Monday, June 29, 2015

Does the CMMI Appraiser Make CMMI Training Fun?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser – We are big believers that training our people doesn’t have to be drudgery.  I heard from some colleagues that your presentation at CMMI Global Congress 2015 was both educational and entertaining.  When is your next CMMI training in Virginia, and can we all attend? ~ Lina R.

Hey, Lina – I’m glad to hear that my keynote presentation “12 Questions Wildly Successful Companies Answer Every Day” left a favorable impression on your colleagues!  As to your questions ...
Yes, we try to make our Virginia CMMI training classes as interesting and entertaining as possible, and yes, everyone's invited!  Most people tell me afterward that they had a blast – but you can find out for yourself on September 23-25, 2015 in Fairfax, Virginia.

Register for INTRODUCTION TO CMMI TRAINING: Fairfax, Virginia -September 23-25, 2015.

I love that you plan to get others to sign up for CMMI training, Lina.  I’d encourage everyone in your company who touches the process to join us.  Also, if you hear one of the following comments, it's a sure sign that person needs CMMI training:

  • “We don’t have a consistent way to estimate a project’s effort and cost.”
  • “We are too busy to do retrospectives or to review lessons learned with the team.”
  • “No one here is responsible for capturing or reviewing metrics related to projects, technology and organizational performance.”
  • “We have repositories for process descriptions, templates, and tools, but no one uses them.”
  • “We have a process for building, installing and delivering our products, but it is not widely understood.”

These are just a few of the complaints made by folks who end up getting the most out of CMMI training.  “Introduction to CMMI-DEV v1.3” is designed to help people at CMMI-focused companies that are looking for guidance on being lighter and more flexible, as well as agile teams that are still seeking the kind of results they’ve been hoping for.

That's the big difference between this Lead Appraiser's approach to the CMMI, and the other guy's. Our focus is on using our agileCMMI methodology to help you learn that the CMMI is about the transformation of the culture of your company.  You’ll see the CMMI as a tool for improving and changing the way your company behaves, so that you can get better at what you are ALREADY doing.  And you’ll take away valuable skills to use immediately, including how to play Planning Poker, do agile program planning and perform retrospectives.

So sign up, and get your company signed up for a 3-day CMMI training class that’s hands-on, interactive, agile, practical, and – yes, yes! -- a whole lot of fun.

We hope to see you there!

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, ScrumMaster, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff pioneered agileCMMI, the leading methodology for incremental and iterative process improvement. He has taught thousands of students in CMMI trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about engineering strategy, performance innovation, software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

We need CMMI for SPARC, but will our Scrum teams have to follow one standard process?

Dear CMMI Appraiser, we’re an agile shop, delivering enterprise information technology solutions to the federal government. We just found out from a CMMI consultant about the requirement in SPARC for a CMMI SCAMPI appraisal. If we get a CMMI level for SPARC, does that mean our Scrum teams will have to follow one standard process? ~ Ray F.

Dear Ray,

A lot of companies are asking questions about the CMMI and the SCAMPI-A appraisal since SPARC came out. The SPARC RFP simply states that “contractors who do not possess independently prepared SCAMPI appraisal results assessed at the appropriate CMMI level for a given task will be restricted from performing the work.” It doesn’t say why that helps you. Understandably, people get confused when self-proclaimed CMMI-experts talk about the CMMI as being all about everybody doing the same thing every time. According to them, the CMMI is repeatable and predictable, and that means that everybody has to have the same behavior.

It sounds right. But is it?


Unfortunately, the CMMI says nothing of the kind. What needs to be repeatable are the OUTCOMES. Many projects are unique and require their own "way of doing things" (otherwise known as the PROCESS) - even though they will have repeatable outcomes (high quality software, efficient production, happy customers).

This is not to downplay the CMMI’s ability to help you bring more discipline to your agile methods. It is a terrific tool for that purpose. As a matter of fact, it is THE TOOL for that. However, it does not say you need a single standard process. The CMMI says you should have a SET of standard processes from which each project can derive their unique process. A “set” means more than one. And “more than one” means you need some flexibility and agility to decide how you are going to do something.

So, to be successful in adopting the CMMI in your agile environment, you’ll need to understand what the CMMI says and doesn’t say. You also need to know that, in the CMMI, flexibility and agility outweigh rigid compliance. See my Agile Process Manifesto....

For example, let’s say your development team has a new project. Do they want to use Planning Poker to estimate? Do they want to use Wideband Delphi or Cocomo? Or do they want to use something else? The answer depends on what they are building and the constraints they are dealing with.

The ability to provide flexibility is the most important thing you can do when it comes to improvement and deploying process. Rigid compliance hurts you, it doesn’t help you.

