Sunday, October 9, 2011

Why Would I Need a CMMI Expert?

If my organization is already doing something and my results are in order, what is the value of me picking up something that I am doing and saying that this is what fulfils the requirement of configuration audits or for that matter any other practice.  Why do I need a specific (CMMI) legal expert to do the hair splitting and argue that what I do indeed meets CMMI requirements and three other who say it does not?  I would be keen to understand how my organization, or for that matter any other organization in the community, would be better off.

If you are able to identify that what you are doing satisfies the practice, then you are correct in that you don’t need a CMMI expert to tell you that your practice meets the CMMI.  However, in my experience, since people look at the CMMI as a requirements specification, they have difficulty determining that some of their practices are in fact CMMI compliant and therefore take steps to implement additional, and perhaps non-value added, redundant practices to “pass” the appraisal. Therefore it is important to have a CMMI consultant and/or Lead Appraiser perform  a gap analysis to determine if the organization has made the proper interpretations of the CMMI in their implementation.

On the surface the CMMI is a simple model, but the more you study it, you find additional layers of complexity that can lead to misunderstandings or extra non-value added practices.

I would maintain that if you were only using the CMMI for helping you identify areas for process improvement, were not interested in being appraised, and you had some internal process improvement specialists who are knowledgeable of the CMMI, ISO, etc., then you most likely would not need to use an external CMMI expert.  However, if your goal is to be appraised to the CMMI, then it is vitally important to work with a CMMI consultant and/or Lead Appraiser.

One last point, you refer to a CMMI legal expert.  That is a telling statement.  In my experience, even when I encounter CMMI Lawyers in an organization, they lose sight of the purpose of the CMMI and process improvement.  They are more interested in “what if” scenarios.  Such as What if I do this or write this document, will that be CMMI compliant?  The focus is more on explicitly covering all of the CMMI requirements rather than doing what is beneficial to the organization’s business practices.  And if you find yourself or others in your organization splitting hairs over whether a practice meets or doesn’t meet the CMMI, you have probably lost sight of what you are trying to do from a process improvement perspective.  You should be keeping things as simple as possible for your organization, and the hair splitting comes into play when your implementation may be too complex.

Hope this explanation helps.

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