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📄 Contents

  1. 4.1 What You Will Learn in This Chapter
  2. 4.2 BOND Case Study Background
  3. 4.3 What Is a Gap Analysis and Why Is It Crucial for Agile Organizations?
  4. 4.4 Keys to Conducting a Gap Analysis for an Agile Organization
  5. 4.5 Example of "Potential Weakness" Against CMMI in an Agile Organization
  6. 4.6 Running Process Improvement like a Project
  7. 4.7 TWG Approach for Agile Organizations
  8. 4.8 Revisiting the Goal and Challenges on the Process Improvement Project
  9. 4.9 Alternative Practices and Tailored Agile TWG
  10. 4.10 Returning to the Peer Review Example
  11. 4.11 Tailored TWG Techniques and Lessons at BOND
  12. 4.12 Preparation Work for Running Agile TWGs
  13. 4.13 Packaging of Processes
  14. 4.14 An Agile Organizational Process Asset Structure
  15. 4.15 Process Asset Guidelines Used at BOND
  16. 4.16 Different Organizations with Different Process Asset Structures
  17. 4.17 Agile TWG Roles and Responsibilities
  18. 4.18 Effective Techniques to Run an Agile TWG
  19. 4.19 Separating the TWG Work from the Lead Offline Work
  20. 4.20 What Do You Do When You Find a Gap?
  21. 4.21 Answers to Common Questions When Running an Agile TWG
  22. 4.22 Do I Need a DAR Process?
  23. 4.23 Do I Need to Verify Everything I Develop?
  24. 4.24 Do I Need to Make Sure the Steps in My Processes Are in the Right Order?
  25. 4.25 Do I Need to Make Sure Process Descriptions Are Not Redundant?
  26. 4.26 Can Requirements Be Captured in an Email or PowerPoint Slides?
  27. 4.27 Do Requirements Need to Be Captured in Single "Shall Statements"?
  28. 4.28 Formalizing Informality
  29. 4.29 Summary
  30. 4.30 Summary: How Agile Helps CMMI
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4.8 Revisiting the Goal and Challenges on the Process Improvement Project

The goal at BOND on the process improvement project was multifold. First, it was to help the project leaders manage their projects effectively as the organization grew. Second, it was to move the organization forward toward the achievement of a formal CMMI level 3 as rapidly as possible, but without adding significant risk to their ongoing business. This meant the TWGs had to keep an eye on the CMMI model practices addressing potential weaknesses. We also had to be sensitive to the use of key people in the organization who were actively engaged, often working closely with customer counterparts on critical projects.

Third, we had been given the added challenge by Senior Management to maintain the Agile culture the owners felt was critical to the organization's success to date. To accomplish this, I added a requirement for the TWGs. If we were to add activities to the existing processes in the organization, the TWG would have to provide the rationale during the training as to why this activity added value to the organization.

This led to some interesting discussions among TWG members. Some argued that we should be able to just tell those being trained that the CMMI required it and that was sufficient rationale. I objected to this line of reasoning.

I explained to each of the TWG members that the CMMI requires you to make conscious decisions related to certain practices based on your business needs. Any decision we made based on a CMMI practice should be explained during the training from a BOND business need perspective. While this approach led to more time being required by TWG members to discuss current processes and potential weaknesses it helped the organization reason about its own processes and determine what the right processes were given their current business and the anticipated potential growth.

Fundamental Rule: Always Ask the Intent Question, and Then Keep Digging

The first Fundamental Rule of our Agile TWG at BOND was based on something a lead CMMI appraiser once told me:

  • Always ask the intent question.

What she meant was, when assessing an organization against a practice in the CMMI model, ask yourself:

  • What is the intent of this practice? 4

Another phrase the lead appraiser often used was:

  • You don't want to create unnatural behavior in the organization.

This approach leads to another question:

  • Is the organization achieving the intent?

If the answer is yes, but they don't appear to be following the expected practice, the next question is:

  • How are they achieving the intent?


  • What activities are they following to achieve the intent?

The approach of asking these questions fits with our goal to maintain the "Agile culture." The Agile culture is a natural culture where people follow practices that have been proven to work in getting their job done successfully. BOND had a history of success, so whatever practices they were following were, for the most part, working. This was our starting point to extract and document the right processes for this organization.

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