Thursday, June 19, 2008

Appraising Your Own Organization

In writing yesterday's blog entry I had included a statement that a SCAMPI A Lead Appraiser was not allowed to audit his or her organization, which I removed before posting. The SEI requires that the appraisal be done by an external third party. However, when I looked for this requirement in the ARC and MDD I could not find the reference. Through the help of other Lead Appraisers I have since located this requirement. Go to the SEI's Appraisal Policy Changes site and read the 4th bullet

Can a Lead Appraiser in an organization perform an v1.2 appraisal in that organization?

All Class A SCAMPI v1.2 appraisals that will become public record (e.g., announced in a press release or on an organization's Web site, or posted on a published SCAMPI appraisals results Web page) or used in a proposal in response to U.S. Department of Defense requirements must be led by an SEI-authorized SCAMPI Lead Appraiser from an external, third-party organization.

The external, third-party organization can be another SEI Partner organization or a separate business unit from the one containing the appraised organization (e.g., from corporate or from a different division, group, or other organizational business type, which is under separate management).


Henry Schneider said...

I found out from another Lead Appraiser over the weekend that the SEI is supposed to consolidate all Lead Appraiser (LA) communications

However, the policy change for an LA appraising his or her organization didn't make it. The SEI is aware of this oversight and they plan to fix it some time in the future.

cemophora said...

SEI doesn't seem to be able to spell the words 'conflict of interest'. They routinely allow appraisals where the lead appraiser installed the processes in the appraised organization.

Henry Schneider said...

Hi Cemophora,
On the contrary, in the SEI's Code of Professional Conduct that every Lead Appraiser has to sign, the SEI defines Conflict of Interest as "two or more competing priorities, loyalties or commitments that could compromise an Authorized or Certified Professional, Candidate, or SEI
Partner’s objectivity."

Under the subject of Objectivity, the code states "Exercise due care to avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflicts of interest,and avoid misrepresenting your opinions as positions of the SEI or others. Disclose conflicts to those affected and take due care to manage these conflicts to preserve the objectivity of your work." In addition, "Avoid conflicts of interest to every feasible extent. When conflicts of interest are unavoidable, disclose the potential conflicts to affected stakeholders, including your own organization, the SEI, and the Client. Take action to minimize the impact or eliminate the conflict."

And for each Lead Appraiser "Ensure that the inherent conflicts of interest that occur when you are placed in the role of evaluating your own work or your organization’s work are disclosed to all affected parties (see Section 4.2) and take action to minimize the impact."

And Section 4.2 states:
4.2 Initial Response for Potential Violations
Follow these steps to prevent problems with implementation and adherence to the Code.

1. Preventive Clarification
When considering taking an action that might be construed as a conflict of interest or other Code of Professional Conduct violation, ask for clarification. The procedure is available at

2. Conflict of Interest Disclosure
When a situation involving a conflict of interest is inherent or cannot be avoided, disclose the conflict to the affected parties, including your own organization, the Client,and the SEI. The disclosure report is available at

3. Benefit of the Doubt
When observing colleagues making choices that are inconsistent with these standards,the first response should be to give them the benefit of the doubt. Assume that either you do not understand the circumstances involved or that certain choices might have been
made without full awareness of the consequences of their behavior. You may choose to privately request clarification or offer help in a manner that is consistent with the Code. However, if clarification or help is not effective to resolve the issue, or if you believe corrective action is required to resolve the situation, then it is expected that you will take affirmative action and follow the procedure defined in the next section.

It is incumbent upon the Lead Appraiser to determine if there is a Conflict of Interest and to then communicate this conflict to the SEI. The SEI is not in the business of policing each Lead Appraiser, they simply don't have the time, resources, or funds. But the SEI does have a person responsible for ethics and if a Conflict of Interest is reported to this person, the SEI will investigate the incident and take corrective action, as necesary.