2.3 For EIA 731 Users
The appraisal method in EIA 731  —Systems Engineering Capability Model (SECM)—is quite different from the CBA-IPI method in some respects, but in others it is very similar. If you listened in on a group of EIA 731 appraisers, you would hear them talking about questionnaires, interviews, and focus area ratings. The SCAMPI appraisers would be talking about document reviews, interviews, and either process area capability level ratings or maturity level ratings. EIA 731 is primarily an affirmation process rather than a discovery process or a verification process. The EIA 731 method uses questionnaires to collect data. The team evaluates the questionnaires and then interviews the participants to fill gaps in what was affirmed by the questionnaires. Next, they rate the practices within the focus areas and roll up the data to themes and focus areas.
Some of the EIA 731 appraisal features have been combined with the CBA-IPI method to define the SCAMPI method. However, SCAMPI is much closer to the CBA-IPI than the EIA 731 method. One of the reasons for this is that the EIA 731 method was not written for third-party evaluations or benchmarking appraisals. One of the SCAMPI requirements is that it can be used for these purposes. In fact, the EIA 731 method says that it is not to be used for that purpose (like LESAT, described in Section 1.3 of Chapter 1, "Process Appraisal Strategies"). Performing benchmarks requires more rigor in the appraisal than that provided by the EIA 731 method. On the other hand, the EIA 731 method provided the affirmation features of the SCAMPI approach.
The phases of an EIA 731 appraisal and the primary outputs of the EIA 731 appraisal are the same as that of the SCAMPI. The phases are called Preparation, On-site, and Post Appraisal in EIA 731, and Plan and Prepare for Appraisal, Conduct Appraisal, and Report Results in SCAMPI. The most significant difference in the phases is in the preparation phase. In EIA 731 preparation, the participants complete a questionnaire and attend interview and feedback sessions. In preparing for SCAMPI, the programs being appraised prepare objective evidence for every practice within the scope of the appraisal. This can be a very expensive and timeconsuming activity. In comparing the two methods, EIA 732 is nearer the low cost end of the teeter-totter while SCAMPI is nearer the rigorous end.
The primary outputs for both methods are findings and a rating report. The ratings report produced by EIA 731 is in the form of a capability profile. See Figure 2-2 for an example EIA 731 profile. A scoring profile is also an optional output of the SCAMPI. One key difference in the scoring is that in an EIA 731 appraisal, partial credit for satisfaction of a focus area is given. Notice in the example profile in Figure 2-2 that the scores provide the capability to score the focus areas at 1.5, 2.5, and so on. SCAMPI only allows full satisfaction of capability levels.
Figure 2-2 Example EIA 731 Profile
The SCAMPI method provides a very good mechanism for doing partially satisfied (more informative) charts by reporting the ratings at the practice and goal levels as well as the process area, but this level of graphing is not done. The information would be available in the findings report, and an organization could create such charts after the appraisal team leaves. The advantage of this charting method is that the organization can see at a glance what the weaknesses are. Of course, if the organization asks for a maturity level rating it may get just a number and no profile at all.