Friday, August 29, 2008

Criteria for selection of Focus and Non Focus projects for CMMI 1.2 Assessment

What are the criteria used to determine project selection for CMMI 1.2 Appraisals? I understand they are normally termed as Focus and Non Focus projects.

  1. Based on size of organization ( count of projects + resources ) how many projects need to be selected? Can someone specify this as a number of projects or percentage of projects required?
  2. We have categorised projects as Development + Maintenance + Testing - so ideally how many projects count or percentage wise under each Project Type would need to be selected?
  3. What is the criteria for selecting a project as a focus project? I have read and heard that one of the factors could be presence of all Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) phases in that project, contribution of data points, it should be an on-going project at time of assessment etc.

Here is the criteria for project selection extracted from section 1.1.3 of the Method Description Document (MDD) v1.2:

Sample projects and support groups selected to form the organizational scope (i.e., the combination of focus and non-focus projects and support functions) must represent all critical factors identified for the organizational unit to which the results will be attributed. The coverage of the organizational critical factors provided by these sample projects and support groups in the organizational scope in relation to the organizational unit must be documented, in quantitative terms, in the appraisal input and ADS.

Each sample project or support group in the planned organizational scope of the appraisal must be one of the three types listed below:

  • Focus projects must provide objective evidence for every PA within the model scope of the appraisal which addresses model practices applicable to those projects.
  • Non-focus projects must provide objective evidence for one or more PAs within the model scope of the appraisal which address practices performed on projects.
  • Support functions must provide objective evidence for practices within the model scope of the appraisal that address organizational infrastructure or functions.

In appraisals where the reference model scope includes any project-related PA, the organizational scope must include at least one focus project. If the organizational unit includes more than 3 projects, then the organizational scope must include sufficient focus projects and non-focus projects to generate at least 3 instances of each practice in each project-related PA in the model scope of the appraisal.

Projects, categories, or groups/functions that are specifically excluded from the appraisal must be identified in the appraisal input and in the ADS as well as the justification for their exclusion. This identification includes legacy projects not using current organizational processes and projects waived from using current organizational processes. As needed, the appraisal team may seek clarification or data from other projects or support functions within the organizational unit. These projects or support functions must also be identified in the ADS.

What this means is that you must have at least one focus project. A focus project is a project that has evidence for every practice and Process Area (PA) in the appraisal scope. In order for that to be the case, that means the project is either already completed or very close to completion. A non-focus project is a project that does NOT have evidence for every practice and PA in the appraisal scope. Meaning a non-focus project is either a project that has recently started or a project that began before the processes were deployed and only has evidence for a subset of the practices.

Keep in mind that some PAs are organization level PAs while others are project-related. For the Organization PAs (e.g., OPF, OPD, OT, etc.) you only have to provide one instance of evidence. So the issue of number of projects only applies to the project-related PAs (e.g., PP, PMC, IPM, REQM, RD, etc.). Therefore, according to the MDD, if the organization has more than three projects, you have provide three instances of evidence for each practice. You could choose to supply three focus projects, two focus projects and multiple non-focus projects, or one focus project and multiple non-focus projects.

Another aspect of evidence that you must comply with is that you have to provide Direct Evidence for every practice and PA in the scope of the appraisal. But you don’t not have to supply Indirect Evidence for every practice and PA. Your Lead Appraiser can explain to you the one row, one column and 50% rules. As a risk mitigation, most of my clients choose to provide 100% coverage for both Direct and Indirect Evidence.

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