Friday, May 16, 2008

What is the Difference Between OPF SP 3.1 and SP 3.2?

There are some fine shades of distinction here between these two Specific Practices that can cause some confusion. Both Specific Practices concern deployment. OPF SP 3.1 covers the deployment of process assets and OPF SP 3.2 covers the deployment of the standard processes. The CMMI defines process asset as “Anything that the organization considers useful in attaining the goals of a process area.” And organizational process assets as “Artifacts that relate to describing, implementing, and improving processes.” In other words, process assets are those things that help or enable you to follow the process. Process assets include the policies, measurements, process descriptions, templates, checklists, etc. It is always best to consult the CMMI Glossary for definitions when you have interpretation questions about the CMMI. There is a lot of helpful information contained in those pages.

So, OPF SP 3.1 is concerned with deploying the process assets (new or changed) across the organization. For example, deploying a new or modified template keeping in mind that the associated process may not have changed, just the template. OPF 3.2 is concerned with deploying new or changed processes across the organization. For example, deploying a new or modified Peer Review process, keeping in mind that the associated process assets may not have changed. The model is splitting these two practices apart for clarity because it is possible, as my examples indicate, to perform them independently. Now, from a practical standpoint, most organizations do these two practices together. When beginning process improvement, organizations usually modify BOTH the process and the associated process assets at the same time. As the organization matures, they may be able to modify a process asset without a corresponding process change and vice versa.

And if you remember back to when you took the Intro to CMMI class, your instructor should have emphasized that there is no implied flow from one Specific Practice to the next. They can occur in any combination or order, just as long as the Specific Goals are satisfied. However, in the Engineering PAs there are certain practices that most everyone performs in a certain order.

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