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What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger: My Process Improvement Lessons Learned [CMMI Focused]


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A countdown of my Top 10 process improvement lessons learned, featuring a brief anecdote about each.

First delivered at the NDIA CMMI Technology Conference in Denver, November 2010. WINNER: Outstanding Presentation, CMMI and Process Improvement Track []

Published in: Business
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What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger: My Process Improvement Lessons Learned [CMMI Focused]

  1. 1. SEPG North America 2012Albuquerque, New Mexico USAWhat Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger:My Process ImprovementLessons Learned3/9/2012 Bill Smith, CEO Leading Edge Process Consultants LLC
  2. 2. All slides contained in this presentation are Copyright 2012 by LeadingEdge Process Consultants LLC – even though I left our logo andcopyright information off the individual slides to give them a “cleaner”look. So, what does this mean? Please dont copy, modify, or otherwiseuse any of these slides without my written permission.Plus, the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) would like you to know thatCMM Integration℠, IDEAL℠, SCAMPI℠, SCAMPI Lead Appraiser℠, andSEPG℠ and are all service marks of Carnegie Mellon University. There’smore. Capability Maturity Model® and CMMI® are registered in the U.S.Patent and Trademark Office by Carnegie Mellon University.Sorry, but my lawyer made me add all this stuff, and he only speakslegalese. I promise the rest of your time with me will be a bit moreinteresting. Thank you for your patience. Bill
  3. 3. I’ve beeninvolved inimprovementinitiativesdating all theway back to… …when I used a comb!
  4. 4. One theme hasemerged…
  5. 5. “Out of life’s school of war: What does not destroy me, makes me stronger.” Friedrich Nietzsche, 1889. Often paraphrased as “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
  6. 6. Or to put a more modern,less depressing spin on it…
  7. 7. “Next time you feel likeIt’s just one of those daysWhen you just can’t seem to winIf things don’t turn out the way you plannedFigure something else outDon’t stay down, try again, yeah…Everybody makes mistakes,Everybody has those days…Nobody’s perfect!”“Hannah Montana aka Miley Cyrus on the stage of Hannah Montana Tour,” Author: Hannah MontanaMike Schmid from Hollywood CA. Photo in public domain, used here under thefollowing license: “Nobody’s Perfect” 2007
  8. 8. So that you can avoidsome of the mistakes I’ve seenand sometimes even made…
  9. 9. I submit to you my…
  10. 10. # 10
  11. 11. ML 1, new to measurementTheir new consultant…first SEPG meeting …
  12. 12. SEPG memberproposes 8 newmeasures… …for REQM!
  13. 13. Everyone …except one guyagrees… (a PM)
  14. 14. Votecalled, measures“adopted”
  15. 15. • 6 months trying to collect measures• All but 2 eventually abandoned• Frustration, wasted time / money
  16. 16. # 10 Lesson 10 Don’t Ignore the Naysayers;See also: “Conflictjump-starts thecreative process,”Ikujiro Nonaka They May Be Right
  17. 17. #9
  18. 18. Tech lead, 8-person developmentteamStarted code reviews, everyone’sOK except…
  19. 19. One guy alwayspushes back.Until 1 day…
  20. 20. He sits quietlythru a review ofhis codeA good sign (?)
  21. 21. Afterwards, herepeatedlypounds arefrigeratoragainst the wallin frustration!
  22. 22. He eventuallyleaves thecompany(presumablytaking a job inan organizationwhere theydon’t do codereviews)
  23. 23. #9You May Lose People… and That’s Okay
  24. 24. #8
  25. 25. Assorted, varying degrees of guiltA (youthful) software developer
  26. 26. I’m handed someimpressivebinders
  27. 27. I’ll look at them“when I havetime”
  28. 28. I keep doingwhat I was doing
  29. 29. • I’m not trained• Nobody cares• “Has anyone tried these?”• My bookshelf sags• How much money was wasted?
  30. 30. #8“And Then See also: “Train, train, train,” Watts Humphrey a Miracle …Is Not aHappens”… Deployment Plan
  31. 31. #7
  32. 32. (The less said, the better)(I plead “the Fifth”)
  33. 33. Organization“must becompliant – now”
  34. 34. Develop, deploy process descriptions absurdly fast
  35. 35. Leading to an appraisal