The great thing about the CMMI is that it is extremely agile. It gives you the ability to have choices and agility. It's right in the book ("Integrated Project Management").

I’ll say it again. A set means more than one, and more than one means there is room for flexibility and agility.

Anyone can claim to be a CMMI consultant. But only a small amount of people in the world have the requisite skills, training, experience and certifications that qualify them for the task. And an even smaller group of them have a proven track record. Think about it - it's not just "CMMI." It's organizational change, communications, successfully giving (and getting) advice. It's complicated!

Good CMMI consultants have a deep holistic understanding of the entire model, how it works, and useful ideas on how to use it to improve your company. They will recommend an approach that bridges agility and discipline, in a manner that fits the way your organization is already doing things.

Watch out for CMMI consultants who talk about the SPARC RFP and tell you one size fits all. Next time, just say, "NO!"


Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, ScrumMaster, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff pioneered agileCMMI, the leading methodology for incremental and iterative process improvement. He has taught thousands of students in CMMI trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about engineering strategy, performance innovation, software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

What Can We Expect from CMMI Training?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser – a couple people from our Appraisal Team will need to register for CMMI training this fall.  What can we expect from your CMMI training class? ~ Harris S.

Hey, Harris – thanks for your interest in our CMMI training classes!  Our next two courses on Introduction to CMMI-DEV are being held in September, and I can't wait!  It’s another exciting opportunity for me to do what I love best – helping people get on the path to being a great company.

What defines greatness in a company?  We think greatness in an individual and in a company is the ability to transform from where you are now to where you want to be.  For software and engineering executives who dream of having all the benefits of being agile, combined with the resiliency and rigor of a scalable operational model, you need a path to get there.
It should be no surprise to hear that success doesn't just happen.  Being a great company takes training and preparation. It takes being tested with assessments on your readiness to adopt philosophy or methodology you are adopting. And it takes professional consulting to guide the agileCMMI adoption, or whatever performance improvement model you are pursuing.

The first step is CMMI-DEV training.

WHAT IS CMMI-DEV TRAINING?

The Introduction to CMMI for Development training course is a 3-day class that we teach in cities like San Diego, Chicago, Detroit, Washington, DC, Philadelphia and New York City. The class is recommended for software engineers, software developers, project managers, business analysts and line managers. It is an opportunity to learn how software process improvement works, and how to improve the performance of your software or engineering organization.

WHY ARE OUR CMMI TRAINING CLASSES DIFFERENT?

Our classes are quite a bit different from some of the other CMMI training classes, because we infuse agile concepts into our classes. For example, instead of some of the standard training exercises, we include:

  • How to play Planning Poker
  • How to use Fibonacci sequencing for your estimates
  • How to do agile program planning
  • How to perform retrospective

… And many other hands-on things that you’ll want to learn to participate in today’s programs using Scrum, Kanban or other methods.

WHERE TO TAKE A CLASS?

Our next two courses being presented on the following dates and locations:

Register for INTRODUCTION TO CMMI TRAINING: Southeastern, MI - September 9-11

Register for INTRODUCTION TO CMMI TRAINING: Fairfax, VA -September 23-25

We hope to see you in class!

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, ScrumMaster, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff pioneered agileCMMI, the leading methodology for incremental and iterative process improvement. He has taught thousands of students in CMMI trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about engineering strategy, performance innovation, software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Is there still room to attend a CMMI webinar this month?

Hello, CMMI appraiser, We are interested in changing and improving performance, and our engineers would like to attend one of your CMMI webinars this month. Is there still room? Thanks ~ Kevin M.

Hello, Kevin,

There’s always room for people who are passionate about changing and improving the way they do their work!


After all, that’s what the CMMI is all about. The Model provides a framework for changing culture that can establish an environment for allowing you to operate like a great company – for the long term. And it does so by allowing you to focus on improving and changing the way your company behaves, so that you can improve performance, build stronger products and have happier customers.

But it’s not only about CMMI. More engineering and software professionals are learning to adopt and align several of today’s most popular frameworks and methodologies, including CMMI, A-SPICE, ISO and Scrum, and combining them for greater results. Helping you with this challenge is the reason behind our "Everything You Need to Know" webinar series.

So please tell your engineers to come on in! Check out the FREE webinars below and sign up for one (or four, or five) that best match your needs. Note that all presentations are at noon, Eastern Time.

June 16 – Everything You Need to Know: CMMI!

This webinar will provide systems engineers, software developers, project managers and process professionals with a basic understanding of how to use the CMMI, a model that is the defacto standard and leading framework for software process improvement. Sign up here.


June 18 – Everything You Need to Know: CMMI for Extra-Small Companies!

