CMMI Survival Guide: Just Enough Process Improvement

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Overview

Praise for CMMI® Survival Guide

"Traveling down the CMMI road can be difficult and time-consuming. Garcia and Turner have given us a practical roadmap that addresses the key points to learn as well as the many potholes to avoid. Their Survival Guide is a most valuable resource for the journey. It will help immeasurably in achieving the process improvement that you seek."

—Dr. Howard Eisner, Distinguished Research Professor, George Washington University

"Helps you get to the 'red meat' of the CMMI quickly and with minimum pain."

—Donald J. Reifer, President, Reifer Consultants, Inc.

"The best words I can offer potential readers is that you must have this book, not on your shelf, but with you for repeated reading to glean new ideas or reinforce old ones you gained from the past readings. If you have ever been directly involved in a process improvement initiative or if you are starting one, this book can only help you to do a better job. And while [the authors] may not have written this book explicitly for experienced consultants, I found it a great reference even for those of us who helped start this industry, because it provides clear and useful answers to those tough questions we are asked all of the time."

—Tim Kasse, CEO and Principal Consultant, Kasse Initiatives LLC

"This book contains practical (working) tips for the 'getting started' phase of process improvement, which is the hardest one in the road to improving one's processes."

—Agapi Svolou, Principal of Alexanna, LLC, and SEI CMMI Transition Partner

"The authors have done an outstanding job in providing guidance for process improvement from a practical perspective. Instead of focusing on a single technique or approach, they have provided a variety of methods for process improvement implementation and have framed their discussion with rich context from lessons learned. The concepts described in this book will be useful to both those starting CMMI implementations and to those who are well into their journey but are still looking for ways to lessen the pain and provide value-added improvements. Reading the book is like being in the audience during a live presentation by SuZ and Rich—they wrote the book as they would present the information to a live audience."

—Bill Craig, Director, Software Engineering Directorate, AMRDEC, RDECOM

"I have been involved in process improvement since the early 90's and many of the mistakes that I made could have been prevented if this book had been available then."

—Claude Y. Laporte, Professor, ETS Universite du Quebec

"Primarily, the book is practical. The guidance presented is geared toward someone who is not exactly sure why they need process improvement, but is presented with the fact that they must do it. Very often these are smaller organizations, with limited resources, and uncertain support from above. As I read the book, I thought almost immediately of a couple of organizations with which I am familiar who could use this kind of tutelage. There are real, and useful, techniques in this book that I believe can help these kinds of organizations prioritize and establish reasonable plans for improving the processes in the organization. I also like the sidebars and personal observations. Discussions of experience can really help organizations through the various pitfalls that are part of developing and deploying processes. It makes the book more of a 'real life' guide, and not a theoretical exercise. Finally, the book is an enjoyable read. The conversational style of the book (and the humor) make it much easier to read than many of the books I have read in the past."

—Alexander Stall, Principal Process Improvement Engineer, Systems and Software Consortium

The CMMI provides a framework for process improvement spanning the life cycle of a product or service, from conception through delivery and maintenance. Widely and beneficially adopted around the world, the size and apparent complexity of the framework have nonetheless been daunting to some organizations. That need not be so. With a proper guide to help navigate around unknown dangers, potential pitfalls, and false paths, you too, can realize substantial business value from a successful CMMI implementation. This book is such a guide, full of the real-life examples to ease your way, and written in a lighter style to ease your reading.

The CMMI® Survival Guide is an effective resource for multiple readerships. If you are just now considering a process improvement program, with the CMMI among your options, the authors' discussion of relevant issues will enhance your business case right from the start. If you have already decided to implement the CMMI, the authors' practical knowledge will help you make the most of your efforts. Even if you are well into a CMMI implementation, but are lost, stuck, or going around in circles, the authors' valuable advice will help you regain your direction.

If you work in a smaller or resource-strapped organization, you will particularly benefit from the authors' description of alternative paths to process improvement—approaches that are more incremental or agile, and less intensive, than you might imagine for a CMMI implementation. The authors draw on their extensive experience working with diverse organizations, and on the CMMI tools, techniques, and templates developed for those organizations.

