A kick in the right direction 
Friday, October 12, 2007, 11:28 PM - CMMI, CMMI Implementation
I am just back from Moldova where we conducted the initial meetings of the Moldovian IT Mark program of ESI Center Bulgaria. The IT Mark service is an interesting program that helps small companies get on the road of process improvement.

Chisinau is a nice city with strong European flavor. I have been able to take some pictures you can see themby clicking on the link below. If you happen to go to Moldova do try their wine it is like no other and is quite cheap.


Click here to go to Picasa…


I will try to drop few lines about IT Mark later when I have some spare time.

Meanwhile you can look as well at my pics from Yerevan Armenia where I lead an Intro to CMMI training in June 2007.

Yerevan


Also note there will be an Introduction to CMMI training in Sofia, Bulgaria at the end of this monnth or early in November. Please contact ESI Center Bulgaria to get more info and sign up.

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Endless projects? 
Tuesday, May 1, 2007, 11:07 PM - CMMI, CMMI Implementation, Introduction to CMMI course
A series of small projects or an endless project is a dilemma for all people implementing CMMI practices in environment that operates a support team that performs series of small fixes and enhancements. Over the last one week I participated on two separate occasions in discussions how CMMI is to be applied in such environments, so here is my view on the topic and links to relevant information.

Firstly the current version of CMMI is called CMMI-DEV i.e. it is designed to address development organizations primarily while leaving an option of interpretation for service environments. There is going to be a separate CMMI-SVC constellation(edition) of CMMI to be announced in 2007 that will be written specifically with the service organizations problems in mind. Thus should one be impatient to implement CMMI or if the service business is only a fraction of the overall business some interpretation of CMMI-DEV will be needed.

An excellent place to start is the guideline for interpreting CMMI 1.1 in service environments released by SEI in 2005:

http://www.sei.cmu.edu/pub/documents/03 ... 3tn005.pdf

It gives mapping/interpretation of CMMI practices in the context of service organization. One particular area of interest is how one defines a project in support environment.

CMMI-DEV v1.2 brought additional ease in interpretation by taking special attention during design and development of the model for expanding the model coverage. Most changes in this regard are in the informative material and provide notes and examples for usage of practices in service and hardware organizations. There is however one change in the glossary that is of significant importance to this subject.

Prior to v1.2 CMMI has adopted PMI alike definition of project i.e. a group of resources directed towards a common goal with a definite beginning and an end. This came to a change in v1.2 now a project in required to have a start point but is not required to end/finish. This small change allows now organization operating support team to maintain a single plan for maintenance that has many small phases estimated separately.

This all seemed crystal clear to me until a recent discussion on the CMMI Process Improvement Yahoo group. It turned out the first three prints of the CMMI book were flawed and provided wrong definitions of key terms like project, service and project startup. Namely a project was mandated to have a completion –thus the view of implementation in service organizations required an artificial and totally redundant break up of activities in service organization into time limited slots of say one year. This has caused confusion amongst many professionals. A special notice about the errors in the first three prints can be found in the CMMI book errata page maintained by AW professional web site:

http://www.awprofessional.com/content/i ... 182007.pdf

To complete our discussion here are few important points hen you do support for a client organization:

1. CMMI-DEV v1.2 is friendly towards service environments. Few examples are the definitions of terms in the glossary: Project in the glossary is defined as something that has a start and operates according to plan. There is NO requirement for end or completion unlike PMBOK. Thus project can be the overall setup for delivery of products/services. Product in the glossary covers both tangible products and services. Quote "In the CMMI Product Suite, a service is a product that is intangible and non-storable. (See also “product,” “customer,” and “work product.”)". This makes life easier in defining what the support project produces. This makes me believe you can implement CMMI-DEV practices in an environment that does small support tasks within the context of a larger contract.

2. CMMI does not prescribe life cycle i.e. you decide what phases you will have in servicing a request. There could be guideline as to what is required for different types of requests i.e. what phases. Ultimately there is sense in each practice in the CMMI model and your processes should cover all of them to be appraised. It is the business need that should drive the definition of the exact details of the preformed activities and their scheduling.

3. There is one critical distinction when talking about outsourcing - who owns the processes. If it is the client organization then they ought to go for appraisal and what the supplier does is personnel leasing i.e. supplier ought to enhance upon its people management capabilities, not CMMI, may be People CMM. If it is the service organization that owns the process then it should work on improving processes using CMMI practices.