If you are an "extra-small" or emerging IT and engineering shop (under 25 people) that has been trying unsuccessfully to bid on government contracts that require or recommend a CMMI Rating, "Everything you NEED to know: CMMI for Extra-Small Companies!" helps you learn about a flexible and affordable solution. Sign up here.

June 23 –Everything You Need to Know: Agile Transformation!

The webinar helps you learn to become the company you want to be by transforming the values and behaviors in your organization to take advantage of Agile methods for a lighter, leaner approach to solving business problems incrementally and iteratively. Sign up here.

June 24 – "Everything You Need to Know: Agile Resiliency!

On this webinar, you will learn about applying the concept of “Agile Resiliency,” Broadsword’s proven strategy for scaling agile by strengthening and reinforcing agile values, methods and techniques. The Webinar shows you how integrating the architectural strengths of the CMMI with your agile approach can help you make agile resilient enough to resist the pressure to change – and even scale and thrive.  Sign up here.

June 25 –Everything You Need to Know: Multi-Model Improvement!

Designed specifically for organizations that have a CMMI Maturity Level 2 or Level 3 rating and want the benefits of aligning CMMI, ISO/TS and Auto SPICE, “Multi-Model Improvement” gives you everything you NEED to get started! Sign up here.

I hope you and your team will be able to join us, Kevin! Looking forward to seeing you on the webinar(s).

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!
Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, ScrumMaster, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff pioneered agileCMMI, the leading methodology for incremental and iterative process improvement. He has taught thousands of students in CMMI trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about engineering strategy, performance innovation, software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

How does CMMI help us improve product delivery?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser, our top initiative is to improve product delivery. With all of its requirements for documentation, etc., etc., etc., how does CMMI help us get products out the door faster? ~ Frank L.

Hey, Frank – The CMMI is not about documents. The CMMI is about learning to be a great company, and KNOWING whether you are on the path to greatness. So the best way to approach the problem of “how do we improve product delivery” in the context of CMMI is not to say, “We need faster delivery,” but to ask, “How do we become a great company?” That’s what the CMMI is about. 

We are going into greater depth tomorrow on the webinar: “Everything You Need to Know: CMMI!” on May 27th at noon EDT / 9AM PDT.  I hope you'll join us!

On the webinar, you'll see why, in its essence, CMMI is nothing more than a model for "how work gets done" in the best way possible, in the way that makes the most sense for your organization. That’s right. The CMMI helps you do work with the frameworks and methodologies you are ALREADY using … only better.

Starting to see why this can make a big difference for you, Frank? The focus is on changing and improving behaviors so you can be the best company you can be. This makes the CMMI incredibly useful in solving all business problems. For example, in addition to improving product delivery, CMMI helps you address late projects, over-budget projects, unhappy customers, etc., etc., etc.

To learn more, join us on the webinar: “Everything You Need to Know: CMMI!

May 27th at noon EDT / 9AM PDT

http://bit.ly/CMMIsignup

See you on the Webinar!

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff has taught thousands of students in CMMI trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about engineering strategy, performance innovation , software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Is your company going for greatness? Sign up for "Everything You Need to Know: CMMI!"

Dear Readers,

Have you been tasked with transforming your organization into a high-performing, lean and productive team? Are you interested in making your company as great as you know it can be? Wouldn’t you love to have a more collaborative work environment, better predictability and happier customers?

Check it out! This webinar is for you. Engineering and software professionals and executives who are passionate about engineering performance improvement are invited to sign up for “Everything You Need to Know: CMMI!” Registration is now open.

Everything You Need to Know: CMMI!
May 27, 2015 @ 12PM EDT / 9AM PDT

Making the decision to learn everything about CMMI is an excellent choice for anyone who needs to get a grasp on improving, changing and elevating performance. At the deepest level, the CMMI provides you with an understanding of the way your company behaves, so that you can build better products, win new business and retain the customers you have.

That’s the promise of CMMI. The Model is all about the transformation of the culture of your company. It’s about improving and changing the way your company behaves, so that you create an environment in which the organization can manage its uniqueness in a structured way

So, whether you have been told you need to get a so-called “CMMI Certification,” are interested in the benefits of achieving a CMMI Maturity Level 2 or Maturity Level 3, or have been working with CMMI for years, you’ll want to check out the webinar. You are sure to pick up some new ideas to help you get better at what you are ALREADY doing.

Sign up for “Everything You NEED to Know: CMMI!

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff has taught thousands of students in CMMI trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about engineering strategy,performance innovation, software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Just starting out with CMMI and engineering performance Improvement?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser, I have a new job with a large supplier to the automotive industry (hint, you’ve heard of us), and I'm just getting started with CMMI and engineering performance improvement. Can you share some good online resources for beginners? ~ Faye R.

Hey, Faye! Welcome to the rapidly expanding world of engineering performance improvement and the CMMI! It's always a pleasure to meet new professionals to our industry who are adopting CMMI, the industry's leading behavioral model for engineering performance improvement.