Whatever your background or need, the CMMI® Survival Guide will help you survey the CMMI territory, consult possible road maps, learn from other CMMI explorers, weigh the benefits of hiring a living guide, and even consider whether the trip is right for you.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Some small-to-midsize businesses are considering CMMI-based process improvement simply because they've recognized its immense competitive value. Others are being driven toward CMMI by customers or partners. For both, CMMI can look dauntingly complex. Thankfully, there's a solution: CMMI Survival Guide: Just Enough Process Improvement.

Suzanne Garcia and Richard Turner scope out the process improvement "territory," helping managers objectively evaluate the business case and clearly assess what's involved in making it work. Next, they offer a streamlined process-improvement map designed specifically for smaller organizations (or larger organizations with very limited resources).

Garcia and Turner help you identify the specific CMMI tools resources you need to get rapid results, then take you deeper into the "how-tos": everything from developing infrastructure to defining and deploying optimized processes. You may be surprised -- maybe even amazed -- at how friendly and useful a process improvement book can be. Bill Camarda, from the December 2006 Read Only

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780321422774
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley
  • Publication date: 11/3/2006
  • Series: SEI Series in Software Engineering
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Suzanne (SuZ) Garcia is a senior member of the technical staff at the Software Engineering Institute of Carnegie Mellon University. Since the early 1990's, Suz has led, authored, or reviewed a broad range of CMMs, covering all the topics contained in the latest CMMI. In addition, she has spent the past decade developing and applying techniques that support CMMI implementation in diverse settings, from adoptions by smaller organizations to adoptions in large, system-of-systems, contexts.

Richard Turner is a Fellow at the Systems and Software Consortium. For more than thirty years, he has worked with industry, government, and academia to improve the development and acquisition of complex, software-intensive systems. A member of the initial CMMI author team, he has led process improvement initiatives in information technology, system engineering, and software acquisition. He is a coauthor of Balancing Agility and Discipline: A Guide for the Perplexed (Addison-Wesley, 2004) and CMMI® Distilled, Second Edition (Addison-Wesley, 2004).

