Monday, July 27, 2009

Appraisal Team Member Qualification Requirements

What are the requirements to be an Appraisal Team Member (ATM) in SCAMPI A appraisal?

I have heard many opinions on ATM qualifications, such as:

  1. Not part of process definition
  2. Not involved with Process Implementation
  3. Not being an SEPG member.

I am unaware of any criteria set by the SEI on this topic.

The ATM qualifications are spelled out in the SCAMPI Method Definition Document (MDD) Section 1.3.2 SELECT TEAM MEMBERS. I have extracted the pertinent text here.

Parameters and Limits
The minimum acceptable team size for a SCAMPI A appraisal is four people (including the appraisal team leader).
All team members must have previously completed the SEI-licensed Introduction to CMMI course.
With regard to engineering field experience, the team (as a group) must have an average of at least 6 years of experience, and the team total must be at least 25 years of experience in each of the disciplines to be covered in the appraisal.
With regard to management experience, the team (as a group) must have a total of at least 10 years of experience, and at least one team member must have at least 6 years of experience as a manager.
The team must, in aggregate, have representative experience in the lifecycles being appraised.

Optional Practices
Although not required in the Parameters and Limits section above, the following are considered recommended best practices and should be employed whenever feasible:

  • Each member should have good written and oral communication skills, the ability to facilitate the free flow of communication, and the ability to perform as team players and negotiate consensus.
  • At least half of the team members should have participated in a previous process appraisal.
  • Team members should be perceived by the appraisal sponsor as credible.

Additional appraisal team member selection considerations include

  • Consider the personal characteristics of individual team members (e.g., communication preferences and personality types) and how these characteristics may affect the dynamics of the team.
  • Use one or more authorized SCAMPI Lead Appraisers as team members.

And there is one more ATM requirement that is documented in the MDD errata. The Appraisal Sponsor cannot be an Appraisal Team Member.


Elena said...

Hi, that's rather question than comment. What are benefits of being ATM?
We need define ATM for our future CMMI L3 re-appraisal. We don't want Appoint them, we'd like to select of those who would like to an ATM. So we need a kind of "commercial". Please advice.

Henry Schneider said...

Dear Elena,
It is a good practice to ask for volunteers to be ATMs, but they do have to meet the criteria I spelled out in the original post. If people are appointed as ATMs, then there is a risk that they may not perform well on the appraisal team.
In my experience ATMs are usually people who have been involved in the organization's process improvement efforts.
The benefits of being an ATM include being a change agent, aiding the organization's process improvement efforts, obtaining a better understanding of the CMMI, learning how to identify process strengths and weaknesses, learning different valid ways of interpreting the CMMI, participating on an appraisal team as a prerequisite to become a Lead Appraiser, etc.

Anonymous said...

At present our 4 member ATM composition is composed of the lead appraiser who is an external consultant and two company employees. Is it necessary for the 4th ATM to be external to the company?

Henry Schneider said...

Dear Anonymous,
If you already have a Lead Appraiser you should be asking him or her this question as it is the Lead Appraiser's responsibility to select the ATMs.
However, The SCAMPI method does not specify the make up of the appraisal team, just the prerequisite requirements to be an ATM. However, there are best practices for selecting ATMs, and it is a good idea to have a 50/50 split between internal and external ATMs. But this split is not a requirement.
Since you have indicated that your Lead Appraiser is an external consultant that brings up a question. Has this person been providing consulting services to your organization? If so, then there is a potential conflict of interest for the appraisal as the Lead Appraiser may be appraising the consulting services he or she has provided to you. This potential conflict of interest needs to be communicated to the SEI so they will be aware of the situation. It may not be in your organization's best interests to have a consultant who has been working with you to also be your Lead Appraiser.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir,

I would like to know if SEI restricts a pregnent lady from becoming SCAPMI ATM?

Henry Schneider said...

The SEI does not put any restrictions of this sort on any ATM. There are only work experience and training requirements that must be met in order to be an ATM. The Lead Appraiser has the final approval of the ATMs on the appraisal team.

Being pregnant is not a reason to exclude someone from being an ATM. However, a pregnant woman may choose to excuse herself from being on the appraisal team if she does not feel up to the time commitment necessary for an appraisal, or if her due date is close to the appraisal dates. This is her personal choice if the Lead Appraiser has approved her as an ATM.