If your experience is anything like mine, you’ll find the CMMI to be highly engaging and rewarding, both personally and professionally. That’s why I spend so much time creating content – including books, articles, videos, keynote presentations, webinars, CMMI training courses and more.  My goal is to help new engineering and software professionals like you learn about using the CMMI as one of the tools that can help improve performance, and put you on the path to greatness.

Here are our 5 most popular online resources - so take your pick and get started today!

#1 CMMI Webinar Series – Need to know EVERYTHING about Agile, CMMI and engineering performance innovation?  Check out our “Everything You Need to Know” webinar series, starting with “CMMI!”  Register here.



#2 CMMI-TV – Looking for short, informative video clips about Agile, CMMI and performance innovation, we invite you to subscribe to our CMMI-TV channel.


#3 CMMI eBooks – Like to get your CMMI info on screen? Check out the highly useful and always entertaining eBooks we’ve written about CMMI.


#4 @CMMIAppraiser on Twitter – Could you use a daily tip on CMMI, engineering performance and software process improvement? Follow us on Twitter.


#5 Broadsword Client User Group on LinkedIn – Interested in joining a community of like-minded engineering and software professionals for discussion and CMMI info? Join our group on LinkedIn.

BONUS SITE: www.broadswordsolutions.com – For your all-around information source about CMMI, performance innovation and process improvement planning, join us on the Broadsword website.
You can find us elsewhere online (such as Facebook, Google-Plus and Tumblr), offline (such as in the Cutter IT Journal) and in person at seminars, conferences and CMMI Training classes all around the world – but this should give you a good start.
Enjoy!

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff has taught thousands of students in CMMI trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about engineering strategy,performance innovation , software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Announcing NEW Webinar: Multi-Model Improvement!

Dear Readers,

In the auto industry, a lot of friction exists between the “ISO/TS side of the business” (management) and the “CMMI and Auto SPICE side of the business” (engineering).  The good news is, it doesn't need to be that way.  For organizations that are CMMI Maturity Level 2 or Level 3, this conflicted environment is almost always the direct result of poor integration of CMMI, ISO/TS and Auto SPICE - something within your power to address.

It's time to do something about it.  Check out “Multi-Model Improvement!” the fourth webinar in our popular “Everything You Need to Know” series.



“Everything You Need to Know: Multi-Model Improvement!”
Tuesday, May 19 at noon EDT
Register here

“Multi-Model Improvement!” is hosted by Broadsword and delivered by Senior Consultant, Ross Timmerman.  Having spent two decades in the automotive industry as an electronics engineering design and management professional, Ross will help you learn new ways to do some very useful things with Multi-Model Improvement:
  • Streamline and Strengthen the Way You Do Business
  • Get Visibility into Every Aspect of the Business
  • Eliminate Duplication and Overlap in Reporting
  • Attract and Retain Top Employees
  • Prevent Losing Business and Intellectual Capital to Competitors
Take the first step to aligning ISO/TS, CMMI and Auto SPICE and having better quality products and greater customer satisfaction. Sign up for “Multi-Model Improvement” today!

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff has taught thousands of students in CMMI trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Why Attend CMMI Institute’s Global Congress 2015? Reason #1

Dear Readers,

Global Congress 2015 starts tomorrow in Seattle!  I’ve been counting down my Top 10 reasons to be there, and today we’ve arrived at the final reason.  The #1 Reason I’m Attending Global Congress 2015 is:

It’s all about you!


As you know if you’ve joined us in the past, Global Congress (f/k/a SEPGNA, f/k/a The CMMI Conference) is the premier software process improvement conference.  Hundreds of professionals come from around the world to learn, network and explore solutions to their performance problems.  These are the folks who have been driving the event’s reputation as the Greatest Show on Earth.

This year, the Show is even greater.  Our annual Global Congress is a gathering of capability and improvement experts, and the theme for 2015 is Connect, Learn and Communicate Why Capability Counts.

What this means is that you can expect to come away with real life, practical and implementable solutions that will help you take your business to that next level.  The Program Committee selected over 30 speakers from around the world, and four customizable breakout tracks.

Attendees can choose to attend every session in one track or move between tracks to build a personalized experience that best fits your needs and interests. Check out the full program agenda.

Whether your interest is multi-model, practical process improvement, high maturity, agile and CMMI, or any number of other disciplines, each breakout track and presentation is designed to dive into the principles and practices that can help your organization better understand how to harness the power of process improvement.

The variety of learning opportunities alone is incredible.  New to the profession?  Great!  A seasoned practitioner of the organizational excellence within the CMMI?  Wonderful!  Where ever you are in your career journey, you will find an experience at Global Congress just for you.