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Table of Contents

List of Figures xiii

List of Tables xv

Foreword xvii

Preface xix

Acknowledgments xxiii

Part I Scouting the Territory 1

Chapter 1: Why We Think Process Is Important 3

1.1 A short history of process improvement 3

1.2 The role of processes in business 5

Chapter 2: Why Process Improvement Helps 9

2.1 Process improvement is about learning 10

2.2 Process improvement should be driven by business value 11

2.3 Process improvement can be valuable for organizations of all sizes 12

2.4 You have choices in your improvement approach 13

2.5 You have choices in the reference model 20

Chapter 3: Why Process Improvement Isn't Trivial 29

3.1 Building and sustaining sponsorship 30

3.2 Managing an appraisal life cycle 30

3.3 Developing and sustaining process improvement infrastructure 31

3.4 Deploying new and improved processes 32

3.5 Developing and measuring realistic goals 34

3.6 Advantages and disadvantages of different-size improvement efforts 35

3.7 Project management issues 38

3.8 Common pitfalls for PI initiatives 39

3.9 Summary of Part I 40

Part II Mapping the Route 43

Chapter 4: CMMI As Your Guide 45

4.1 Why CMMI? 45

4.2 CMMI primer 47

4.3 Some choices to think about in using CMMI 53

4.4 Using CMMI to guide your improvement 61

Chapter 5: A Decision-based Life Cycle for Improvement 65

5.1 Decide 71

5.2 Try initial (additional) model elements 80

5.3 Analyze 82

5.4 Commit 84

5.5 Reflect 86

5.6 Summary of Part II 88

Part III Surviving the Passage 91

Chapter 6: A PI Case Study 93

6.1 Decide (Cycle 1: To do or not to do) 93

6.2 Decide (Cycle 2: What to do, where, and when) 95

6.3 Try (Cycle 2: The first pilot) 96

6.4 Analyze (Cycle 2: The first pilot) 97

6.5 Commit (Cycle 2: The first pilot) 98

6.6 Reflect (Cycle 2: The first pilot) 99

6.7 Decide (Cycle 3: What's next) 100

Chapter 7: Survival and PI 103

7.1 Size up the situation 104

7.2 Undue haste makes waste 105

7.3 Remember where you are 106

7.4 Vanquish fear and panic 107

7.5 Improvise 109

7.6 Value living 110

7.7 Act like the natives 111

7.8 Live by your wits, learn basic skills 112

7.9 Summary of Part III 113

Part IV Experiencing the Journey 117

Chapter 8: Developing and Sustaining Sponsorship 119

8.1 Communicating with and sustaining sponsorship of organizational leadership 120

8.2 Seeking sponsors: Applying sales concepts to building and sustaining support 122

8.3 Being a sponsor: Welcome to the "foreign element" 127

Chapter 9: Setting and Measuring Against Realistic Goals 131

9.1 Setting goals and success criteria aligned with sponsor objectives 132

9.2 Understanding the current state of the organization:Readiness and Fit Analysis for CMMI 137

9.3 How do you tell if you've succeeded? 144

Chapter 10: Managing an Appraisal Life Cycle 151

10.1 To appraise or not to appraise: Is that really the question? 152

10.2 Different appraisal philosophies 153

10.3 Managing the resources needed to plan and conduct appraisal activities 156

Chapter 11: Developing Process Improvement Infrastructure 161

11.1 Developing and sustaining process improvement team members 162

11.2 Developing a team 164

11.3 Establishing improvement infrastructure to supportand sustain CMMI implementation 167

11.4 Staffing and organization 167

11.5 Creating and evolving a PAL (Process Asset Library) 170

11.6 Measurement system/repository 175

Chapter 12: Defining Processes 179

12.1 CMMI Business Analysis 180

12.2 Developing useful process guidance 181

12.3 Collecting/incorporating lessons learned from improvement activities 188

Chapter 13: Deploying Improved Processes 191

13.1 Finding/selecting pilots for CMMI implementation 191

13.2 Working with consultants 197

13.3 Deploying practices to the targeted organizational scope 199

13.4 Communication 207

Chapter 14: Looking Ahead 217

14.1 What's next for you? 217

14.2 What's next for PI? 219

14.3 Summary of Part IV 221

Part V Outfitting Your Expedition (PI Resources) 225

Chapter 15: Tools and Techniques 227

15.1 An example of setting SMART goals 228

15.2 Performing a CMMI Business Analysis 230

15.3 Performing a Readiness and Fit Analysis 235

15.4 One-Hour Process Description method 238

15.5 Infusion and diffusion measurement 245

15.6 CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) technique + Chaos Cocktail Party 262

15.7 Additional resources 265

Bibliography 273

Index 279

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Preface

Adopting CMMI (or any other process improvement initiative) can seem like navigating a jungle full of unknown dangers, pitfalls, and false paths. No matter where you are in your process improvement journey, there are a lot of reasons why you might need a CMMI survival guide. If you are just starting out, you'll need to survey the territory, consult maps, talk to other explorers, look into hiring guides, and maybe reconsider whether you really need to take that trip after all. If you are already committed, but feel like you're lost or stuck or going around in circles, your outlook may be reduced to simple survival. On the other hand, if you have begun to see past the dangers and into the pos*sibilities, you may want some additional tools and techniques to get the most out of your journey. For all of you, we are pleased to present this compendium of knowledge and experience about the process improvement jungle in the hope that it can make your trip more efficient, valuable, and satisfying.

We have three goals for this volume: We'd like to calm the nervous, help the little guy, and make process improvement more agile. Let's look at each of these.

Calming the nervous

We've heard lots of nervous concerns about CMMI. It's as though Dante's "Abandon all hope ye who enter here" somehow were added to the CMMI shingle. Consider (if you will) the following common perceptions about CMMI:

  • CMMI is big and intimidating. Who wants to wade through a 700-page-plus book to try to understand it?
  • Our choose one: customer/acquiring company/prime told us we have to use it.
  • We thought we were immune to process improvement because we don't build software. Now they tell us CMMI applies to us.
  • It costs so much to implement. We don't have that kind of overhead funding available.
  • It seems to take such a long time before return on investment is achieved.
  • It was written by and for large, government-driven businesses. It can't possibly be useful—or usable—for small companies and organizations or limited projects.
  • We want to be agile, and CMMI is ueber-high ceremony.
  • We'll wait until it's absolutely, positively unavoidable—and then we'll bite the bullet and buy our way in.

