CMMI® to Agile: Options and Consequences


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If you long for greater agility in your process-oriented or CMMI world, this session is for you. Paul McMahon shares how organizations can integrate agile approaches with CMMI and its key process area requirements. He discusses the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches taken by two organizations-one a CMMI Level 3 and the other a Level 5-to embrace agile principles and practices. To ensure your organization doesn't jeopardize its CMMI compliance with agile methods, Paul shares an approach that uses techniques such as asking key questions to focus objectives, pruning your processes, using the CMMI less formally, and keeping your "must dos" packaged separately from guidelines. He describes and discusses examples of each technique. Learn why the two organizations took different approaches, why one achieved its goals, and why the other fell short. If your organization is invested in CMMI, learn what others have discovered about increasing organizational agility and performance while remaining CMMI compliant.

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CMMI® to Agile: Options and Consequences

  1. 1.           AW11 Concurrent Session  11/7/2012 3:45 PM                "CMMI® to Agile: Options and Consequences"       Presented by: Paul McMahon PEM Systems               Brought to you by:        340 Corporate Way, Suite 300, Orange Park, FL 32073  888‐268‐8770 ∙ 904‐278‐0524 ∙ ∙
  2. 2. Paul McMahon PEM Systems Paul E. McMahon, principal at PEM Systems (, has twenty-three years of industry experience as a software developer, team leader, and coach. For the past fifteen years, he has assisted his clients in achieving advanced CMMI certification levels as he coaches project managers, leaders, and software practitioners in industry best practices. Paul is a Certified ScrumMaster and a Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt; instructor of Software Engineering at Binghamton University; and author of more than forty articles and two books including Integrating CMMI and Agile Development: Case Studies and Proven Techniques for Faster Performance Improvement. You can reach Paul at  
  3. 3. CMMI To Agile: Options and Consequences Paul E. McMahon CMMI & Agile at Odds? CMMI Agile CMMI – Capability Maturity Model p y y Integration Not theory, based on actual client case studies… Copyright PEM Systems 2011-2012 2 1
  4. 4. What You Will Learn CMMI/Agile integration theory and why it should be easy, but why in practice often more difficult Case Study 1 (LACM) • 4 techniques increase agility CMMI Level 3 organization Case Study 2 (RAVE) • Different technique increase agility Level 5 organization Practical guidance to help you move your own Agile CMMI integration forward Copyright PEM Systems 2011-2012 3 Case Studies discussed described in greater detail in book. Copyright PEM Systems 2011-2012 4 2
  5. 5. Fundamental Guidance (the theory) Not dictated practices CMMI is improvement reference model intended to help you ask the right questions leading to best decisions for your organization Example questions Lean = eliminate waste Agile provides potential “how-to” options ti CMMI is about “What” must do Agile techniques provide potential “How-to” options Copyright PEM Systems 2011-2012 5 Case Study 1 Background: LACM LACM successful high tech organization Focus on U.S. defense market 2007- Over 50 active projects; Only 2 any difficulty CMM Level 3 many years ago; 2008 CMMI Level 3 2008 CMMI motivation: •Vice-President (VP) understood could use CMMI to address changing customer needs •He knew his organization needed to change improving performance and increasing agility in key areas Where do we start? Copyright PEM Systems 2011-2012 6 3
  6. 6. Where Start To Improve Performance and Increase Agility When Using CMMI? LACM one of best approaches observed… pp “Why are our customers coming back to us now over the competition?” “What is the unique value this organization brings to its customers?” Technique 1 Copyright PEM Systems 2011-2012 7 Technique 1: Start by Asking Key Questions to Focus Objectives All CMMI Expected Practices… Common “non-lean & non-agile” non lean non agile approach Recommended start point Establish specific objectives Help you focus improvement efforts where need help the most Copyright PEM Systems 2011-2012 Measurement Example 8 4