Need one more reason to go?  You’ve got to be kidding me!  Just GO!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, ScrumMaster, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff pioneered agileCMMI, the leading methodology for incremental and iterative process improvement. He has taught thousands of students in CMMI trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about engineering strategy, performance innovation, software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.


Friday, May 8, 2015

Where do we go when we want to go agile?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser – We adopted Waterfall to help us achieve a CMMI Level 2, but since then we’ve been struggling to meet schedule and budget.  I hear good things about having more rapid delivery using Scrum, but our CMMI consultant said “going agile” is not an option for us, because agile and CMMI are incompatible.  Where do we go from here? ~ Calvin M.

Calvin,

The first place you should go is to the bullpen to call up another CMMI consultant.  They should know that CMMI and Scrum are more alike than they are different. Both CMMI and Scrum are about solving business problem, and they function extremely well together.

To get the real story about using agile and CMMI: Check out “Agile Transformation!” the second webinar in our popular “Everything You Need to Know” series.


Everything You Need to Know: Agile Transformation!
Wednesday, May 13 at noon EDT
Register for the FREE webinar 

"Agile Transformation!” is hosted by Broadsword and delivered by Tim Zeller, Director of Strategic Solutions.  Tim will help you learn new ways to do some very useful things:

  • Say goodbye to a Waterfall approach that utilizes a top-heavy, document-focused, command and control structure that you THOUGHT you needed to get a CMMI rating
  • Say hello to more rapid delivery
  • Preserve all the "good" things you did with CMMI, but just be more lean and agile

Not only will this Webinar help you figure out how to solve problems like meeting schedule and budget, Calvin, it will help you understand what needs to be done to become the company you want to be. You'll learn to transform the values and behaviors in your organization and take advantage of agile methods for a lighter, leaner approach to solving business problems incrementally and iteratively.

Get started with Agile Transformation today!  Sign up here.

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff has taught thousands of students in CMMI trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Why Attend CMMI Institute’s Global Congress 2015? Reason #2

Dear Readers,

The Starbucks coffee is percolating.  Microsoft Office is booting up.  Software and engineering professionals and executives all over North America are Sleepless in Seattle no more, as they wake up to the fact that Global Congress 2015 is just a few days away!

To help you see the value in making the trip to Seattle on May 12-13, I’ve been counting down my Top 10 reasons to be there.  Today we’re all the way down to Reason #2.


So let’s get to it!  The #2 Reason I’m Attending Global Congress 2015 is:

To meet with CMMI Institute leaders.

Whether you’re new to the CMMI Conference, or are a regular attendee of our industry’s premier event on performance improvement and the CMMI, introducing yourself to your hosts is not only the polite thing to do, it is one of the best reasons for going to Global Congress 2015.  Especially this year, when key CMMI Institute leaders will be in attendance.

I think you’ll find their insights and experience will make a difference in the way you think about process and performance improvement and the CMMI:

Kirk Botula, CEO of CMMI Institute.  Kirk is a team-builder, visionary and just an all-around terrific guy.  Meeting with Kirk will give you peace of mind that the CMMI is alive and well and has a strong future.  You’ll get insight into his vision for how the CMMI will grow, evolve, sustain and be successful over time.

Dan Torrens, COO. Dan’s in charge of managing product releases and executing strategy, and can help end-users get a feel for how the CMMI Institute operates, how its future products will be released and what some of the major internal projects might be.

And don't forget to say hello to Darlene, Rusty, Alex, Katie, Geoff, Brian and all of the others who work hard everyday supporting the CMMI!

As key representatives of the CMMI Institute at Global Congress, Kirk, and Dan (and the rest of the team) are a big part of the face of the product lines that we use every day.  If you are a CMMI user – or are considering adopting the Model – you’ll want to get to know them.  Global Congress 2015 is the perfect place to do that.

Pre-conference registration is closed but you can check in at the door.

By the way, if you missed it, here are my "top picks" to help guide you towards the presentations I will be going to.

Need one more reason to go?  I’ll be back soon with Reason #1.

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, ScrumMaster, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff pioneered agileCMMI, the leading methodology for incremental and iterative process improvement. He has taught thousands of students in CMMI trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about engineering strategy, performance innovation, software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Jeff's Top Picks for the CMMI Congress!

It's almost here!

Next week, engineering and CMMI professionals will be gathering in Seattle, WA for the CMMI Global Congress, an annual geekfest for process improvement nerds.

There will be dozens of great speakers, and every one of them is a leader.  Each year I like to give you my "top picks" to help guide you towards the presentations I will be going to.

Heeeeeeere we go!