Fortunately, most of this anxiety is based on misperceptions rising from a somewhat old-fashioned, traditional role for process improvement. While we can't counter every fear, we can provide suggestions for ways to mitigate many of the scary risks.

Helping the little guy

We believe that small businesses and organizations are particularly underserved by current resources. Our experience tells us that process improvement, when approached sensibly, can benefit many smaller organizations. For that reason, we've included examples from smaller environments. Our approach to incremental process improvement, driven by specific business value rather than simply seeking a maturity level, is especially appropriate for resource-strapped smaller organizations. If your business fits into this category, we hope the book will help you find the confidence to actively adopt new methods that have worked so well in other, larger places.

Making process improvement more agile

One response to traditionally process-heavy approaches, at least in the software industry, has been the agile methods movement. Methods such as Extreme Programming and Scrum have gained attention as approaches that are designed for easier implementation. Some argue that methods like these are incompatible with models like CMMI; others have found ways to use elements of both in complementary ways.

In this book, we'll take a somewhat different approach and describe ways in which process improvement itself can take advantage of the agile philosophy and practices. We describe a more lightweight, focused, and time-constrained process improvement life cycle that we believe captures the flexibility and responsiveness of agile development methods.

Through years of interaction with diverse organizations, we've seen the many ways that models and methods are used effectively to promote business value, and nearly as many ways that they can be used unproductively. So we've written this book to share approaches that have worked and identify a few that haven't. You can judge for yourself what might be achievable when you attempt to improve project management, engineering, or support practices in your own business environment.

The book's format is intended to support readers who need a quick scan of the territory as well as those who are looking for actual techniques and templates. We believe that no one has all the answers. Many of our techniques are ones we have learned from others, and wherever possible, we'll tell you where to find more in-depth information.

If you are just hearing about CMMI, model-based improvement, or agile methods, we hope that this book will provide a coherent set of steps and techniques to get you started on your path to improved practices.

For those of you who are against the wall and under orders to adopt a model or method, we believe you will find fresh ways to approach your mandate, making the experience productive for you and your organization.

And for all of you who pick up this book, we hope you'll find it enjoyable enough that you actually finish reading it! As we explore this material with you, it's the most ambitious goal we've set for ourselves.

Organization

In general, we are writing to you in much the way we would talk with you: directly and with a bit of wry humor thrown in. The organization of the book, based on an extended adventure analogy, is straightforward. There is increasing detail as you read, with earlier chapters being prologue to later chapters, thus providing good "management-level" reading. At the end of each chapter, we collect any references to other books or material. Occasionally we relate (mostly) real stories that we hope illustrate he subject through examples.

The book is divided into five parts:

Part I: Scouting the Territory. We describe process improvement from a practical standpoint, describing why we think it is worth pursuing, how it is helpful, and why it isn't as easy as it sounds.

Part II: Mapping the Route. We provide some specific guides that can make process improvement more organized and often more effective.

Part III: Surviving the Passage. We present a case study for those who like "reality shows" and describe ways in which survival of a process improvement initiative is analogous to physical survival as taught by the U.S. Army.

Part IV: Experiencing the Journey. This is the section where the rubber meets the road. We discuss the specifics of executing a process improvement initiative and use CMMI to lead by example.

Part V: Outfitting Your Expedition (PI Resources). This is our tools-and-techniques section, where we can go into more detail about some of the tools we've mentioned in previous chapters. We also provide a complete bibliography.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2006

    easy to understand overview of CMMI

    Garcia and Turner address a widely held concern about adopting CMMI. That it is overly heavy, with much to assimilate before a group of programmers can usefully apply it. Well ok, CMMI can be used for more than just software development. But as a practical matter, most of its users and proposed users are in that business. The book is perhaps also a reaction to the Agile process. The latter is in some ways the mirror image of CMMI, with short design and coding cycles. The book gives a relatively quick walkthrough of CMMI. A broad picture about using CMMI to improve your development process. En route, it also discusses general topics like project management issues, which are not exclusive to CMMI. The entire text is really just a primer for CMMI. It shows that CMMI has many subtopics, and the procedures involved can be rather detailed. Adding up to a formidable total barrier for the newcomer. But the text does supply enough information to give an appreciation of what CMMI can do for you, and the concepts to be mastered.

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