Sunday, July 7, 2019

CMMI Level 3 Renewal – Where to Start?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser,

Our new CEO says she wants to maintain the company’s investment in version CMMI v1.3, then transition to the new Upgrade CMMI V2.0 and Agile over time. But here’s the problem: She describes CMMI as a framework for helping us take action to improve engineering, and says that, once we truly start the process of embracing the CMMI with a proper CMMI appraisal, we’ll be on the path to becoming a great company. That’s nothing like our experience. When I was the CMMI sponsor last time, we went with a low-cost Lead Appraiser, and all we did was chase paper. Where do companies like ours start the renewal process? ~ Justin W.

Hey, Justin, one place to start would be to thank your new CEO for pushing you to be a great company. It sounds like she is trying to get you to do the things you’ve known you should do anyway. That’s human nature. I notice the same dynamic with my personal fitness trainer – except your boss is paying you!

In many ways, the journey to adopting the CMMI is similar to the journey to becoming physically fit. Companies that work with Broadsword go through a predefined, fully detailed progression in their quest to achieve CMMI Maturity Level 3, for instance, and put themselves on the path to becoming a great company.

Another way to state your CEO’s goals would be this way:

1) Get on the path to becoming the great company you aspire to be
2) Preserve your investment in CMMI v1.3
3) Transition seamlessly over time to CMMI V2.0

Here are the recommended steps for a company like yours:

Step 1: SCAMPI C – The SCAMPI C (Gap Analysis) is first and foremost a way for your company to find out about itself and how you stack up against the CMMI model. It’s also an opportunity for your CMMI Appraiser to learn as much about your company as he can, and for your company to learn about the CMMI Appraiser. If you worked with a cut-rate Lead Appraiser last time, you may have missed out on this critical piece. Taking time to learn about one another is important because you will be spending a lot of time together (especially as you transition to CMMI 2.0) making decisions that will have an serious impact on the behaviors of your people. And so, helping both sides feel more comfortable with each other is one of the most beneficial aspects of the SCAMPI C.

As a result, you will understand that your boss was right: The CMMI is not about pointlessly chasing paper. It’s about making your company great!

Step 2: Training – There are a number of training courses that need to take place in your journey to becoming a great company. First is the introduction to CMMI training course, followed by training on how to become expert process engineers. We teach you how to execute our AgileCMMI methodology, and how to design and develop processes. Your entire appraisal team goes through the training, plus anyone who plays a key leadership role in the company in terms of how they want the work performed, such as project managers, program leaders and line managers.

Step 3: Tune-up – After the SCAMPI C, and often concurrently with the training, we will provide you with a plan that identifies all the tuning up or development of processes that must occur in your company. The plan includes everything you need to do in the context of AgileCMMI, the Special Interest Groups (SIGs) to be created, as well as all of the releases and iterations that must take place between now and your SCAMPI B Appraisal.

Step 4: SCAMPI B – After you’ve done the training and the tune up, you are ready for the SCAMPI B Appraisal. The SCAMPI B is an formal appraisal that serves as a tool to give you the information you need to completely understand your current state in relation to the CMMI. It gives you the information you need to determine whether you will succeed in the formal SCAMPI A, as planned.

Step 5: SCAMPI A –After you’ve satisfactorily completed your SCAMPI B, you are ready for a formal SCAMPI A appraisal, and you’ll want do all you can to assure a positive result. If your SCAMPI A is successful, congratulations!

But don’t celebrate so much you forget everything you’ve learned. Once I’ve achieved my health and fitness goals, I don’t want to celebrate by eating a gooey chunk of chocolate cake. Getting in shape and renewing your standing as a CMMI Maturity Level 3 company doesn’t make you a great company. It just means you are sufficiently equipped with the infrastructure and tools you need to become a great company. Whether or not you make the changes in your company – and make the commitment to long-term health as an organization – is up to you.

If that’s the path you take, your ultimate transition to CMMI v2.0 will be seamless. And your CMMI Appraiser will be right there, cheering you on, every step of the way.

If you would like gain a deeper understanding of CMMI, our next "Intro to CMMI-DEV" class is February 19-21, 2019. Join us in the DC area for a practical, fun, fast-paced and interactive classroom experience!

And if you’re interested in learning about a new solution Broadsword provides for companies that are focused on protecting their investment with CMMI v1.3 while seamlessly transitioning to CMMI V2.0, please visit NeXTSTEP CMMI.

Good luck on your journey!

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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