Kirk Botula, CEO of the CMMI Institute, will kick off the week with his opening keynote.  Kirk is a brilliant speaker, and is overflowing with ideas for how we can work together to improve the capability and maturity of software and engineering organizations.  It'll be a great, inspiring way to start off the conference!

Running a Services Business, Getting Organized and Using CMMI-SVC in 3 Pages! Neil Potter and Richard Lea are leaders in the CMMI-SVC (and CMMI-DEV) space, and always put on a good show!

Boost your Team’s Morale and Revenues with CMMI! (John Degni).  This one sounds super-interesting and I will be sure to attend.  I'm always looking for ways to re-purpose the CMMI, and this sounds like a great idea!

Agile Risk Management (Tom Cagley).  Tom is a great speaker, and host of "SPAMCaST," a popular podcast about process improvement.  He's a leader when it comes to approaching engineering with an Agile mindset.  He has a wealth of knowledge and knows how to share it!

Exploring the Importance of Capability and Eight Capability Areas (Alexander Stall & Chavonne Hoyle).  Come to Alex's and Chavonne's session to hear about CMMI straight from the source!

Agile Transformation: Gaining or Maintaining CMMI (Tim Zeller).  More and more CMMI ML3 companies are transforming to Agile, while hoping to maintain their CMMI rating.  Tim is a CMMI Consultant, attorney, ISO Lead Auditor, and Scrum Master that brings a wealth of ideas to any audience.  A must see!

How is the CMMI “Integrated?” Let me Count the Ways… (Pat O’Toole).  My "Just the FAQs" writing partner is amongst the best in our business, and always gives a thoughtful and entertaining presentation.  I wouldn't miss this - and I won't!

"Twelve Questions Wildly Successful Companies Ask Themselves Everyday" (Jeff Dalton).  Oh wait, that's ME!  Since I will definitely be there, I'm going to make this one of my "top picks."  I'll be presenting the keynote on day two right after breakfast.  Join me for coffee and discussion about being a great company.

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff has taught thousands of students in CMMI trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Companies larger than 25 people are invited to visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about engineering strategy,performance innovation , software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.










Go agile, achieve ML3, and streamline methodologies … is all this even possible?

Hey, CMMI appraiser – We are a CMMI Maturity Level 2 engineering organization in the automotive industry, and my boss would like us to take steps toward becoming Level 3.  At the same time we are thinking about streamlining the performance improvement frameworks and methodologies we are using.  This comes on top of a directive from last year to adopt an agile approach to developing software.  Is all of this even possible?  What do you recommend? ~ Jason P.

Hey, Jason,

Yes, it’s possible – many great companies before you have done it!  To help engineering and software professionals such as yourself learn to adopt and align today’s most popular frameworks and methodologies, including CMMI, A-SPICE, ISO and Scrum, we are launching the "Everything You Need to Know" webinar series this month.  Check out the individual webinars below and sign up for one (or three, or four) that best match your needs.


May 13th – “Everything You Need to Know: Agile Transformation

The webinar helps you learn to become the company you want to be by transforming the values and behaviors in your organization to take advantage of Agile methods for a lighter, leaner approach to solving business problems incrementally and iteratively.  Sign up here.



May 19th – “Everything You Need to Know: Multi-Model Improvement

Designed specifically for organizations that have a CMMI Maturity Level 2 or Level 3 rating and want the benefits of aligning CMMI, ISO/TS and Auto SPICE, “Multi-Model Improvement” gives you everything you NEED to get started!  Sign up here.



May 21st -- “Everything You Need to Know: CMMI for Extra-Small Companies

If you are an "extra-small" IT and engineering shop (under 25 people) that has been trying unsuccessfully to bid on government contracts that require or recommend a CMMI Rating, "Everything you NEED to know: CMMI for Extra-Small Companies!" helps you learn about a flexible and affordable solution.  Sign up here.

May 26th – “Everything You Need to Know: CMMI

This webinar will provide systems engineers, software developers, project managers, and process professionals with a basic understanding of how to use the CMMI, a model that is the defacto standard and leading framework for software process improvement.  Sign up here.

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, ScrumMaster, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff pioneered agileCMMI, the leading methodology for incremental and iterative process improvement. He has taught thousands of students in CMMI trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about engineering strategy, performance innovation, software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.
Tags

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Why Attend CMMI Institute’s Global Congress 2015? Reason #3

Dear Readers,

Can you believe it?  CMMI Global Congress 2015 (f/k/a SEPGNA, f/k/a the CMMI Conference) is NEXT WEEK!  If you haven't already decided to attend, this post is for you.  I've been counting down the Top 10 Reasons I am attending our industry’s premier event in Seattle on May 12-13, and today we've arrived at Reason #3.

The #3 Reason I’m Attending Global Congress 2015 is:

To build stronger relationships with your customers.


