Thursday, July 15, 2010

Query on CMMI for Development v1.3

Our organization was appraised at CMMI ML3 in Oct, 2009 and we'll be going for ML5 in Q1 2011. Although we have been preparing ourselves for CMMI for Development v1.2, we are also aware that the CMMI for Development v1.3 will be out in January, 2011. We wish to get appraised for CMMI for Development v1.3. I have gone through some of the PPTs and PDFs on web but none of them give a clear insight into the changed expectations from the existing PAs or expectations from new PAs to be added.
It'll be a great help if anyone can provide me the draft version of v1.3 or any detailed document about the same.

One item that you may not be aware of is that the SEI would like to see at least 18 months between an ML 3 appraisal and a High Maturity appraisal. If you are planning for an appraisal in Q1 2011, that would be less than 18 months. Therefore you would have a very high probability of your appraisal results being audited by the SEI, which could take a long time before being accepted. I would encourage you to hire a High Maturity Lead Appraiser as soon as possible, if you haven’t already done so, and move your plans for your ML 5 appraisal at least 3 months or more into the future to ensure that you have enough data for performing the High Maturity practices and enough time for institutionalization of HM.

You will have to wait for the v1.3 release in November 2010. The problem with using drafts is that things can change before the release.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

REQM and RD in the CMMI

Why is REQM Management at Maturity Level 2 and Requirement Development at Maturity Level 3? We develop the requirements first and then manage them in the project.

There reason for the placement is due to the meaning of ML 2 vs. ML 3. ML 2 is all about stabilizing projects and gaining control over project estimates. Once the organization has achieved this, then it can begin to evaluate how to improve the engineering areas.

Since you need to have a baseline upon which to plan a project and the other ML 2 Process Areas, that is why REQM is the first Process Area in ML 2. The intent is to manage the collection of project requirements: good, bad, or indifferent. And use this collection to plan the project, etc. Then when you have achieved ML 2 and move to ML 3, then you can address how to improve the Requirements Elicitation to obtain better requirements.

Please keep in mind that the CMMI is a collection of guidelines and best practices for doing process improvement. The CMMI is not a roadmap for how to do software engineering.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Implementing CMMI Along With ISO 9001

Suppose a company already has an ISO 9001 certification. Then they decide to achieve an appraisal at level 3. Suppose further that their plan is to add additional process assets according to their gap analysis. But then they discover that certain ISO 9001 work instructions or templates require changes to meet the requirements of CMMI level 3. If these assets are changed, would that necessarily invalidate the ISO 9001 certification? Under what conditions would the certification be invalidated, and what needs to be done under those circumstances? Is there a way to avoid this issue?

Without having any details as to your situation, I find it hard to believe that if you are ISO 9001 certified that the CMMI is causing you to make changes to your quality system that would invalidate your ISO 9001 certification. The ISO 9001 standard and the CMMI-DEV model are compatible. Are you working with an SEI-certified Lead Appraiser/consultant? If not, you may be making some decisions to change processes and process assets that are not necessary.

To properly address your concerns, you should have a Lead Appraiser conduct a gap analysis of your organization to determine what you currently have in place that is compatible with the CMMI and identify those gaps that need to be addressed in order for your organization to achieve Maturity Level 3. And any updates to existing processes and process assets should be compatible with both the ISO standard and the CMMI-DEV.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Project Planning SP 1.2 - Task Attribute: Effort or Size?

Is it possible to establish estimates of work product and task attributes by means of task time estimates? Can the task effort be similar to the size of a task?

By going directly to task time estimates you have effectively skipped performing Project Planning Specific Practice 1.2. The intent of SP 1.2 is for you to perform some sort of basis of estimate for the project’s tasks and activities. This is a bottom-up approach. If you are not used to this approach, it can be a struggle at first to take a step backwards from task time estimates and really understand the underlying assumptions that people are making in their heads about the factors that are driving the task time estimates. Some very basic task attributes include estimating the number of pages in a document that is being produced or updated, the number of technical drawings being produced or updated for a hardware item, the number of new or modified interfaces, the number of new or modified screens , etc. Then based on your historical data from previous projects, it is possible for you to empirically determine a set of productivity factors that will convert these sizing parameters into effort and arrive at the task time estimates. The bottom line is effort of a task is not the same as the size of a task.

Do you think this practice would be Fully, Largely, Partially or Not Implemented? Would this be this a problem in a SCAMPI A appraisal? What do you think about that?

Taking this example out of context with everything else your organization is doing makes this a difficult question to answer. The appraisal team is the only group that would be qualified to make that judgment based on documented evidence and the interviews. However, as a Lead Appraiser, I would have to say that you have a problem that needs to be addressed before you conduct a SCAMPI. The SCAMPI rules state that if a Process Area is in the scope of the appraisal, then all of its Specific and Generic practices are applicable. And if you are not performing a practice, which may or may not be the case, then there could be issues in Project Planning that impact Goal Satisfaction and result in a Maturity Level 1 rating.

To provide you the best answer, you should be talking to your Lead Appraiser and have him or her give you the proper guidance on this issue. As a risk mitigation, I would recommend that you put a process in place to estimate sizing parameters that are then used to calculate effort. Your estimators are already doing this, but it sounds like they are doing it in their heads. You just have to break the process down into smaller steps to allow the sizing estimates to be captured first. There is benefit to doing this.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Appraisal Sponsor Roles and Responsibilities

I am looking for information regarding the roles and responsibilities of the appraisal sponsor.

My organization is preparing for an external appraisal and I'd like to provide the sponsor with a summary of her role and what she will be expected to do for the appraisal such as review and sign the appraisal plan, attending the opening and findings briefings etc.

It sounds like you have a pretty good understanding already of the appraisal sponsor’s duties. It would be helpful to you to ask this question of your Lead Appraiser to see if he or she has any specific requests for the appraisal sponsor. As a Lead Appraiser, these are my expectations. The appraisal sponsor:

  1. Provides the funding and senior management commitment for process improvement and the appraisal
  2. Does not serve on the appraisal team
  3. Meets at least once with the Lead Appraiser to discuss the appraisal
  4. Provides the business objectives for the organization
  5. Signs the Appraisal Input Document, Appraisal Plan, and Appraisal Disclosure Statement
  6. Attends the Opening Briefing to reinforce why the appraisal is being conducted and the importance of everyone to support the appraisal team
  7. Meet with the appraisal team before the Final Findings presentation to privately receive the results and prepare the proper message for the organization at the Final Findings Presentation
  8. Attend the Final Findings Presentation and at the conclusion of the presentation thank the appraisal team for their efforts and thank the organization for their efforts regardless of the outcome. If the results were bad news, turn it into a positive statement of encouragement, etc.
  9. Complete the feedback form in SAS for the appraisal results
  10. Receive the appraisal results and maintain the appraisal record for three years
  11. Do not publicly disclose the appraisal results until the SEI has completed its quality review and announced the results to the Lead Appraiser and appraisal sponsor