there, we hope!


We're not really sure about IIPD. How does it fit in?

We're trying to reach CMMI ML3.  We don't understand how IPPD fits in.  Is it required?  Is it useful?

IPPD, or Integrated Process and Product Development,  is what is called an “Addition” in the CMMI model.  Unlike the rest of the Goals in ML3, which are required, the Goals in IPPD (two in IPM and two in OPD) are optional when you are trying to achieve ML3.
The Goals of IPPD provide guidance to better manage integrated teams, or teams that cross organizational boundries.  You may not feel you need the practices contained within it, and if that's the case, they are not required.
That said, I think IPPD is great and very useful and should be used to guide you in the way projects, teams, and organizations interact.
But, from a pure ML3 perspective, these Goals are optional.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Jeff Dalton (that's ME!) wins presitgious SEI Member Award at SEPG 2009

In a cermony attended by three-hundred of his peers, Jeff Dalton was awarded the prestigious SEI Member Award for "Outstanding Representative."

This award is given to the SEI Member who has show consistent innovation, new idea generation, and has demonstrated that they "think outside of the box" when it comes to delivering CMMI services.

What do Appraisers look for?

Our company is  aspiring to achieve CMMI level 2.  We have been doing GAP Analysis for level 2. But we always stuck with one question What do CMMI Appraisers look for?

The practices listed in CMMI are  vague. For example in Configuration Management Process Area the first practice says "identify configuration items" .  What if we identify certain CM items which are important according to organization, will appraiser say you didn't add this item in your CM list  and fail us.

What if in some practices we don't see business value and we don't implement, would appraiser say strict "NO" and we fail.

The CMMI model consists of Process Areas, Goals, and Practices (as well as many other things).  As a Lead Appraiser it is my duty to verify that every Goal (specific Goal or Generic Goal) within the targeted maturity level, has been "satisfied."  There is no opportunity for you to declare a goal "out of scope," with the possible exception of those within Supplier Agreement Management."  We also EXPECT to see that all of the practices are being performed, or we expect you to demonstrate an alternative practice.  The practices are used to satisfy the goals.

The example work products under each practice give you some idea of the types of evidence we are looking for - but it is only an example list - there are many other possibilities.

We are looking for two pieces of evidence - one "Direct" and one "indirect" which could also be an "affirmation" or a verbal statement.  Both pieces have to be there to you to succeed for each practice.

Is there a simple book with a set of steps for achieving CMMI ML2?

We are a small business that provides federal government contractors and  staffing augmentation to various state and local government agencies. We are finding that more of the federal work we are going after requires at least CMM Level 2.  I am trying to understand the easiest way that we can get to the level 2 benchmark. Can we simply document our backoffice processes. Do we need to also document our CRM & HRM process? Where do we start? I think our situation is much simplier than documenting a full SDLC methodology. Is there a simply book that says follow these steps? Please advise.
The CMMI for Services, which sounds like the "flavor" (or constellation) of CMMI that you would use, has 25 Process Areas.  In Maturity Level Two there are eight process areas that must be satisfied and appraiser using an external SCAMPI Lead Appraiser.
Those eight process areas are: Project Planning, Project Monitoring and Control, Measurement and Analysis, Configuration Management, Process and Product Quality Assurance, Supplier Agreement Management, Requirements Management, and Service Delivery.
In order to achieve Maturity Level Two you must demonstrate sustained, consistent processes performance in all the Process Areas, with the POSSIBLE exception of Supplier Agreement Management.  You demonstrate this by defining, using, and then being appraised on your company's standard processes.
You probably have less work to do in the CRM/HR area than in the area that focuses on the development, maintenance, delivery, and monitoring of your company's services.
These processes don't come out of a book - they are YOUR processes, so it would be difficult to write a book that was specific to your company.
Your best bet is to get smart about the CMMI by taking the CMMI Intro class from an SEI Partner, download the CMMI-SVC specification from (only read Part 2 for now!), and then engage a professional to help you navigate the roadmap.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

SEPG 2009 Starts Tomorrow!

We're in San Jose this weekend wrapping up a two day meeting with the Broadsword clan.  Don't miss out on this awesome event!

Tuesday: SEI Member Lunch!
Tuesday: CMMI or Agile: Why Not Embrace Both! with me, Mike Konrad, and David Anderson
Wednesday: JCI Experience Report with Ross Timmerman and me
Wednesday night: Broadsword Cocktail Mixer! Fairmont hotel, Garden Room at 5:30 - win an iPod Shuffle!
Thursdsay: MORE Notes from the Blogosphere.  YOUR QUESTIONS on display at SEPG 2009!