  36. 36. • Successful ML 3• Several months later: “not doing that CMMI® stuff”• Back to business as usual (Until the next appraisal?)
  37. 37. #7ProcessImprovementand ComplianceAre NotSynonymousSee also: “Cynicism and dysfunction both beginwhen managers start saying one thing andthinking another,” Roger Martin
  38. 38. #6
  39. 39. ML1, striving for ML 3Their consultant
  40. 40. One PM hasteam meetings…every…single…day!
  41. 41. I’m glad I don’twork for him!
  42. 42. I learn more…
  43. 43. • His project delivers software on-time• His customer & team love him• He’s using an agile method• Overkill? No. Potential best practice? Yes!
  44. 44. #6 Keep an Open Mind See also: “Keep an open mind and a level head,” Watts Humphrey
  45. 45. #5
  46. 46. Small, 6-week-old IV&V teamTheir new team lead
  47. 47. Team memberworking on“IV&V database”
  48. 48. Databaseconstantlybeingredesigned!
  49. 49. I pull the plug onthe database
  50. 50. • We focus on actually doing IV&V!•A spreadsheet, su its us fine
  51. 51. #5 Walk Before You Run See also: “Improvements should be made in small, tested steps,” Watts Humphrey
  52. 52. #4
  53. 53. Small consulting company, getting“better”Quality Manager, little funding for PI
  54. 54. I form a ProcessGroup
  55. 55. We spend weeksdeveloping our“process fordeveloping aprocess”
  56. 56. It rocks!
  57. 57. • “Billability” pressures torpedo the effort• Assets never actually helped the business• Time, money wasted
  58. 58. #4 Avoid a One-Size-Fits-All ImprovementSee also: “You have choices in your improvementapproach,” Suzanne Garcia, Richard Turner Approach
  59. 59. #3
  60. 60. See also: Lesson 2 New 80-person software development organization New QA Manager
  61. 61. My team beginsauditing
  62. 62. No projects arefollowing theprocess!
  63. 63. We ask “Why?”
  64. 64. • Developers are not undisciplined or lazy• The organization’s processes are bad!
  65. 65. #3 See also: “To identify actions that address a defect or problem, you need to understand its root causes,” CMMI-DEV v1.3 (CAR)
  66. 66. #2
  67. 67. See also: Lesson 3 New 80-person software development organization New QA Manager
  68. 68. Going back toLesson 2:Why were “bad”processesdeveloped?
  69. 69. They had formeda process “tigerteam”
  70. 70. …that includednobody thatwould be usingthe processes!
  71. 71. • Processes were unusable!• Organization eventually lost the contract due to poor performance
  72. 72. #2See also:“Ultimately, everyone mustbe involved,” WattsHumphrey
  73. 73. #1
  74. 74. Small company moving towards ML 3Their consultant
  75. 75. PI effort waybehind schedule
  76. 76. We draw afishbonediagram, identifyrootcauses, implement solutions
  77. 77. Solutions involvetreating PI like aproject
  78. 78. • We rigorously estimate process development time• We develop a detailed schedule• We track actual progress in detail• Successful ML3 appraisal – on time!
  79. 79. #1 Make Process Improvement aSee also: “Unplanned processimprovement is wishful thinking,” WattsHumphrey Project
  80. 80. Summary
  81. 81. 10. Don’t Ignore the Naysayers; They May Be Right9. You May Lose People… and That’s Okay8. “And Then a Miracle Happens” Is Not a Deployment Plan7. Process Improvement and Compliance Are Not Synonymous6. Keep an Open Mind
  82. 82. References• Smith, Bill. My life (Pittsburgh PA metro area, Washington DC metro area, et al: 1961 to date).• Chrissis, Mary Beth, et al. CMMI® Third Edition: Guidelines for Process Integration and Product Improvement. (Boston: Addison-Wesley, 2010).• Garcia, Suzanne, and Turner, Richard. CMMI® Survival Guide: Just Enough Process Improvement. (Boston: Addison-Wesley, 2007).• Gerrard, Matthew, and Nevil, Robbie. “Nobody’s Perfect” (song). (Walt Disney: 2007). (Popularized by Miley Cyrus as “Hannah Montana.”)• Humphrey, Watts S. Managing the Software Process. (New York: Addison-Wesley, 1990).• Martin, Roger. “Changing the Mind of the Corporation,” Harvard Business Review, November-December 1993.• Nietzsche, Friedrich. Twilight of the Idols, or, How to Philosophize with a Hammer, 1889.• Nonaka, Ikujiro. “The Knowledge-Creating Company,” Harvard Business Review, November-December 1991.• Senge, Peter, et al. The Dance of Change: The Challenges to Sustaining Momentum in Learning Organizations. (New York: Doubleday 1999).
  83. 83. For More Information Appraisals Training Mary Segnit Bill Smith Coaching & Consulting