Thursday, October 22, 2009

Integrated Project Management (IPM) - SP 2.2

Could you please provide some examples of evidence for IPM Specific Practice 2.2 and some examples of a critical dependency?

Integrated Project Management (IPM) Specific Practice 2.2 states “Participate with relevant stakeholders to identify, negotiate, and track critical dependencies.” This practice is one of many compound practices in the CMMI. Therefore, to completely cover the practice, the organization would have to provide evidence that the project is participating with the relevant stakeholders. And that participation would be to identify critical dependencies, negotiate critical dependencies, and track critical dependencies. So the type of Direct Evidence that I would expect to see as a Lead Appraiser or Appraisal Team Member from the organization would be a list of critical dependencies, issues, and action items that were the result of the participation and for Indirect Evidence I would expect to see the meeting minutes or review/inspection reports that resulted in the list provided as Direct Evidence.

Now, if you read the Tips and Hints in the CMMI for IPM SP 2.2, these will provide insight into what a critical dependency is. Each project will have some constraints such as time, quality, budget, etc. that it must meet. By applying these constraints to the project schedule the Project Manager will be able to define the critical path through the project tasks and activities. The critical path contains all of the tasks and activities that have a direct impact on meeting the scheduled end date for the project. If a task on the critical path slips or runs over, then the end date of the project has a corresponding slip or overrun. Tasks that are not on the critical path can move about a bit before they impact the end date. The project tasks and activities on the critical path define the critical dependencies for the project. For example, if both Task A and Task B are on the critical path and Task B cannot begin before Task A completes, that is one critical dependency. Another example of a critical dependency is an external group is supplying a work product to the project and a Task cannot begin until the work product is received and accepted. This type of critical dependency may also be called a critical deliverable.

Hope this explanation helps.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bi-directional Traceability Question

Would you please explain to me the meaning of bi-directional traceability? If I am not wrong, Horizontal Traceability indicates mapping of a requirement across all the SDLC phases like Requirement->Design->Construction->Testing. But I do not get what is meant by Vertical Traceability. Would you please educate me on this?

Vertical traceability is top-down bottom-up traceability. Vertical traceability is the most common type of traceability. Basically it is tracing from the highest level requirements all the way down to the product component level (could be even to a specific line of code). And then starting at the lowest level and tracing all the way back up to the top. Horizontal traceability is tracing within a document or between peer documents. What you have listed as tracing from requirements to design to construction to test is actually vertical traceability. And when you come right down to it, it doesn’t really matter what type of traceability you label it. All that matters is that you can trace forward from a starting point to an end point and vice versa. The level and complexity of the traceability is determined by the criticality of the product and project. For a program like the Space Shuttle or Space Station, you would need very rigorous requirements traceability. Whereas a small application or a product would only need some simple traceability.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

REQM - SP1.1 Query

In REQM – SP1.1 calls for “Criteria for evaluation and acceptance.” Can you tell me what this expected “criteria” would be?

I suggest looking at Requirements Management (REQM) Process Area in your copy of the CMMI. On page 490 in REQM Sub-practice 2 there is a list of example evaluation and acceptance criteria.

REQM does not expect the organization to have evaluation and acceptance criteria. What you are expected to provide is evidence that support the required components (Specific Goal 1 in this case; evidence that demonstrates that your requirements are managed and inconsistencies with project plans and work products are identified) and evidence that supports the expected components (Specific Practice 1.1 in this case; evidence that demonstrates that you have developed an understanding with the requirements providers on the meaning of the requirements). If your Lead Appraiser is telling you that you have to provide these criteria, then he or she should be challenged as to why they are telling you that you need to provide this evidence.

The evaluation and acceptance criteria are one way of developing this understanding. Please bear in mind the section title is TYPICAL Work Products, not EXPECTED Work Products, or REQUIRED Work Products. The list of Typical Work Products is merely a list of example work products.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Selection of Suitable Lifecycle Processes

Selection of a suitable lifecycle for the project/product is more of a technical issue. Then why is it covered in Integrated Project Management (IPM) rather than Technical Solution (TS)?

Selecting a suitable lifecycle is a function of the project requirements and the application domain. The selection is something that should be performed when planning the project activities, not while performing the actual software engineering activities. Selecting a lifecycle model and defining the project’s lifecycle phases are necessary for planning and estimating the project. That is why lifecycles appear in Project Planning (SP 1.3) and Integrated Project Management (sub-practice 1 of SP 1.1) . The selection of the lifecycle is a project management activity.

From another perspective, the purpose of Technical Solution is to design, develop, and implement solutions to requirements. And selecting an appropriate lifecycle model is an activity that needs to be done before you can design, develop, and implement a solution to the requirements.

Process Performance Model and QPM Inquiry

We are a CMMI Maturity Level 5 organization and now we are preparing for our re-appraisal.
We have Process Performance Models (PPMs) with different X- prameters and good R^2, R (adjusted) & P(value).

We perform simulations to calculate the probability of achieving our organizational goal and the determination that the probability % is good enough to achieve the goal.

Now we are in our process of implementing the PPM. My question is: Shall we use the PPM to estimate the X- parameters in my projetct? Or what should I do with this model after that ?

Please advise.

I hate to say this, and I could be wrong, but reading your question it sounds like you are asking what do I need in order to be Maturity Level 5 (ML 5)? Is this equation sufficient? And by asking what do I do with the PPM, I may be misunderstanding you, but if you were really at ML 5 you wouldn’t be asking this question. I get the impression from your question that your organization doesn’t know why it is using a specific technique for the PPMs.

The best solution to your question is to ask your High Maturity Lead Appraiser for help and guidance as he or she should have enough understanding and knowledge of your organization to provide the answer.

But once again, the nature of your question gives me the uneasy feeling that your organization may not even be Maturity Level 4.