Building relationships with the customer is important in any industry. But it’s absolutely critical in the context of the CMMI, where we are passionate about organizational process and performance improvement, and helping companies be as great as they can be.

So let me ask you this: Will you take the opportunity to build stronger relationships with your customers by bringing them to CMMI Global Congress 2015?

As part of my commitment to the CMMI, I am bringing six of my customers to the conference this year. Last year I brought five. Here’s why I think it’s a good thing for every one of us to do:

Global Congress 2015 allows you to spend quality time with your customers. So often in our day-to-day work, we are on-site to solve problems. There are subgroups to be evaluated and artifacts to be collected. But in Seattle, you’ll be able to connect with your customers on a personal level. You’ll share meals together, attend sessions together, and perhaps take in a night on the town together.

Global Congress 2015 allows you to guide your customers through the learning process. With you by their side, customers can grasp the real meaning of the CMMI, and the long-term value the model provides. And when questions come up, you’ll be right there to answer with real-live examples from their current projects.

Global Congress 2015 allows you to introduce your customers to both the CMMI Institute and other adopters of the CMMI. For me, this is one of the most rewarding experiences at the event I fondly call “The Greatest Show on Earth.” I love to see new friendships form when I introduce my customers to the smart folks from the CMMI Institute, as well as to the broader community of people with the same problems they’ve been facing.

In my opinion, it’s incumbent upon us – both the CMMI Institute and its Partners – to be people-integrators. That means, part of our job is to integrate the customers with each other, so that they can have a support system of their own.

And you know what? I’ve never met a customer who wasn’t excited about going.

So let’s be generous and share some knowledge. I urge each of you to invite at least one customer to come – and we’ll see you in Seattle!

Register here.

Need more reasons to go? I’ll be back soon with Reason #2.

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, ScrumMaster, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff pioneered agileCMMI, the leading methodology for incremental and iterative process improvement. He has taught thousands of students in CMMI trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about engineering strategy, performance innovation, software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.

Monday, May 4, 2015

We've got binders full of policies - is that sufficient for GP2.1?

[Dear Readers, our good friend Pat O’Toole, CMMI expert and seasoned consultant, is collaborating with us on a new monthly series of CMMI-related posts, "Just the FAQs." Our goal with these posts is to provide answers to the most frequently asked questions about the CMMI, SCAMPI, engineering strategy and software process improvement. This month Jeff discusses Decision, Analysis and Resolution (DAR).  Take it away! ~ the CMMI Appraiser]

“We’ve created 18 pages of policies (one for each Process Area), and placed them in a binder in our CIO's office library for all of our engineers to refer to.  There is a “master policy” that says: “Everyone must follow these policies.” Is this sufficient for GP2.1, and are we Maturity Level Two?”

Jeff:  Policies?  We’ve got BINDERS full of ‘em [1].  And when you wipe the dust off of them they even shine up all nice and pretty-like.


As to whether this is “sufficient,” I assume you are asking “is this evidence sufficient to demonstrate we are performing this practice?”

I have no idea, but I’m skeptical [2].

Sometimes when people are adopting a process model like CMMI, they focus on the wrong things.   Instead of considering the business reason that the practice is present to begin with, they attempt to reverse engineer it starting with the words and artifacts themselves.  This seems clever at first.  After all, the practice says, “Establish an Organizational Policy.”  How hard could that be?  We have the binder; end of story.

As it turns out, getting value out of policies is harder than it sounds.

The reason we have policies is to communicate what we expect people to do.  But we can’t do that without understanding the “who, how, and what” of the expectation. [3]

It helps me to better understand the business value of GP2.1 (and others) by first establishing a set of model-agnostic User Stories that are designed for each end user, and then flipping that into a series of questions that need to be answered.

So, “Establish an Organizational Policy” within VER for software engineers might become:

As a Software Engineer
I need to perform code reviews
So that I can capture defects earlier and build great software products

Some people may be satisfied with that, but I think it raises more questions than it answers.  To really understand what is expected, we need to go deeper.  Hence the question(s):

“How am I supposed to conduct code reviews?”  
“What is the company trying to accomplish?”  
“How much time/money should I spend on this?” 
“What is the code review experience expected to be?” 
“How do we know we are meeting expectations?”

It might be a simple matter to develop a code review process and tell everyone they have to follow it (well, simple enough to just tell them) but unless that process is tied to the true expectations of our organization how do we know we’re doing the right thing?  Like artifacts, the behaviors behind our actions matter, and the presence of actions alone does not mean we are meeting expectations (or that we are “sufficient”).  We have to be aligned with something.

When I conduct appraisals I like to explore the three primary components of a policy: Vision, Values, and Expectations.  These three components are a trio and cannot add value without alignment.

