On the way to become CMMI Instructor 
Thursday, December 21, 2006, 11:15 AM - CMMI, Personal
The latest news about me is that I took the way to becoming instructor for the Introduction to CMMI course. I already attended the course in November in Frankfurt and am now looking to schedule and conduct my observation. For this I am partnering with the Bulgarian ESI Center .

Perhaps many would like to know more about the Instructor course. Well the course is superb in my opinion. We had excellent trainers that have been working with CMMI for many years and had very deep understanding of complex concepts. The other important part is that you learn a lot about training by watching the instructors as well as the other students.

The model training

Even though the training is not aimed towards the model you do learn a lot about CMMI in these 3 days. To learn at this level about CMMI one must have very good idea of the process areas and the discussion will bring new level of understanding of the model. Some of the things discussed include Process Area relationships, evolution of concepts through the levels of the model, better understanding of how to read and apply CMMI and last but not least the concept of institutionalization.

Trainer training

The other aspect of importance to me was to acquire or enrich my trainer skills and better understand what it takes to teach the course. Again the experience and professionalism of the trainers helped a lot.
The intro training is very fine balance between interactive and engaging training experience and racing against the clock. The training gives you some guidelines how to avoid loosing time, save time if you lost some and how to keep the discussion to the point and avoid distractions.
On the trainer training one is able to see two experienced trainers and several other individuals in my case all form different cultural background. This combined with the ability to experiment with different approaches makes the training valuable experience that sets guidelines for further improvement.

I guess some of you will be interested to take the instructor course yourself and are wondering how difficult is the training and what preparation is required. The answer is that one needs to know the model well and spend a week or two in preparation on the model and few days for completion of the pre-class assignment. The training itself is intensive and not easy, but the instructors do help a lot and aim to have all successful classes. During the course there is one examination and several presentations for assessing the capabilities of the candidate instructors. These should not be a problem provided one knows the model well and is serious about becoming instructor. Indeed during the presentations you will be encouraged to experiment and try out approaches you would not otherwise attempt in front of audience.

Finally if you are new to CMMI and would like to learn more get in touch!

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CMMI 1.2 Upgrade training complete 
Tuesday, October 24, 2006, 01:59 PM - CMMI
Yesterday I finished the on-line upgrade training for CMMI 1.2. In summary CMMI 1.2 focuses on making the model easier to use and opens the possibilities to extend the model in the future. It as well contains corrections to the model that fill in gaps and correct ambiguities. In my humble opinion CMMI 1.2 is a small but needed step forward. This step opens the door for much more new developments - in 2007 we should see two additional CMMI models released.

About the training itself it is not hard perhaps it would take couple of days (16 hours) effort at average to read through the training material and as well read the updated/added texts in the model. As with the other CMMI trainings it takes a bit longer as timeline to understand things and think them through. The training is self paced and one can arrange the reading of the materials in convenient time. There is no multimedia content in the training materials and printable version of all materials is provided for off-line usage.

The training material is well organized in presentation style slides with sufficient texts to eliminate the need for trainer. This method of presentation is much simpler to read and comprehend then text document like the model itself. The training is split in 6 parts covering all aspects of the changes in CMMI 1.2

1. Training introduction
2. Model updates – this is the main chunk and for me it took longest time to go through and understand each piece.
3. Appraisal updates
4. Training updates
5. Institutionalization discussion
6. The new model architecture

In addition refresher slides for the model and appraisal method are provided.

I will probably make another post in the next days to summarize the changes in the model as I understood them.

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CIO.bg article 
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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