Archive for the ‘Business Benefit’ Category

CMMI Institute to Help Companies around the World Elevate Organizational Performance

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Delivers Process Improvement Frameworks with Proven Business Results

Entinex is a proud partner of the CMMI Institute. We have been using CMMI and its predecessors to help elevate performance for over 16 years and have seen the value of the models to deliver measurable business results for our clients. We look forward to working with the CMMI Institute to extend the reach of the CMMI frameworks to enable individuals and organizations to reach their goals.

Our Founder, CEO, and Performance Jedi, Hillel Glazer continues to be the pathfinder for bringing CMMI, lean and agile practices together. He furthers his involvement by playing a critical role in helping the CMMI Institute formulate its strategies and carry out several important projects, including providing important input to the success of their SEPG conferences and foundational material for CMMI’s product suite in the agile market.

(Also, see this article on CMMI in SD Times.)

November 20, 2013 09:00 AM Eastern Standard Time
PITTSBURGH–The CMMI Institute announced today its strategy to extend the reach of the CMMI model to enable businesses of every size in every industry to elevate performance and to provide tools that equip CMMI practitioners to begin and to grow their journey with CMMI.

The CMMI Institute, established by Carnegie Mellon University, is home to the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI), a gold standard of excellence in software and systems development. The Institute will continue to help this market to solve business problems while advancing the use of the model to new industry sectors around the world.

CMMI is used by some of the world’s most admired and innovative organizations, including Samsung, Accenture, Proctor & Gamble, and Siemens. CMMI adoption has been a powerful differentiator for businesses and a catalyst for economic growth in regions that invest in its broad adoption.

“To compete in the global market, leaders must build organizations that can consistently deliver quality and value in products and services,” said Kirk Botula, CEO of CMMI Institute. “The CMMI Institute enables organizations committed to excellence to achieve measurable results in the facets of their business that matter most to their goals. CMMI provides a framework of practices that can help organizations to identify and address key challenges to improve performance and the bottom line. We all know work is not the way it is supposed to be—CMMI helps make it better.”

The CMMI model was developed at Carnegie Mellon’s Software Engineering Institute (SEI) through collaboration of government, industry, and academia to help the Department of Defense and its contractors like Raytheon, Northrup Grumman, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing improve their software engineering capabilities. Widely trusted as a mark of reliability, many organizations require CMMI adoption as a pre-requisite for bidding on contracts.

Thousands of companies across multiple industry sectors in 94 countries have adopted its practices to elevate performance and have been appraised for capability and maturity using CMMI methods. The CMMI product suite includes product development, service delivery, procurement, and staff management—making it a worthwhile investment for any business. Carnegie Mellon University founded the CMMI Institute in order extend the benefits of CMMI beyond software and systems engineering to any product or service company regardless of size or industry.

KK Raman, Partner Business Excellence, KPMG India says, "Carnegie Mellon is a pioneer in developing best practices and transitioning them to industry, and this is reflected in the global adoption of the CMMI. KPMG is one of the premier organizations around the world with over a decade long partnership with CMU. We help use the CMMI Institute product suite—frameworks, training, certifications, and appraisal methods—to achieve organizational goals by enhancing processes."

Extending the Benefits of CMMI

The global adoption of CMMI is supported through a vast network of partners who guide organizations in the successful adoption of the CMMI models. As part of today’s news, CMMI Institute is advancing the practice of CMMI with an online self-assessment tool as well as new professional credentials for practitioners.

  • CMMI Self-Assessment Tool: A new online tool that allows organizations to begin their journey of elevating performance as well as to diagnose their existing implementation by assessing the current state of their organization. By answering a brief set of questions, users will gain critical insights that provide an analysis of an organization’s strengths and weaknesses as well as solutions to improve the capability of their organization.
  • CMMI Associate and CMMI Professional Certification: The CMMI Institute will be offering certifications to help individuals translate their experience with CMMI into professional development opportunities. CMMI Associate and CMMI Professional Certifications will provide confirmation of an individual’s knowledge of basic and advanced concepts in CMMI and demonstrate to current and prospective employers they are dedicated to excellence and have valuable skills to help elevate organizational performance.

"As a professional who uses CMMI daily in my work, I am committed to advancing my understanding of the models and to helping my clients and my organization position themselves to successfully meet their goals. The practitioner credentials will not only provide a clear path for my growth, it will also help me to communicate and validate my skills to my clients as well as my organization," said Capri Dye of Hubbert Systems Consulting, Inc.

The CMMI Self-Assessment Tool and Practitioner Certifications will be available in early 2014.

About CMMI Institute

The CMMI Institute, a subsidiary of Carnegie Mellon University, is dedicated to elevating organizational performance through best-in-class solutions to real-world challenges. The Institute is the home of the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) for Development, Services, and Acquisition; and the People Capability Maturity Model which are process improvement models that create high-performance, high-maturity cultures. The models are used in thousands of organizations worldwide to deliver business results that serve as differentiators in the global market.

