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Introduction to CMMI

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This chapter is from the book

Choosing Your Approach to Process Improvement

Now that you know the differences between the two representations, you should be able to decide on the approach that best fits your organization. To use CMMI as intended, you select two things: a set of disciplines and a representation. Unlike the CMMI models on the SEI Web site, this book contains both representations and all of the current disciplines that compose the CMMI Framework. This "complete picture" of the CMMI Framework in Part Two enables you to use exactly what you need as you learn about it. It also allows you to quickly use other information if you decide to change the representation or disciplines that you are using.

In Part Two, markings in the margins indicate when model components are "Staged Only" (apply only when using the staged representation) or "Continuous Only" (apply only when using the continuous representation).

To use one representation or the other in this book, locate the text in Part Two that is shaded and has margin notes. The model components that are unmarked apply when using either representation. (See pages 30 through 32 for a description of other typographical conventions used in this book.)

To demonstrate how to use this book, let's look at two different scenarios. The first scenario is an organization that wants to improve its product development processes using a continuous approach. The second scenario is a software development company that uses IPPD, has been using the Software CMM, and now wants to use CMMI. This company has recently been rated at maturity level 3 according to the Software CMM version 1.1.

Scenario 1

In this scenario, you are using a continuous approach and therefore you select the processes that are important to your business objectives. Since there are twenty-five process areas to choose from, this is usually too many to focus on when starting out. You may need to narrow your focus. For example, you may find that your competitor is always getting its product released before yours. You may then choose to focus on improving your engineering and project management processes.

Building on this decision, you select these engineering process areas as a starting point: Product Integration, Requirements Development, Requirements Management, Technical Solution, Validation, and Verification. You also select Project Planning and Project Monitoring and Control.

You may at this point decide that eight process areas are still too many to focus on initially and you decide that the requirements process is really where the problems are. Consequently, you select the Requirements Development and Requirements Management process areas to begin your improvement efforts.

Next you decide how much improvement is needed in the requirements area. Do you have any processes in place already? If you don't, your process-improvement objectives may be to get to capability level 1.

Do you have your requirements development and management processes in place for each project but they are not repeatable processes? For example, policies, training, and tools are not implemented to support the processes. If your requirement processes are in place but there is no supporting infrastructure, then your process-improvement objectives may be to get to capability level 2.

Do you have all your requirements development and management processes in place but each project performs these processes differently? For example, your requirements elicitation process is not performed consistently across the organization. If this is the case, then your process-improvement objectives may be to get to capability level 3.

Do you consistently perform your requirements development and management processes but do not have an objective way to measure and improve these processes? If this is the case, then your process-improvement objectives may be to get to capability level 4.

Do you want to ensure that you are selecting the right processes to improve based on quantitative objectives to maximize your business? If yes, then your process-improvement objectives may be to get to capability level 5 for selected processes. In the description of each process area, remember to look for discipline amplications introduced by the phrases, "For Systems Engineering" and "For Software Engineering." Use all information that has no specific markings and the material that has the markings "Continuous Only" in the margins.

As you can see from this scenario, you need to understand what processes need improvement and also how much you want to improve each process. This is the fundamental principle behind the continuous representation.

Scenario 2

In the second scenario, you are a software development company using IPPD, using the Software CMM, and wanting to use CMMI. You select the process areas at maturity levels 2 and 3 for both the software and IPPD disciplines.

This selection includes the following seven process areas at maturity level 2: Requirements Management, Project Planning, Project Monitoring and Control, Supplier Agreement Management, Measurement and Analysis, Process and Product Quality Assurance, and Configuration Management. It also includes the following thirteen process areas at maturity level 3: Requirements Development, Technical Solution, Product Integration, Verification, Validation, Organizational Process Focus, Organizational Process Definition, Organizational Training, Integrated Project Management (all the specific goals), Risk Management, Integrated Teaming, Decision Analysis and Resolution, and Organizational Environment for Integration.

Since you have already been rated at maturity level 3 for the Software CMM, look at the CMMI process areas that were not in the Software CMM. These process areas include Measurement and Analysis, Requirements Development, Technical Solution, Product Integration, Verification, Validation, Risk Management, Integrated Teaming, Decision Analysis and Resolution, and Organizational Environment for Integration. Determine if you have these processes in your organization even though they were not described in the Software CMM. If there are processes in place that correspond to these process areas and for the other process areas that were in the Software CMM, perform a gap analysis against the goals and practices to make sure that you addressed the intent of each of the CMMI process areas.

Remember, in each process area you select, to look for the discipline amplications introduced by the phrases "For Software Engineering" and "For Integrated Product and Process Development." Use all information that has no specific markings and the material that has the markings "Staged Only" in the margins.

This has been an initial look at the two representations. A more detailed description is provided in chapter 5.

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