Hope to see you there!  


Do we need to have a plan for every process area?

GP2.2 says "Plan the Process" and I’ve been trying to find out, to no avail, do we need separate plans for:  Integrated Project Management (IPM),  Technical Solution (TS),   and  product Integration (PI)?
The intent of GP2.2 is not to have a separate plan for each process, but to account for the tasks and deliverable of the process within your integrated plan.  This is the best way to institutionalize the process is to plan for it, monitor that plan, and take corrective action when something does not adhere to the plan.
If you take REQM as an example, wouldn't you plan for eliciting their needs, reviewing the requirements, performing validation, updating traceability, and all of the other practices?  In a way, the plan DRIVES the process, so it's pretty important.
So, no, you don't need a separate plan for each PA, but your plans do need to contemplate important process steps, and that's covered in IPM.

Do we need separate policies for every Process Area?

We're working towards ML3 and are trying to understand how to address GP2.1.  Our consultant said LA's will only accept a "policy book" with a policy for each PA signed off on by management. Is that true?

Well, you couuuuuuuld do it that way, but why would you?  Either your consultant has never done a successful process implementation, or he's looking for work to do!

From a process perspective, what is the practical difference between:

IPM and PP?
PP and PMC?
TS and PI?
REQM and RD?

The answer is that these are not silos, but threads, and the expectations (policy) of using the process (and the process itself) should be based around those threads, not around the PAs.

So you might have one policy for the Project Management PAs, another around the Engineering PAs, and so on.  The categories in the CMMI continuous representation (Project Mgmt, Process Mgmt, Support, and Engineering) might be a good place to start.

We are a testing company going to ML3. Do we need to perform TS and PI?

We are a testing company in SoCal.  We want to go to ML3 and our appraiser tells us we can leave Technical Solutions and Product Integration out of scope for our appraisal.  That doesn't sound right - what do you think?

Whoa nellie!  The SCAMPI MDD ia clear on this subject (and I wish more LAs would read it!).  If you’re going to achieve ML3 using the CMMI-DEV Constellation then PI and TS are required.  The only PA you may leave out of scope for an appraisal is POTENTIALLY Supplier Agreement Management (SAM).  So yes, you would need a policy to set expectations for TS and PI, a process to follow, tailoring guidelines, and so on. 

Putting aside the SCAMPI requirements, why would a testing organization NOT want to use these process areas?  You select and use technology, write scripts, execute test plans, run regression and integration tests right?  Most of that is covered in TS and PI and is a perfect fit for your kind of business.

Must defect measures be consolidated into the measurement repository?

I met an ATM that told me that an appraised organization failed ML 3 because the LA said it is required to consolidate in the measurement repository data from defects. The measurement repository of the organization contains consolidation of historical effort estimation data. The organization answered to the LA that according to its business objective, historical effort estimation data is the most important data to consolidate, no defects. The LA reply that in ML 3 the measurement repository must contain a set of measures not just one measure. I am not sure if this is right.
Sometimes I just want to take a cricket paddle and swat some of my fellow LA's on the side of head. NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!
Yes, OPD has a requirement for establishing a measurement repository, and the informative material describes what the contents MIGHT be.  No where in that description, or in the process area in general, does it describe specific measures that need to be in the repository - other than to say "product and process measures."
To further make the case, the use of the repository is to satisfy practices in IPM to "plan the project."  In that context, you're argument seems solid to me.  Knowing the little that I know about your experience, and if all else you've said is accurate, I would not approve of your Lead Appraiser's opinion.
You may consider engaging an LA that understands the model better and has more practical experience.

Are Process Performance Models required for QPM?

We are struggling in the creation of Process Performance Model (PPM) which are fit and working. Is it a requirement for ML4 QPM? What are other alternatives for PPM?
Actually, the Goals and Practices in Quantitative Project Management (QPM) don't specifically direct you to use PPMs at all, although it is mentioned in the informative material.  So the simplistic, "answer in a vacuum" is "no." HOWEVER, if you're striving to be a ML4 organization, you must also be performing Organizational Process Performance (OPP), which DOES have a practice that expects process performance models to be developed.
The expectation is that QPM uses these PPMs to plan and manage the project.  So the PPMs originate with OPP, but is used by those who execute QPM (which could be completely different people).
If the reference in OPP to models was only in the practice (SP1.5 - Establish Process Performance Models) then it would only be "expected" (practices are expected, goals are required right?) then I could suggest an alternative, but alas, the Goal (SG1 in OPP) does indeed state the baselines AND models need to be developed.
So, yes, PPMs are required.