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Process Assessments are a Good Baseline of Health

We just completed a process assessment for a client, baselining the current state in aspects such as consistency across the varying development methodologies and comparing to best practices we see out in the industry (RUP/OpenUp/Agile practices) as well as at other clients.

Our analysis found that there were parts of each methodology that provided the right amount of process robustness and guidance for the types of projects applicable; however, there was a fair amount of inconsistency across the varying methodologies and many core/fundamental areas that need augmentation in the areas of prescriptive guidance, good quality examples, impacts of not performing a given task (and resulting work product) as well as reasons for not needing.

The whole process of assessing the current state was a very healthy activity for the organization. There were many people at both the practitioner level as well as management level that knew there was room for improvement and areas that needed immediate remediation. There were also people that initially were reluctant to believe that anything at all needed to be changed and everything was "just fine". In the final management discussions where all of the findings and supporting evidence was presented, no one could contest that changes had to be made.

The analysis and resulting recommendations were used to create a business case for change and an action plan which included creating a common process framework so that the organization would have a methodology that can support their varying development types with consistency and efficiency by leveraging common process practices and method content where possible. We will be using the Eclipse Process Framework Composer (EPF Composer) and as much OpenUP method content to supplement all of the existing policies and procedures.

Joshua Barnes, Co-Founder Unified Process Mentors