A Vision is a statement of who we want to be, and exists at the company, organization, program, product, and team level.  It is the baseline from which all behaviors are derived.  An example of a Product Vision might be:

“We will deliver the highest quality data compression product on the market that will sell at a premium price.” 

OK, that’s a great start.  I know what our process needs to support, but I need a little more.

Values describe how we will behave:

We will trust our teams
We will strive for transparency
We will collaborate closely with our customers
We will treat our suppliers like partners  

Or, maybe we want something a little more “traditional” [4]:

We will maintain strict “command-and-control” at all times
We will manage tasks down to the hour and expect daily status reports
We will limit communication with our customers
We will maintain an adversarial relationship with our suppliers to keep costs as low as possible

I’m already feeling some misalignment between the second example and our Vision Statement.  I call that an “organizational type-mismatch,” and too much of this will lead to eventual failure.

The 3rd component of a policy is expectations.  Expectations help us understand what we will do to achieve the vision while still maintaining our values.  Returning to our code review example, some expectations might be:

We will hold iterative and incremental code reviews every two weeks
We will invite our customers, managers, and other stakeholders
We will record defects we find so everyone knows to avoid them in the future
We will not focus on blame, but how to improve the process so a particular defect doesn’t happen again

In this example, we have direct traceability from our expectations, to our values, to our vision.  This gives software engineers a crisp and clearly defined roadmap for designing a code review process that meets the needs of our company, organization, product, and team.

I’ll leave the media to you, but we know a dusty binder organized by Process Area and signed by the line manager in 1972 isn’t the answer.  Instead, consider multiple media platforms including WIKIs, online and classroom training, all-hands meetings, newsletters, and performance reviews, and use your binder (or an undiscovered folder in SharePoint) as a backup.

To summarize: who are you, how will you behave, and what will you do to succeed?

End notes:

1. Thanks for the quote, Governor Romney!
2. I was going to say “It depends,” but that was never very funny.
3. I know this is shocking to most of you, but companies regularly don’t know what they are doing,  or why they are doing it.
4. When I wrote this sentence, it seemed like this company would be an awful place to work…unfortunately it’s what of the 90% of companies in the world are like.


© Copyright 2015: Process Assessment, Consulting & Training and Broadsword Solutions
“Just the FAQs” is written/edited by Pat O’Toole and Jeff Dalton.  Please contact the authors at pact.otoole@att.net and jeff@broadswordsolutions.com to suggest enhancements to their answers, or to provide an alternative response to the question posed.  New questions are also welcomed!

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about engineering strategy, performance innovation, software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.




Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Why Attend CMMI Institute’s Global Congress 2015? Reason #4

Dear Readers,

Have you heard?  There is just one place to go this spring if you want to build relationships with engineering and software professionals who share your passion for performance improvement and the CMMI.

That place is CMMI Global Congress 2015 (f/k/a SEPGNA, f/k/a the CMMI Conference), in Seattle, Washington.  This brings us to the #4 Reason of the Top 10 Reasons I am attending our industry’s premier event on May 12-13:

To connect with people who get it


This year our hosts, the CMMI Institute, have made a tremendous effort to create multiple opportunities for us to connect at Global Congress 2015.  These include:

Birds of a Feather Gatherings

Each day at the conference during the 90-minute lunch break, tables will be reserved to discuss particular topics.  The length is designed to allow participants to connect with one another around our interests and experience.  Our hosts are calling these “Birds of a Feather” gatherings – sounds friendly!

Volunteers are heading up Birds of a Feather tables around the topics below.  If you’d like to convene a group around a particular topic of interest to you—either to share what you’ve learned or to learn from others’ experience — the CMMI Institute is inviting you email your topic to events@cmmiinstitute.com

  • High Maturity Practices
  • Growing my Career with CMMI
  • CMMI beyond Software Development

Tuesday Evening receptions

VIP CMMI Associate Cocktail Hour with Kirk Botula

All Certified CMMI Associates are invited to join CMMI Institute CEO, Kirk Botula for an intimate VIP cocktail reception on Tuesday, 14 May at the Westin. Associates will receive a personal invitation and specific details for the event. Learn more about becoming a Certified CMMI Associate at www.cmmiinstitute.com.

Global Congress Reception

On Tuesday evening, May 12th, CMMI Institute and Global Congress Sponsors and Exhibitors will host a reception for all conference attendees. The reception will include heavy hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and entertainment as well as opportunities to connect with your fellow attendees and exhibitors.

Yes, it’s all about connecting.  But you can't make a connection unless you're there.  See you in Seattle!

Register here.

Need more reasons to go?  I’ll be back soon with Reason #3.

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, ScrumMaster, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff pioneered agileCMMI, the leading methodology for incremental and iterative process improvement. He has taught thousands of students in CMMI trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about engineering strategy, performance innovation, software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.