  7. 7. What Data Should You Collect? Non-agile approach --collect data related to each process area and figure out later how might use The “agile/lean approach” …ask following questions first… “Who will use data if collect it?” “How does data relate to objectives?” Makes sense if already using CMMI and looking to improve, or just starting out with CMMI effort Why involve workers? Copyright PEM Systems 2011-2012 9 Why Involve Your Workers? Led to realizations… Product reuse Employee turn over turn-over Encouraged open forum discussions... Company did have training program, but training & processes not aligned with real issues faced on job Led to Technique 2 Copyright PEM Systems 2011-2012 10 5
  8. 8. Technique 2: Pruning the Processes Built flow diagrams of what people really did to get their job done Anything not on flow became candidate for elimination More questions Pruning led to streamlined processes & improved training If no one used, why there? Wasting time training? If used, would it help? Example Copyright PEM Systems 2011-2012 11 Pruning Example: Peer Review Process Great deal of data collected about each defect Periodic analysis of the collected data Flow diagrams showed people entered data, but no one analyzed it Further investigation showed requirements for data had been added to process because p someone wrongly thought CMMI required it Pruning led to more effective peer review process & improved performance! Onerous review process had discouraged comments Copyright PEM Systems 2011-2012 12 6
  9. 9. Insight Historical tendency: Read things into CMMI model that aren’t there Creates unnecessary non-value-added work By using CMMI as intended, can improve your CMMI implementation and increase agility and performance at the same time How did LACM do this? Why not more? Copyright PEM Systems 2011-2012 13 Technique 3: Use CMMI Model Less Formally LACM used the CMMI model first to: Help discover where needed improvements to help performance Then prioritized work and focused on those value added improvements Applied A li d CMMI with agile spirit Lesson: When process improvement teams face pressure to achieve a formal CMMI level and aren’t given adequate time to work real issues, real performance improvements are rarely achieved 2nd – What pruning takes Copyright PEM Systems 2011-2012 14 7
  10. 10. What Pruning Really Requires People in trenches who really understand how job done Often these people in the trenches are the best performers & the busiest people in the company If experiencing similar symptoms as LACM, consider allocating percentage of time of key people to this effort Small investment in pruning might pay high dividends in long run Alternative: Build relationships with technical experts looking for measurable improvement opportunities Key question Copyright PEM Systems 2011-2012 15 A Key Question How Do We Ensure We Aren’t Jeopardizing Our CMMI Compliance? Copyright PEM Systems 2011-2012 16 8
  11. 11. Understanding What CMMI Expects of Your Process Repository Some wrongly believe the CMMI requires a “heavyweight” process repository superstructure LACM is large and product centric LACM mandates tools, and standards LACM has some detailed work instructions BOND is small and service centric BOND mandates few tools few standards tools, BOND has no detailed work instructions Process repository structure depends on your business need Example Copyright PEM Systems 2011-2012 17 Process Repository Structures Traditional (LACM like structure) Agile (BOND like structure) Policies Processes/ Practices Policies/ Processes Work Instructions/ Procedures How-to Guides/ Tailoring Aids Enablers/ Templates **Achieves intent Different Repository Structures, Both CMMI “Compliant” ** CMMI doesn’t mandate repository structure However, if want Agile & CMMI too Copyright PEM Systems 2011-2012 18 9
  12. 12. Technique 4: Keep “must dos” packaged separately from “guidelines” Keep must dos: •Lean (minimums) •Focused on “what” •Fundamentals Tailor Up from the “must dos” Policies/ Processes “Must dos” No one tailors How-to Guides/ Tailoring Aids Aids tailoring Copyright PEM Systems 2011-2012 19 Questions or Comments? How many have used the CMMI model this way? d l thi ? Why don’t more organizations do this? Next Case Study may shed light… Copyright PEM Systems 2011-2012 20 10
  13. 13. Case Study 2 Background: RAVE RAVE Large CMMI Level 5 Organization Focus on U.S. defense market 2005 recognized “stealth agile” movement CMMI Level 5 processes didn’t recognize Different approach to agility: •Did not modify existing tailoring down CMMI processes •Handle agile through their normal tailoring approach & “agile developers guide” Copyright PEM Systems 2011-2012 21 Group Discussion What do you see as the advantages & disadvantages to each approach? LACM: LACM RAVE: Ask key questions Prune processes Use CMMI less formally Keep must-dos separate Tailor up Developers Guide Tailor down Group shares views Then I share my views… Copyright PEM Systems 2011-2012 22 11
