Thursday, December 22, 2005, 04:00 PM - CMMI, CMMI Publications, Personal
My second article on CMMI is out in the IDG's CIO magazine. The article presents brief overview of the CMMI model and its two representations. It is not as technical as the article in InfoWeek, it basically presents the material from the first couple of chapters from the model.

The goal of the article is to introduce IT managers to the model and make them brake away form the level 1 to 5 mentality brought from CMM.

Here you can find scan of the article in Bulgarian.
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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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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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Completed - Intermediate Concepts of CMMI 
Monday, September 19, 2005, 03:27 PM - CMMI, CMMI Publications, Intermediate Concepts, Personal
Finally, it is over and even better I passed the Intermediate Concepts of CMMI training with excellent rating.

I must say it is one of the most interesting learning exercises I have ever had. It basically converts the static built up CMMI knowledge from the Intro course and self study into a clear, lively and vivid picture of a better way of making software. I think it can be best compared to the difference of looking at house blueprints and taking tour of a constructed building.

The course it self takes five days. The first day covers the CMMI model concepts – capability levels, maturity levels, representations, model components. The next three days are dedicated to review of the 25 process areas and some practical exercises. The great part is that the process areas are presented largely by the students and a very good discussion of each area occurs following the formal presentation. The exercises are also very well designed to help combine the knowledge of the different process areas into one idea of an interrelated process model.

The last day is dedicated to examination on the contents of the CMMI standard. The examination is not hard if you have studied thoroughly the standard, but I think one has to do quite a bit of self reading to pass. In my case I had spend great deal of my time in the last two months going over the complete standard and the first 6 chapters of both representations. If I have to give advice on the preparation it is best to get the Addison-Wesley book on CMMI. It combines both representations into single reading material and contains small modifications making the reader's life much easier.

So as they say the more you know the better your understanding is of how much more there is to learn. I have now started my journey into PSP and Six Sigma as two supporting bodies of knowledge to help better implement the CMMI. About PSP there is an excellent PSP self study course available from SEI site, it is free, but requires registration and is for private use only. For those wanting to just get feel of what this process thing is about an interesting Video Presentation with Watts S. Humphrey is available as well.

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