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Re: [CMMi Process Improvement] When is too few not enough?

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  • Pat OToole
    Neil, The risk of the unknown is the reason that I ONLY use personnel from other clients – they are folks that I know and have worked with in the past –
    Message 1 of 75 , Mar 1, 2011
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      Neil,
       
      The risk of the unknown is the reason that I ONLY use personnel from other clients – they are folks that I know and have worked with in the past – thereby reducing the “unknown” factor quite a bit.  Although I didn’t mention it in my previous post, to date, all of these situations have only involved people that had been on one of my previous appraisals – that is, they were an ATM when I led the appraisal at THEIR company – so I am pretty familiar with them and they with me.
       
      I do explain to the appraisal sponsor that there is a “down side” of using external people – even those that I know and feel comfortable with.  They certainly don’t know the client, and are unlikely to know their application domain.  In other words, they are coming in cold – just like you an I often do!  (However, this is REAL good experience for someone who aspires to be a lead appraiser!)
       
      If possible, I try to get them involved in a Class B appraisal at the client first, and then the SCAMPI A.  This gives us a dress rehearsal to see if there are any issues to be addressed.  Barring that, we have the Readiness Review activities to bring them up to speed and/or identify any model interpretation or scaling issues.
       
      I would STRONGLY urge the appraisal sponsor to take this approach rather than “have the whole company on the team,” as the latter approach doesn’t pass the smell test.  That is, whether the people from the organization can actually BE objective is not the issue, it’s the PERCEPTION that matters more in such a case – and the perception of a team evaluating themselves smells funny to me (and to a lot of others, I’m sure) to the point where I’D say, “it stinks!”
       
      I think there is more risk of perceived (AND actual) loss of objectivity for the team to evaluate themselves that there is in bringing in external people that you know to help conduct the appraisal.  If the organization really is maturity level X, then the risk of having external folks reach the right conclusion is minimized.
       
      Regards,
       
      Pat
       
       
       
      Sent: Monday, February 28, 2011 9:22 PM
      Subject: Re: [CMMi Process Improvement] When is too few not enough?
       
       

      Hi Jeff

       
      I agree with your comments about having external people. its a big risk, and unless you know the person and their cmmi-bent, usually not worth it
       
      My initial email on this was really to see if anyone had big concerns where a company of 5 wants a scampi A, and the appraisal team is 3 of the 5. I can manage the objectivity issue OK. Sounds like no one has an exceptional problem, which is good.
       
      see you in Portland
       
      Neil
       
      On Feb 28, 2011, at 9:58 AM, Jeff Dalton wrote:

       
       
      Neil, interesting.  Please elaborate! 
       
      I know there are people calling the SEI asking to be on appraisals, but there are a couple of issues I have with that source (of course, if it's your only choice….).
       
      The biggest one is that they have absolutely no knowledge of the company being appraised at all.  This is why internal people are recommended in the first place.  Someone from another company, and with little or no consulting experience (having seen many implementations), may have some hardened notions of "how it's done."  This is especially true if they have been through an appraisal with one of our numerous "CMMI Lawyers."
       
      The other issue is how close could someone be to the CMMI if they have NO opportunities except from sending a shotgun email out to all the partners?  I always assumed that candidate Lead Appraisers (who many of these folks are) were supposed be working closely with the CMMI for some time, so I would hope they have some networking connections of their own.
       
      Jeff Dalton
      President, Broadsword
       
      Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser
      Certified CMMI Instructor
      Certified CMMI for Practitioners Instructor
      Scrum Master
       
      Office: 248.341.3367
      Fax:      248.341.3672
      <400C94AB-4D6F-4A5F-AFF3-DCC2E4B5288E.png>`
       
      Visit Jeff's Blog at http://askTheCMMIAppraiser.com
       
      Follow Jeff on Twitter: CMMIAppraiser
       
       
       
      From: Neil Potter <neil@...>
      Reply-To: <cmmi_process_improvement@yahoogroups.com>
      Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2011 08:57:55 -0600
      To: <cmmi_process_improvement@yahoogroups.com>
      Subject: Re: [CMMi Process Improvement] When is too few not enough?
       
       
      Hi Dave
       
      I am very dubious about asking SEI for names. Yes, they will do a good job at getting names. But then that person becomes my responsibility in terms of what he/she knows and does on the appraisal team.  They might be great, and they might be totally awful. I then have to interview people to select 2-3.
       
      So far every one has avoided the idea that the company becomes the appraisal team!
       
      Thanks and regards, Neil Potter
      Tel: 972-418-9541
      Fax: 866-526-4645
       
      On Feb 28, 2011, at 7:44 AM, dagreerga wrote:

       
       
      Hi Neil,
       
      It's not that hard to find free help.  There are a number of folks who want to become lead appraisers, and have most of the required training, but need to work on an appraisal.  Similarly, there are a number of internal lead appraisers at big companies that need points to retain their credentials, and their companies have scaled back on their appraisals, so they are looking to participate, usually with their company's full backing.
       
