Sunday, February 6, 2011

Review Activity for a Short Term Project

Our organization will be going through CMMI Maturity Level 2 Appraisal in a couple of months. I have a PPQA question. As per the PPQA Process Area (PA), we require a review of the work products (content/template) and procedures required at Maturity Level2 during the project life cycle. We have one project that is 3 months long. There are many work products that will be produced during the project development life cycle.
  • Requirement documents such as SRS, Use cases, Bidirectionally traceability matrix document, change log, etc;
  • Plans for all the PAs, e.g. requirements management plan, project plan, configuration plan, etc;
  • Development artifacts, such as ERD, Code, UML diagrams, etc;
  • QC artifacts, such as test cases, test reports, etc.
  • Monitoring/controlling artifacts, such as Issue list, MoMs, Risks, etc.
How is it possible to review the work products for a 3 month project when we don't have a separate QA department and the stakeholders involved in development do the work product reviews one way or the other.

This same question holds true for reviewing procedures.

Of course, we review high priority documents, such as Project Plan, Use Cases, ERD, Application; but not all of them.

Can you help me understand what should be done for a short duration project, such that the PPQA PA requirements are met and we don't have to hire separate people just to fulfill the requirement?

The first thing that I would do is postpone your ML 2 SCAMPI A appraisal as apparently you have a major risk to achieving ML 2 since PPQA does not appear to be in place in your organization. And even if you could put PPQA in place for a 3 month project between now and your appraisals, that may still not be enough time to demonstrate institutionalization, meaning that you have a repeatable process. Essentially you will have one project using PPQA, which is one data point. And it is not possible to determine institutionalization from one data point. Your organization will be at serious risk of not achieving ML 2.

Industry average shows that PPQA is 3 – 5% of your organization. You haven’t told me how large your organization is. But if your organization is 25 people, than 1 person should be assigned to perform the PPQA practices.

I think that you are misunderstanding the differences between reviewing a work product and objectively evaluating a work product. It sounds like your project teams are already reviewing the work products. The role of PPQA is not to review the work products, but to audit the work products and processes to ensure that the work products follow the specific standards and are products according to your documented processes.

I highly recommend that you, or someone you select in your organization, take a training class on how to perform PPQA. I cannot adequately explain how to perform PPQA and answer your specific questions in this blog. The person you select for the training needs to be taught how to conduct a work product audit, how to conduct a process audit, how to plan PPQA audits, how to communicate audit results, and how to track audit non-compliances to resolution. If you don’t already have this capability in house, it will take some time to develop it internally. And I strongly advise against using an external consultant to provide this service. PPQA is for the benefit of your organization and management. It is essentially the eyes and ears of your senior management. And an external consultant may be motivated by other considerations than your best business interests if asked to provide PPQA services.