Archive for the ‘Jeff Dalton’ Category

SEPG North America – Day 2

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Sorry, folks, no fun (or not-so-fun as you may prefer) video today.  Not even any pictures I took at SEPG.  In fact, as far as today went, I don’t have much to report from the sessions.

Again, I missed the plenary session.  This time on account of a phone meeting with a client in another time zone.  So, my first session to attend was the other of my two collaborative efforts with Judah Mogilensky on SCAMPI Evidence from Agile Projects. As anything with Judah in it, it went rather nicely.  Many generous bits of feedback.  I felt really good about my role, and Judah was his usual incomparable self.

My friend and colleague, Eileen Forrester of the SEI was kind enough to give me some supremely powerful feedback.  I am, and will be, grateful for it.  I was then roped into shop talk about CMMI for Services in advance of the 2nd half of the orientation workshop I’m helping her with.  Thus, my missing out on my buddy, Jeff Dalton’s, excellent (so I’m told from many reports) job with Encapsulated Process Objects.

One point made to me later by another of the few “agile-friendly” lead appraisers, Neil Potter, about a bit of content in the presentation does require some follow-up.  In the presentation we short-cutted the details on a discussion regarding the potential design aspects of test-driven development with an engineering design.  I should say that TDD is NOT the same as a design, but that depending on how TDD is planned and performed, it can include design-like attributes which could accomplish design expectations in the engineering process areas of CMMI-DEV.  So don’t anyone out there go around blabbing some “Hillel said TDD is Design!” crap.  Mm’K?

After lunch, my job was to keep people from falling asleep with a session on Love and Marriage: CMMI and Agile Need Each Other.  From the response, I think it went went rather well.  I, personally, was quite pleased with how it came off from a “talk per slide” metric.  A good friend, Tami Zemel, later admitted that she “takes back” her earlier criticism of Monday’s presentation.  She said it had too many words and didn’t believe me when I told her why.  She complemented not only the picture-centricity of today’s pitch but also the delivery, style, and content.  That was very generous, thank you.

From then to the end of the day, I spent scheming, strategizing, shmoozing, and networking with too many people to mention.  (No offense.)  A client who came to the conference (who never holds back and only inflates the truth when it’s funny to do so) got very serious when a prospect I’d recently met off-the-cuff asked whether he’d recommend me.  I won’t repeat his answer because it really was just crazy nice.  Today’s interesting photo is in his honor.  (And also because my boys love transportation.)

The last “session” was a Peer 2 Peer double-header on the topic I mentioned on Monday which I co-created with Michele Moss.  She and I are also on the SEPG Conference Program Committee.  We used the feedback and other data from the Peer 2 Peer as input to a retrospective on this year’s conference, which will be used for strategies for next year’s conference in Portland, OR.

You can also read an entry I gave to the SEI for their official blog about my impressions of this year’s conference-goers.

Dinner conversation back at the hotel with Michele was back on the subject of our Peer 2 Peer session.  Net result: We single-handedly wrote the 1-3-5 year plan for all SEPG’s.  Or at least we think so.  ;-)

SEPG North America – Tutorial Day

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

So today started out with a bus ride from the hotel to the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center rather than the expected ferry ride over the river.  A container ship in the port managed to get damaged and leaked fuel into the Savannah River on Sunday immediately closing the river to non-clean-up traffic, including the otherwise convenient cross-river ferry.

Be that as it may, the bus ride gave me an opportunity to connect with Michele Moss from Booz-Allen, Hamilton.  A kindred spirit in things related to "the future of process".  She and I had plans to meet anyway some time today to discuss ideas about "bringing ‘younger people’ into the field" and a related topic, addressing modern-day issues such as cyber, agile and value as these concerns are manifested in processes and process improvement.

First order of the day after registration was to co-create what I perceived as a rather successful (and well-attended) tutorial with Judah Mogilensky on a tailoring for SCAMPI appraisals that increases efficiency, collaboration, and reduces time and cost, we called "One-Stop Shopping".  Immediately following, Michele and I met with Bob Rosenstein, the events and conferences manager at SEI.  David Anderson, just arriving to the venue, was a very beneficial addition to the discussion, conveying his experience with creating communities and conferences specific to a community such as his LSSCDana Hanzlik and Danny Pipitone from SEI’s PR group also sat in on the conversation.  About the only definitive expectation to come out of this meeting (other than our commitment to come to the retrospective with with data from the Peer-to-Peer), was that SEI will be open to more closely tying into other gatherings.  Not bad since we had no expectations going in, and, even if we had, it wouldn’t have been reasonable to have expected any commitments.

Much came up in just under an hour with Bob.  We’re planning to include bits of this topic in our end-of-conference committee retrospective on Thursday.  Part of what will feed into that retrospective will be a Peer-to-Peer session on Wednesday afternoon that Michele and I will be co-creating and was planned with David’s help.  Our Peer-to-Peer is being billed as, "Where do we go from here? Value, Agile, Cyber, and all things Future Processes."

