Thursday, July 30, 2009

Product Planning and Configuration

It is common knowledge that Maturity Level 2 is project specific, and still I find at times Lead Appraisers asking funny questions during SCAMPI A appraisals. Quite recently, one of my friends told me that his Lead Appraiser is looking for planning at the product level, as well as Configuratuion Management at the product level. I was a bit amazed, thinking that Maturity Level 2 focuses on Project Planning, not product planning. What do you think about this situation? Have you been faced with this situation before? Is there a workaround for it?

From what you describe, it sounds like this Lead Appraiser could be misinterpreting the CMMI and possibly misleading the organization. The CMMI is quite clear that the Project Planning (PP) Process Area (PA) is for project planning purposes, not product planning.

"The purpose of PP is to establish and maintain plans that define project activities."

However, sometimes the difference between project and product can be blurred. By not knowing the context of the situation you described, the Lead Appraiser may have been trying a different approach to draw project planning information out in the interview sessions.

In one respect, it really doesn’t matter the line of questioning in a SCAMPI interview session. The Lead Appraiser could really ask about any topic. However, once he or she starts deviating from the CMMI, they are on shaky ground and could lose credibility. What does matter however, is the set of findings produced by the Lead Appraiser and the Appraisal Team. If there are findings associated with product planning that cannot be tied to the satisfaction of a CMMI Specific Goal or a Specific Practice, then these would be non-model findings and should have no impact on the resulting appraisal rating. However, if these non-model findings do impact the appraisal rating and the Lead Appraiser and Appraisal Team fail to demonstrate the linkage to Goal and Practice satisfaction/implementation, then the Lead Appraiser has not correctly performed his or her Lead Appraiser duties and the SEI should be informed about this issue so it can be investigated.

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