Friday, July 24, 2009

Cut Off Time for Updating Documents Prior to a SCAMPI

What is the normal time-frame an organization is allowed to continue making changes to their documentation prior to a SCAMPI?

There is no hard and fast rule for this practice. You need to work this time frame out with your Lead Appraiser to see what he or she is comfortable with. But, think about what you are asking for a minute. Are you talking about process changes? Changes to artifacts? Or both?

If you are talking about process changes, then you need to consider the purpose of the SCAMPI. One of the jobs of the appraisal team is to determine the amount of institutionalization. In order to determine the degree of institutionalization (GGs and GPs), changes to the processes and procedures need to be minimized so there is sufficient time for institutionalization and to collect and present the proper Direct and Indirect Evidence. To be on the safe side and mitigate this risk, organizations may decide to have no process changes for six months before the SCAMPI.

If you are talking about the artifacts, then you need to keep in mind the definition of Focus and Non-Focus Projects and work with your Lead Appraiser to determine your evidence needs. In my experience, my clients have taken the risk mitigation approach of “freezing” the evidence about a month before the Readiness Review to build the PIIDs and then only allow changes after that point if there are weaknesses in the PIIDs that need to be addressed before the SCAMPI.

Please keep in mind that I am not advocating freezing the processes 6 months before an appraisal, it just has been my experience that as a risk mitigation some clients have held off making changes until after their appraisal. This behavior is typical for a first time SCAMPI A in a risk averse organization who wants to do everything possible to have a successful SCAMPI A. After all the CMMI is a set of process improvement guidelines, so I as a Lead Appraiser would expect to see evidence of continuous process improvement. But the org has to take an intelligent approach when rolling out new changes. The workforce gets frustrated with chasing a moving target if the processes and assets are frequently changing, i.e. major updates.

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