The mind-map of the problem-space was really intriguing.  This will not be an easy matter.

After a conference lunch with David and Michele, we split up and I attended the invitation-only advanced overview of the changes to "high maturity" to CMMI v1.3.  Good stuff, really.  Way too geek for here.

After getting as much as I cared to get from the high maturity campfire (which coincided with the moment I sensed my lunch moved far enough down my digestive tract to make room (literally) for a run) I decided to go back to my hotel to squeeze a run in before the evening gorge-fest that includes the opening of the trade-show floor, a board meeting, and later, a surprise opportunity to attend a special reception, all of which were to include food (and in order of continually improving quality at that).

Before I could get back across the river, I nabbed an opportunity to comment on a frequent occurrence here, on the Savannah River:

Several lovely hours later of socializing (albeit, mostly work-related) I’m back at the room planning my day ahead.

Field notes from SEPG-NA 2009 – Tuesday

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

San Jose, CA. Day started (for me) @ 4:45am PDT (which my body believed to be 7:45am) with a work out, some email and chat, quick breakfast, and a teleconference with a prospective client. I arrived to the conference hall just as Dr. Paul Nielsen, CEO of SEI was introducing the first keynote, Scott Cook co-founder of Intuit Inc. (now chairman of the company’s Executive Committee of the Board).

Intuit Impressive start-up story, but more impressive is their use and integration of TSP and Agile (Scrum).

He also told the old story about Chevrolet and Toyota in which Toyota ran a Chevrolet factory in this area using their production system keeping Chevrolet’s UAW employees. Resulting in turning the worst plant in the company into the best Chevy plant in the entire company. Anyway, he probably spent too much time on that story. Unfortunately, too many people in these circles aren’t professionals in process improvement to know that story — which is now part of the process improvement lore.

Though he summarized TPS in an interesting way, saying that it’s a process for rapid experimentation. I can see how he’d come to that conclusion considering the emphasis with TPS on Kaizen. He also spoke about the lack of process improvement in businesses who would desperately need it, like hospitals today in the USA. (I should note that UPMC is an exception in leading the way. Get with it everyone else!)

EMC-400 Jim Bampos, VP of Quality at EMC spoke as the next keynote. Turns out he was a toy tester for Milton Bradley when he was in kindergarten. Spoke about leveraging processes and process improvement to facilitate their Total Customer Experience (“TCE”) program. The way I’d say the same thing — to my clients, not to correct Jim — is that it’s necessary to connect process effort to business values and goals. Nice. Jim was up-front that they have no interest in CMMI appraisals, and he didn’t know the CMMI appraisal lingo, which made the sincerity of their effort that much more obvious. He mentioned that after several months of process improvement effort and measurement, that despite having great data, it still didn’t connect to their “TCE”. Very poignant!

Very refreshing keynote in that he was brutally honest about quality and findings of their investigation into what drives customer experience and loyalty. They take process so seriously that they tie improvement to metrics, goals and bonuses…. FROM THE CEO on down! NOT process compliance or some crap like that, but their actual demonstrable process performance measures tied to money as a function of whether it supports their corporate goals — which are laser-focused on customer experience. EMC is looking to implement all three CMMI constellations. For good measure, he spoke about the fact that they’re using agile practices all over the place.

Who’s “pushing” them to do all this? NO ONE OTHER than themselves. Almost makes me want to work there. Almost.

In all, really great keynotes. Each SEPG conference should be so lucky.

Next up: CMMI or Agile: Why Not Embrace Both! Being led by Mike Konrad. Jeff Dalton, David and I joined Mike on stage. We stood because there weren’t enough seats for the audience and the union wouldn’t allow us to bring any more seats into the room due to capacity concerns. (In fact, a guy stood outside the room to prevent people from coming in. One such person blocked out was Alistair Cockburn, whom I went out to drag in despite the protests of the bouncer dude.) Mike reprised a presentation he’d done elsewhere summarizing the main points of our paper and adding some new material making a case for process discipline in a couple of engineering-related process areas of interest. The slide, here, is an idea David and I intend to “borrow” from, depicting, manifesto style, concepts we value from CMMI compared to other concepts possible from CMMI we value less.

Last for me for the day was an interesting perspective on CMMI and Innovation. Presenters’ positions are that CMM started as something that would help organizations take revolutionary steps in innovative improvements as well as evolutionary steps and that while the model innovation-400still can support this, use of the model has been far from it. In addition, they discussed innovation as a process and then how CMMI could be enhanced, supplemented, or even “constellationed” into being more proactively in support of innovation. The speakers were very passionate about innovation. Props for that. Need more of it. They also posited that “maturity levels” for organizations using such a model would be superfluous and that what would matter most to anyone pursuing innovation would be business results. While I wholeheartedly endorse the idea of innovation as a pursuit to which processes can be applied, I was left wondering why *must* it be a CMMI? Maybe I’ll be able to tag-up with one of the presenters to ask before week’s out.