      You could send an email to the SEI asking them to broadcast a request for appraisal team members or just post to Linked In or here and you'll get plenty of offers.
       
      DAGreer
      510-717-9655
      --- In cmmi_process_improvement@yahoogroups.com, Neil Potter <neil@...> wrote:
      >
      > Hi Pat
      >
      > and if we cant find any free labor, then with a good appraiser (!) i assume 3 people out of 5 of the organization will be on the appraisal team along with the appraiser.
      >
      > Neil
      >
      >
      > neil@...
      > Tel: 972-418-9541
      > Fax: 866-526-4645
      > http://www.processgroup.com
      >
      > On Feb 27, 2011, at 4:17 PM, Pat OToole wrote:
      >
      > >
      > >
      > > Neil, et.al.,
      > >
      > > Occasionally, I find myself in the same situation where I am working with a small organization that will be hard pressed to supply enough ATMs to meet the four-person minimum (3 of them and 1 of me). What I typically do is canvass my other clients to see if anyone is willing to ╲contribute╡ a free ATM.
      > >
      > > Typically, the other client perceives value in seeing how another organization has incorporated the CMMI practices into their processes â•" ESPECIALLY if the organization to be appraised is at a HIGHER maturity level!
      > >
      > > In these cases, the organization providing the ATM pays their salary and travel expenses, so that they really are FREE to the organization being appraised.
      > >
      > > Iâ•˙ve only had to do this a couple of time, but both the appraised organization and the client providing one or more team members have found this extremely valuable.
      > >
      > > Just a thought...
      > >
      > > Regards,
      > >
      > > Pat
      > >
      > >
      > > From: Neil Potter
      > > Sent: Sunday, February 27, 2011 9:12 AM
      > > To: cmmi_process_improvement@yahoogroups.com
      > > Subject: Re: [CMMi Process Improvement] When is too few not enough?
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > Hi mike. You say "appraisals can be conducted with fewer than four appraisal team members". I have asked for waivers from rusty young and been denied.
      > >
      > > This is a very important issue for me. Please clarify how the team on a scampi A can have less than 4 people. or did you mean a B or C
      > >
      > > Thanks, Neil
      > > Sent from my mobile phone
      > > 972 418 9541
      > > neil@...
      > > http://www.processgroup.com
      > >
      > > On Feb 25, 2011, at 3:41 PM, Mike Phillips dmp@... wrote:
      > >
      > >>
      > >> Daveâ•˙s comment needs one clarification. The SEI constantly finds itself in the tension between the purpose of the CMMI models â•" to promote process improvement â•" and the regular use of the model for marketing rather than process improvement purposes. The rigors of the appraisal are all around the need to have the confidence that the outcome is a ╲benchmark╡ â•" when a SCAMPI A is performed, and reviewed by the SEI, and then posted to the public on the PARS site. None of the comments in this thread have discussed the use of SCAMPI B and C, since those donâ•˙t give a ╲maturity level.╡ Nor is there any discussion about reducing the appraisal to the critical few process areas that a company may need to reduce its risks and improve its performance in critical areas â•" the use of the continuous mode rather than staged.
      > >>
      > >>
      > >> So I ask that we do not forget that appraisals can be conducted with fewer than four appraisal team members, and that the minimum number of projects that must be examined is not three, and that the minimum number of process areas as not the same number as contained in some artificial construction of what is important╜╜
      > >>
      > >>
      > >> Today in a discussion I was reminded of hearing of a small company that determined that it needed to assure that it could handle its challenges in requirements development and management, in project monitoring and control, and managing project risks. It chose RD, REQM. PMC, and RSKM in a robust class A appraisal. Oh yeah, they didnâ•˙t ╲get a levelâ•œ.╡
      > >>
      > >>
      > >> Regards,
      > >>
      > >> Mike Phillips
      > >>
      > >> CMMI Program Manager
      > >>
      > >>
      > >> From: cmmi_process_improvement@yahoogroups.com [mailto:cmmi_process_improvement@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of dagreerga
      > >> Sent: Friday, February 25, 2011 12:02 PM
      > >> To: cmmi_process_improvement@yahoogroups.com
      > >> Subject: RE: [CMMi Process Improvement] When is too few not enough?
      > >>
      > >>
      > >>
      > >>
      > >> Hi All,
      > >>
      > >> The issue that everyone seems to be tiptoeing around is how to provide a reasonable appraisal to an organization that has small project teams. The sampling and overhead arguments have been made, but the question remains, what tailoring does the MDD permit to consider organization size?
      > >>