About Entinex

Entinex, Inc. is an aerospace engineering firm bringing the same skills and critical thinking used every day in aerospace to solve complex business problems. The creative, technical, and audacious characteristics of aerospace are leveraged to create elegant, inspiring, and break-through solutions to real business challenges to companies throughout the world in many fields and industries. The company’s approaches see through hairy, complex business problems with x-ray-vision-like clarity and accuracy and designs, explains and implements solutions with amazingly powerful yet easy-to-apply simplicity.

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.

The Cart Before the Horse

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

For more than the last 10 years I’ve been thinking a lot about CMMI. Many of these thoughts have been ruminating on the ideas of how to incorporate CMMI in ways that add value, demonstrate effectiveness, and don’t disrupt the operation. I’ve even opined much in this blog (in too many ways) on the need to know what your processes are before you can use CMMI to improve them, and that for many operations, CMMI isn’t even appropriate.

A few recent discussions and experiences put a particularly fine point on the extent to which CMMI is really the ‘cart before the horse’ when applied within an operation that has yet to clearly discern its process, and here’s why:

Most operations I’ve encountered are not ready to use CMMI because they are unclear on exactly how they make money.

Obviously, I’m not talking about the accounting process of billing out invoices and depositing checks. And, I’m not even talking about the voodoo around figuring out how to ensure that internal costs (salaries, equipment, etc.) are less than what they charge clients for the work they do.

So, I must be talking about something more subtle. I wish I were. And, this is what’s both frightening and sad. I’m merely talking about the relationship between capacity and demand. For that matter, I’m not even worried much about demand, which is another matter. I’m mostly talking about capacity.

What is capacity?

According to some, capacity is a measure of volume of work. Throughput, for instance. According to others, it’s the wherewithal to do the work. Either way, too many operations don’t know what their capacity is.

What does it actually take to get work done? And, along with that, can it be reasonably expected of the operation to reliably and predictably continue to run how it runs (not knowing exactly how it runs) and to have any right to greater-than-zero confidence that they will continue to run as it does?

For one thing, many operations run outside of reasonable tolerances. In particular, people put in many many hours of unpaid over-time [in the US this is common for salaried employees]. This is an “out-of-tolerance” condition. It is unreasonable to expect an operation’s greatest source of working knowledge to continue to work nights and weekends. Furthermore, it is risky to do so. One client said he couldn’t be away from the office for 5 minutes before product would stop shipping. Eventually he will get married or his wife will have a child, or, heaven-forbid, he may take vacation!

What’s worse is the extra time he and his team put in is entirely unaccounted-for. His employer merely estimates, contracts, and bills enough to cover his and the team’s salaries, not what it actually takes to get work done.

Another reason true capacity is obscured is because more work going into the operation than there’s product (or services) coming out. The most common cause of this is the misperception that work started = work completed, but this is an incomplete equation. But a better equation to work with is work worked-on = work completed. The key mistakes is the assumption that started = in-work. That’s true for maybe 50% of the actual started work (often less).

This next reason for the lack of insight into true capacity (or capability, really) is that so many operations don’t account (either in their estimates — which sort-of makes sense — or in their capture of time-spent — which is unforgivable) for the time to correct defects, time to perform rework, time for paying-down technical debt, or time and effort to tracking-down the causes of defects and rework to avoid defects, rework, and technical debt in the first place!

I’ll end with one of the toughest, most sensitive observations of the last few months. Some of my best clients (from the perspective of having their act together) have strong confidence in functional competence and, admittedly, weaker confidence in their programmatic credibility. And, to put it plainly, by “programmatic” I mean their ability to have the same confidence in the rationale for their estimates and plans as they have in their ability to produce what their clients want.

In these operations, I’ve found fundamental disconnects between how work is estimated and why clients should trust the technical competence of the operation. In other words, they build trust with their prospects and clients on their ability to do the work and build the products, but in order to get the work in the first place they have to use a lot of hand-waving and breath-holding when it comes to their estimates.

A more-or-less summary way to describe all of this is as follows:

Most operations have Built a way of working that they’ve managed to Capitalize. Over time, they’ve found that their Build*Capitalize approach is tough to Sustain. Try that they might, whether it’s CMMI or something else, they’re looking to “fix” the equation on the “Sustain” side. The problem is that CMMI *does* operate on the Sustain side, but the problems with the operation aren’t in the “Sustain”, it’s that their approach to Capitalizing on what they Built is no longer Sustainable. What needs to change is on the Build side. Occasionally, there’s a need to revisit the Capitalize component, but most often it’s the Build that needs refactoring.

Hence, applying CMMI to an operation whose “build” is broken is putting the cart before the horse. While it’s possible to build CMMI practices into the operation’s way of working, this is an activity of the “build” side of the equation, the sort I noted above contrasting from applying CMMI to the sustain side. If CMMI is to be truly about improving the processes of the operation in a “sustaining” sort of way, and not defining them, the operation must understand what’s going on, and that means it must know its capacity. Because unless it knows its capacity, it doesn’t really know what’s going on.