- 4.1 What You Will Learn in This Chapter
- 4.2 BOND Case Study Background
- 4.3 What Is a Gap Analysis and Why Is It Crucial for Agile Organizations?
- 4.4 Keys to Conducting a Gap Analysis for an Agile Organization
- 4.5 Example of "Potential Weakness" Against CMMI in an Agile Organization
- 4.6 Running Process Improvement like a Project
- 4.7 TWG Approach for Agile Organizations
- 4.8 Revisiting the Goal and Challenges on the Process Improvement Project
- 4.9 Alternative Practices and Tailored Agile TWG
- 4.10 Returning to the Peer Review Example
- 4.11 Tailored TWG Techniques and Lessons at BOND
- 4.12 Preparation Work for Running Agile TWGs
- 4.13 Packaging of Processes
- 4.14 An Agile Organizational Process Asset Structure
- 4.15 Process Asset Guidelines Used at BOND
- 4.16 Different Organizations with Different Process Asset Structures
- 4.17 Agile TWG Roles and Responsibilities
- 4.18 Effective Techniques to Run an Agile TWG
- 4.19 Separating the TWG Work from the Lead Offline Work
- 4.20 What Do You Do When You Find a Gap?
- 4.21 Answers to Common Questions When Running an Agile TWG
- 4.22 Do I Need a DAR Process?
- 4.23 Do I Need to Verify Everything I Develop?
- 4.24 Do I Need to Make Sure the Steps in My Processes Are in the Right Order?
- 4.25 Do I Need to Make Sure Process Descriptions Are Not Redundant?
- 4.26 Can Requirements Be Captured in an Email or PowerPoint Slides?
- 4.27 Do Requirements Need to Be Captured in Single "Shall Statements"?
- 4.28 Formalizing Informality
- 4.29 Summary
- 4.30 Summary: How Agile Helps CMMI
4.9 Alternative Practices and Tailored Agile TWG
The approach described may lead to an alternative practice. An alternative practice is defined by the CMMI guidelines as, "A practice that is a substitute for one or more generic or specific practices contained in CMMI models that achieves an equivalent effect toward satisfying the generic or specific goal associated with model practices. Alternative practices are not necessarily one-for-one replacements for the generic or specific practices." However, my experience when digging "looking-for-intent" or "equivalent effect" has been that most often, you don't arrive at an alternative practice, but rather a different implementation of an expected practice.
The "how you do it" should always be open for discussion. By keeping Lesson 2 in mind as the TWGs dig deeper in discussion, they are opening options they might not have previously understood existed in terms of "how" a given expected practice in the CMMI model can be legitimately achieved.
Another good question to ask yourself as you are digging is:
- Is there a problem in the organization because this practice as we are reading it in the CMMI model does not appear to be followed?
One valuable side effect of "digging deeper" is that often these TWG discussions lead subject matter experts to uncover what I refer to as a "local" practice. A "local" practice is one that works very well to achieve a given CMMI expected practice, but the practice just grew up as part of the organization's culture and wasn't even viewed by most as part of any "process." 5
These "local" practices are often found in organizations where culture is taken for granted. I have in fact discovered many such practices during a gap analysis and then reiterated them with TWGs afterward, reminding them of what they had told me during the interviews. This kind of memory jogger has been one of the main reasons I like to sit in on client TWGs at times to help facilitate the process and remind them of their own processes.
Other common examples of powerful processes in Agile organizations often taken for granted include brainstorming sessions on white boards, maintenance of informal team task lists, and early product demonstrations with customers. These are all examples of real processes that work, can be documented, and can be shared across the organization.
Questioning and digging is the major difference in how the Agile TWG operates over traditional TWGs.6 The focus of the Agile TWG is digging to uncover the real activities that are being followed and used successfully in the organization—not to create new ones. Now let us return to the Peer Review example to learn more about how this TWG process works.