Last but not least I just received an e-mail from SEI to confirm the successful completion of my instructor for Introduction to CMMI training. I am waiting to see my name on the list published on http://partner-directory.sei.cmu.edu/

Cheers and all the best!

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In the press... 
Thursday, November 10, 2005, 12:22 PM - CMMI, CMMI Implementation, CMMI Publications, Personal
I have recently decided to help make CMMI more popular in the industry here in Bulgaria. Most people have heard about processes, CMMI and things alike, but I think the culture is not here, yet.

I spoke to the editors of couple local publications to write some materials on CMMI, process improvement, PSP and related.

… and I got the first result.

Next Monday I am going to have my first article printed in InfoWeek, titled "About the benefits of implementing CMMI". The article is in Bulgarian, so it may not be easy for all web visitors to read. In summary it presents the challenges that many of the software organizations face like changing requirements, attrition… Then briefly explains what CMMI is and how it benefits software organizations. Finally I present an implementation approach based on SEI's studies on CMMI in small settings and the book "Making Process Improvement Work". The main points of the approach are:

1. Use continuous model to address the most acute pains and assure quick ROI. Use Capability Level 1 to remove immediate risks.

2. Rely on ISO 9001 for initial institutionalization, this will reduce cost and keep focus on the problems at hand

3. Focus on deployment and process adoption form the start, do not wait to have the perfect set of processes and then attempt to change people around them

4. Focus on measurement of business results, plan implementation and CMMI implementation progress

I hope the article will sparkle interest in the broader audience about CMMI. Up to now the awareness and will to adopt CMMI practices in Bulgaria had been primarily in software outsourcing companies, mainly due to external push for more mature process. However my recent observations show that most of the companies in Bulgaria employ least to say immature processes and often deliver poor results because of this. This is why my article focuses on result oriented CMMI implementation.

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SCAMPI Links 
Sunday, October 16, 2005, 10:00 AM - CMMI, CMMI Implementation, CMMI Publications
I did some reading on the SCAMPI family of methods lately. After all this is the climax of the SPI program, the points where you see what has been done and what lays ahead.

Unfortunately the materials available on the subject are not lots and are bit tough to discover. A lot of the material is only available to Lead Appraisers in the “toolkit” they receive, including the definitions of the SCAMPI B & C Methods.

I have found a number of links to interesting materials that can come handy to others trying to learn more on SCAMPI:

Appraisal Requirements for CMMI, Version 1.1 (ARC, V1.1) official document that describes the requirements for a method used in CMMI appraisal.

Standard CMMI® Appraisal Method for Process Improvement (SCAMPI), Version 1.1: Method Definition Document This is an official book on SCAMPI, it describes in detail the SCAMPI A method for appraisal. The first chapters of the book are targeted at mortals who are about the encounter one of the Lead Appraisers. Theses first chapters give overview of the process, the resource requirements, outputs etc.. I started reading it is nice, except that it uses the strange CMMI-ish language that requires translation to English.

SCAMPI B&C tutorial A presentation on the SCAMPI family of methods, contains lots of info in an easy to read presentation form

Project Selection for SCAMPI A This presentation gives some ideas about defining organizational scope and selecting projects.

PIID-SCAMPI-Tool A set of Excel files developed by Dr. Kneuper (see site) that can be used for summarizing and tracking information and results during an appraisal. The spreadsheets contain useful model and appraisal information like typical direct artifacts for all practices. The version of the tool available includes all PAs from maturity level 2 and 3 including IPPD and SS. Dr. Kneuper points that his tool resembles the one offered to lead appraisers by SEI. Thus we mortals again can take peek into the realm of the appraiser.

CMMI® SCAMPI Distilled: Appraisals for Process Improvement This is the book by Addison-Wesley and SEI on SCAMPI.

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SPIN-BG Meeting, a good day for CMMI in Bulgaria :) 
Thursday, October 6, 2005, 10:02 PM - CMMI, CMMI Implementation, CMMI Publications, Personal
We had a meeting of spin-bg group. I had prepared a presentation on

1. "Intermediate Concepts of CMMI" course
2. CMMI Continuous Representation
3. The future of CMMI

The meeting was really good. Probably the first really interactive meeting that got people talking and sharing experience.

This I think started with our previous meeting where we had a guest lecturer. As one guy put it people start to feel comfortable sharing ideas and experiences and this is going to help the industry I hope.

There were also some good initiatives to share experiences on tool evaluation and implementation of certain practices.

I hope this spirit is not going to die out and bigger part of the industry is going to look at improvement, They really need to there are still companies around that do not even use simple source control

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