Friday, February 26, 2010

I've been tagged with leading our company's CMMI effort - where do I start?

I just got the good news - a big promotion to drive our company's effort towards CMMI ML2. Where should I start?

Great question.

Assuming you have not already done so, try to locate an offering of the SEI's NEW CLASS "CMMI ML2 for Practitioners." This class is new, and may not be available everywhere, but is more focused than the traditional "Introduction to CMMI" course, which is also a great course to take, but is broader than what you need.

You could also read any of the great books by James Persse or Michael West, especially Michael's "Real Process Improvement with the CMMI."

Other than that, read every post on this blog, and check out the SEI's web site at for papers and presentations.

And get yourself a good, solid CMMI Consultant - make sure he/she is a Lead Appraiser or CMMI Instructor that has been CERTIFIED (not authorized) by the SEI.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Can software itself ever be assessed at a CMMI Maturity Level?

I understand a software development organization can be CMMI accessed
at various levels, but software is not said to be CMMI accessed correct?

CMMI is a set of processes which guide the organization, but not the resulting software.

I often hear of companies proclaiming that their software is "CMMI Level x Compliant." I just had a company tell me that they methodology, which was for sale, was "CMMI Maturity Level 5." Both of these characterizations are misleading.

You are correct - an organization is the target of an appraisal, not the software or the methods used to develop it.

To your last point, that CMMI is a set of processes, I will have to disagree. The CMMI is a model that serves as a set of requirements (or a framework) that you would use to develop your process. Using it as a process would be a disaster.

Good luck!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Why do we need to produce "indirect evidence" for an appraisal?

I'm a software manger that is leading a team being appraised for CMMI. Today one of my developers asked my why we needed to produce an "indirect" piece of evidence for each practice in the appraisal. We produced the direct for our Lead Appraiser - what, don't you trust us?

Ahhhh…. I love this question! No worries – many incredibly smart people struggle with the logic of this one, so you’re in good company! And yea, we trust you . . .trust by verify comrade.....

I like to say that the “Directs” are the least important thing in the model, with indirect evidence and the GPs being the most important things.

The indirect evidence (or affirmation) are the only thing that indicates that a process was actually followed to produce the end result (the “Direct”).

For instance, let’s say an ATM is reviewing an estimating worksheet. It has all the attributes required of the direct. It has sizing, counts of requirements, test, functions, etc. It takes into consideration all of the phases of the lifecycle, it was approved, and signed off on. All in all, one FINE direct. A chip off the ‘ol “CMMI block." Fully Implemented, right? Whooooaaa! Hold on a second there big fella!

Did some developer just sit at her desk and plug these numbers in? Did the approver actually look at it before their admin signed it with his signature stamp? Was it peer reviewed? Hell, is this even REALLY an estimate from the project being appraised?

Hmmmmm, vewwwy twicky qwestions. We need some other method to increase the odds that we’re right when we make all those assumptions and lay a big, fat “FI” on them. Ah ha! Bring on the indirects!

That’s what I would say . . just like that J