A starting point for a discussion on marrying Agile methods and CMMI.

Truly Agile CMMI

The team room of a truly lean/agile company doing CMMI in a way that is natural to them and authentic.  They are doing CMMI in an agile way.  They know no other way to do it.  They went from "what is CMMI?" to ML2 in 14 weeks.  Their commitment to lean gave them an edge many companies wish they had: a culture of value and excellence.

What does "truly agile CMMI" look like?

Well, it looks like a commitment to adding value, for one.  It looks like delivering incrementally and using each incremental deliverable to iterate, learn, reflect, and continuously integrate into the whole.

It looks like questioning everything that you don’t understand until you do, and then basing decisions on what will provide the most benefit without adding unnecessary features, functions, or work.  It also looks like being true to your collaborative nature, to your culture of learning, to your behaviors of communication and transparency.  It looks like using measures to know where you are and how well you’re doing.  It looks like a commitment to to doing nothing for the sake of doing it — either it has a benefit that you can reap, or it’s not done.  It looks like building practices into what you do in a way that eliminates the need for waste-riddled, ceremonial audits later.

When every effort has a purpose that you can tie to a business benefit; when every task delivers something someone needs or wants; when you create a system that people want and use, that you don’t have to pull teeth to get people to adopt and provide you feedback on; that not only flows with and follows in-line with your natural ways of working but promotes new ideas and ways of changing your work regularly and distributing those ideas to everyone who wants to know…. when not a single result of some effort exists whose only reason to exist is to provide evidence for an appraisal….

*THAT’S* what truly agile CMMI looks like.

It’s not just in the processes that result from using CMMI, but also in the manner in which those processes were created.

You don’t "do CMMI" in an agile way when you’re a stogy traditional-oriented organization, and you don’t achieve an agile CMMI when your implementation approach is traditional.  If you’re an agile organization, incorporate CMMI in an agile way.  Don’t abandon agile values and principles to implement CMMI.  Exploit your agile values and principles to implement CMMI in a kick-ass way.

CMMI in an agile way, an agile approach to CMMI, and a seamless blending of CMMI with agile approaches doesn’t happen (easily) if your approach to AgileCMMI isn’t lean and agile.


My professional passion is to build high performance organizations out of companies motivated to be lean, agile, and achieve world-class results. My best clients are companies who have the courage, leadership, insight, foresight and discipline to be the best places to work, the best value to their customers and the best performing for their shareholders. I take a tough love approach and, frankly, have little patience for executives who *want* these things but expect to achieve them without putting in any effort or making any changes.

3 Responses to “Truly Agile CMMI”

  1. [...] Truly Agile CMMI – a short blog and video about a company that gets both Agile and CMMI. [...]

  2. [...] wrote about how we were approaching the CMMI process using Agile techniques in his blog, and even made a video about our CMMI team room, check it [...]

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