Archive for the ‘Agile+CMMI’ Category

SEPG North America 2013: Why You Want to Be There!

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Why Do You Want to Be There?
This year, the conference is significantly re-orienting itself towards END USERS. Previous SEPG conferences had a lot of useful information, especially for experienced change agents and consultants in the field.

This year, the focus is on up-and-coming disciplines, established success strategies, and most importantly, direct business performance benefit of using CMMI. In fact, what we’ve seen over the years is that CMMI is working extremely well with other forms of improvement as well as with existing defined service delivery and product development approaches — whether agile, lean, traditional, customer-focused, innovation-focused, or some combination.

CMMI provides a specific framework that is both a way to focus attention on specific needs while also benchmarking progress. Instead of flailing around trying to find where to put improvement energies, or waiting for a long-term traditional approach of process exploration and decomposition, CMMI takes a lot of the guesswork out by leveraging decades of experience and laying out very specific goals to seek to improve performance.

CMMI users have reported their productivity to increase magnitudes of order, costs drop in double digits, and their ability to cut through thick process jungles more quickly than being left alone to their own devices.

Yes, I’m speaking and presenting at SEPG 2013, but that’s the least relevant reason to attend. Come because you want to see what others are doing to marry CMMI with existing (or new to you) concepts; come because you want to hear from other end-users what they’re doing with CMMI to improve performance. And, most of all, come because you want to get and stay ahead of your competitors who aren’t using CMMI nearly as effectively as you will after attending.

SEPG North America: The CMMI Conference is coming soon, but there is still time to register.

This year’s conference program will include content perfect for you if you are:

  • Beginning to implement–or considering implementation of—CMMI
  • Seeking resources and best practices for integrating CMMI and Agile practices
  • Interested in taking your process improvement game up a level
  • A fan of rivers, boats, bridges or baseball !

Check out the conference agenda here: and when you register, enter the promotional code "Entinex" to save $100 on your fee. (Or just click this link and the discount will be applied for you.)

Book before September 1st to get a discount on your hotel room, as well.

Get the details on the website ( and email with any questions.

CMMI On One Leg

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

I’m not sure, but I’m told some famous guy back in Biblical liturgy was once asked to explain the point of the Pentateuch (aka, the Torah, aka, The Five Books of Moses) while "standing on one leg".  

I now undertake a task, possibly no less daunting, regarding CMMI.  And, if there ever were anyone more appropriate to try it, I doubt I’ve met them.

Seriously though, much has been written here and many other places (not to mention eons of conference and user group content) about a number of "universal truths" about CMMI.  Let’s get these out there first, but without dwelling on them:

  • There are no "processes" in CMMI, only practices, and there’s a difference.
  • The practices in CMMI are "what" but not "how".
  • These practices are use to improve your processes, not to define them.
  • The CMMI does not require the SCAMPI appraisal to be effective.  You can use CMMI to improve your operation without ever using the SCAMPI to appraise your use of CMMI.
  • 42.  OK.  Not really.

However, not a single one of these "truths" explain the point of CMMI, or,  how to actually use CMMI.  So, here it goes:

Each one of the practices in CMMI improves some aspect of your organization’s performance resulting from how you do your work.  It doesn’t matter whether it’s providing a service or developing a product.  And, it doesn’t matter whether you do so using so-called traditional development methods or Agile approaches.  If you have performance issues in an area of your operation (called, "Process Areas" in CMMI), Check each of the practices in that area for activities in your operation that might be causing those performance issues. 

It’s assumed, then, if you don’t have any issues covered by a practice then you don’t need to do anything about a practice, because you’re already doing it.  This says nothing of how well you do it, why you do it, how you do it, whether you recognize that you do it, or whether the fact that you do it is a complete coincidental freak of nature, but, if you read a practice, understand the risk it avoids, and you don’t encounter that risk, you’re somehow performing that practice.  Pretty simple.

I’ll repeat and summarize that two-step thought experiment:

  1. Look in the process areas for practices that address performance issues you’re experiencing with the operation of your work.  When you encounter a practice (or more than one), the absence of which can explain why you’re seeing those issues, make appropriate changes to your operation so that you incorporate that/those practice(s) into your operation.  Rinse and repeat.
  2. Practices that don’t represent risks or issues you’re not seeing are (pretty much, by definition) practices you’re somehow managing to accomplish.  Don’t bother with them — unless you notice that you don’t like something about how you do it, but that’s a different priority/matter.

Keep in mind, this says nothing of

  • whether what you do/don’t do will suffice as "evidence" for an appraisal
  • how well you perform the practices (regardless of whether or not you perform them or believe you can use them to improve),
  • what it takes to incorporate practices or make change, in general, happen in your operation,
  • whether an appraisal team will concur with whether you do/don’t perform practices, or
  • you interpret practices in constructive ways.

Nonetheless, if you internalize the significance of the above 2 steps, you can (I dare say, "will") save yourselves a lot of time and grief when using CMMI.  This approach can certainly help you prioritize the practices for which to focus on, appraisal or not.  And, if you do take this approach towards preparation for an appraisal, keep in mind the bulleted caveats and don’t try this alone.

Lean Camp New England: Boston, May 13

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

OK, OK, so it’s Mothers’ Day in the US… but we all miss out on family matters all the time for things far less awesome than this.

Lean Camp New England is a one day open space event led by Jim Benson, author of Personal Kanban. It is an opportunity to share and learn about Lean and Kanban in software development, IT operations and services, and other knowledge work fields.

Lean Camp New England is an all day event at the World Trade Center Boston, on May 13th (Sunday).
Registration is open now at a cost of $300 – catering is included.
Register at

Boston is the center of gravity for lean thinking in the US. However, much of that thinking has been in fields outside of IT and Software and Systems Engineering/Development.

If you live in New England, or people you know live in New England, and are interested in getting up-to-speed among the leading thinkers and practitioners in Lean in IT and Software and Systems Engineering/Development, I highly encourage you and them to register for Lean Camp New England.

This is a rare opportunity to enjoy a regional 1-day open space / unconference in conjunction with a large international conference, Lean Software & Systems 2012 – as a result a significant number of international experts will be present and participating.

Where else can you get direct coaching from the experts for only $300?