  14. 14. Technique 5: Consider Developer’s Guide to Aid Agility Advantages No risk to proven level 5 processes • (advantage if working well) Doesn’t require critical personnel in “trenches” Disadvantages If hearing: • “processes don’t help” • “create work without value” …then this approach won’t help …also may result in redundant efforts • E.g. product reviews, Note: Consider right answer for you progress reporting could be combination of LACM & …or may result in loss of key RAVE approach “must dos” when tailor Next deeper… Less cost, less retraining Copyright PEM Systems 2011-2012 23 Many Now Realize CMMI & Agile Can Coexist CMMI Agile But to what Level? 3, 4, 5? Quantitative? Continuous Improvement? Copyright PEM Systems 2011-2012 24 12
  15. 15. More Information on Two Case Studies LACM, Level 3, used selective Level 4 & 5 practices (QPM, CAR) informally to achieve performance goals Specific problem getting hardware ordered/installed on time Succeeded Project team derived specific measures, isolated root cause, & implemented corrective action Agile spirit applied at Level 4 RAVE, Level 5, used Agile Developer s Developer’s guide and tailor down approach, fell short of goals Why? QPM – Quantitative Project Management CAR – Causal Analysis and Resolution Copyright PEM Systems 2011-2012 25 RAVE Wanted To Keep Improving Funded Lean Six Sigma Team Created Agile Developer’s Guide But did so because did not want to change Level 5 formal processes out of fear Misperception that level 5 means perfect so can’t change This is exactly backwards from intent of level 5 Is RAVE unique? Copyright PEM Systems 2011-2012 26 13
  16. 16. What Is Happening Too Often Today “At this point, of the many organizations that have been evaluated at CMMI Level 5, too many have essentially stopped , y y pp working on improvement. Their objective was to get to level 5 and they are there, so why should they keep improving? This is both an unfortunate and an unacceptable attitude... it is unacceptable because the essence of level 5 is From page 7 continuous improvement.” “CMMI for Development” Version 1.3 Copyright PEM Systems 2011-2012 27 Attaining Level 5 Doesn’t Mean We Don’t Need to Keep Improving Agile practices can not only coexist with CMMI Level 5 they th can f ilit t facilitate continuous improvement Example: Sprint retrospective Actionable improvements Can help achieve intent of QPM/CAR Will an agile approach provide all you need for CMMI Level 5? No But it can help achieve intent; Real performance improvement Copyright PEM Systems 2011-2012 28 14
  17. 17. Guidance to Help You Move Your Own Agile CMMI Integration Forward If you are an agile expert, learn about the CMMI and talk to the CMMI people in your organization explaining how these initiatives can work together If you are a CMMI expert, learn about the latest changes in the CMMI V1.3 and learn about the agile options that can help your organization If you are a manager seek to understand the forces holding back your Agile CMMI integration and combat misperceptions Even if you can’t fully employ the techniques LACM used, consider building relationships with technical experts looking for measurable improvement opportunities (small changes help) CMMI and Agile proponents should recognize both striving for common goals and can help each other Copyright PEM Systems 2011-2012 29 Ch hange Is Never Easy y Lessons Beyond CMMI: Relevant to any High Process Compliance Situation Transparency (daily standup meetings) Architect, Architect Requirements Analyst, Test Collaborating Product Owner Role (grooming product backlog, working stakeholders to attend key demonstrations) Project Manager role changes to “hybrid hybrid ScrumMaster” (style issues) Functional Managers focus more on career growth of people Waterfall Backlog driven /Iterative Mega-l Project Committed to change None counter to CMMI Copyright PEM Systems 2011-2012 30 15
  18. 18. Summary of Misperceptions To Seek Out and Combat! The CMMI is a set of dictated practices You need to collect data related to every CMMI process area The CMMI should only be used for formal appraisals The CMMI requires a heavyweight process repository superstructure You need distinct processes for each process area in the CMMI model CMMI maturity level 5 means you are perfect and you don’t need to keep improving Copyright PEM Systems 2011-2012 31 Questions and Contact Information Questions??? Contact Information Copyright PEM Systems 2011-2012 32 16