      > >> Unfortunately the MDD doesn't provide much help. There is no bunny slope in the CMMI; just because you're small doesn't mean there are parts of the model that can be ignored. If you're playing in a pro-am golf tournament with Tiger Woods, you still have to play all 18 holes. A small company has to follow the same appraisal rules as Boeing. Small companies need to do their due diligence to determine if it makes business sense to pursue work that requires the CMMI. AND, the sampling still has to make sense as Rob says (and MDD V1.3 should handle sampling better than v1.2 (one hopes)), and the overhead, might still be onerous.
      > >>
      > >> If you can find a way to make the cost/effort of an appraisal more palatable, within the confines of the rules, go for it; else you're not following the rules.
      > >>
      > >> Just my two cents.
      > >>
      > >> David Greer
      > >> Assess-IT, Inc.
      > >> Certified High Maturity Lead Appraiser
      > >> CMMI Instructor
      > >> LSSBB
      > >> dagreer@...
      > >> 510-717-9655
      > >>
      > >> --- In cmmi_process_improvement@yahoogroups.com, "rob.leinen" rob.leinen@ wrote:
      > >> >
      > >> > Jeff,
      > >> >
      > >> > I was very specific that I was not responding based on SCAMPI rules (including CMMI principles), I'm not attaching or debating those. My point was based on the principles of random sampling that most first year math students are taught. When making a statistical inference about an organization, the sample you take should be a fair representation of the organization. For larger organizations, with mostly larger projects, including a happenstance project of 2 to 4 people would probably not be considered a good representation of the organization. Just because the SCAMPI rules allow for it doesn't necessarily make it is good or wise choice.
      > >> >
      > >> > In a sense it is the same "meeting the rules vs. meeting the intent" argument we give to organizations when consulting them on how to implement CMMI within their processes. And in this case, you are performing the SCAMPI to access the maturity of an organization based on a hopefully representative sample of the organization's behavior, right?
      > >> >
      > >> > Cheers,
      > >> > Rob L.
      > >> >
      > >> > --- In cmmi_process_improvement@yahoogroups.com, Jeff Dalton <jeff@> wrote:
      > >> > >
      > >> > > Rob,
      > >> > >
      > >> > > The size of the team doesn't make much difference to me. Size and rigor are
      > >> > > two different things. There is nothing in the CMMI that requires small
      > >> > > teams to have the same amount of "rigor" as large ones, only they they use a
      > >> > > process that meets the intent of the model in their context. That context
      > >> > > drives everything. I've found that at most companies, large projects are
      > >> > > the exception ââ≠¬" they have many small (1-5 person) projects, and only one or
      > >> > > two large ones.
      > >> > >
      > >> > > Jeff Dalton
      > >> > > President, Broadsword
      > >> > >
      > >> > > Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser
      > >> > > Certified CMMI Instructor
      > >> > > Certified CMMI for Practitioners Instructor
      > >> > > Scrum Master
      > >> > >
      > >> > > Office: 248.341.3367
      > >> > > Fax: 248.341.3672
      > >> > > `
      > >> > > Visit us at http://www.broadswordsolutions.com
      > >> > >
      > >> > > Visit Jeff's Blog at http://askTheCMMIAppraiser.com
      > >> > >
      > >> > > Follow Jeff on Twitter: CMMIAppraiser
      > >> > >
      > >> > >
      > >> > >
      > >> > > From: "rob.leinen" <rob.leinen@>
      > >> > > Reply-To: cmmi_process_improvement@yahoogroups.com
      > >> > > Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2011 17:03:19 -0000
      > >> > > To: cmmi_process_improvement@yahoogroups.com
      > >> > > Subject: Re: [CMMi Process Improvement] When is too few not enough?
      > >> > >
      > >> > >
      > >> > >
      > >> > >
      > >> > >
      > >> > >
      > >> > > Rather than comment from a SCAMPI perspective(the LAs are better qualified
      > >> > > for that) I am going to comment from a quantitative point of view.
      > >> > > Mathematically speaking, a project consisting of 2 to 4 individuals is
      > >> > > probably not a good representation of the organization or how it operates
      > >> > > unless the organization is extremely small or there is are large number of
      > >> > > projects with similar characteristics (particularly size). Generally
      > >> > > speaking, in most cases a team of 4 cannot implement processes with the same
      > >> > > rigor as a much larger team. For one small project teams don't need that
      > >> > > level of rigor to be successful, and two they would drown in the overhead.
      > >> > > If the overwhelming majority of work for the organization is conducted with
      > >> > > much larger teams, then the larger teams will provide a better sampling of
      > >> > > how the organization actually operates. I don't know if SCAMPI looks at it
      > >> > > that way, but that is the nature of statistical sampling.
      > >> > >
      > >> > > Cheers,
      > >> > > Rob L.
      > >> > >
      > >> > > --- In cmmi_process_improvement@yahoogroups.com
      > >> > > <mailto:cmmi_process_improvement%40yahoogroups.com> , "Heather Oppenheimer"
      > >> > > <hoppenheimer@> wrote:
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > Hi Neil,
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > IÃ∞¢Ã≠â≠¬Ã≠â≥¢ve also done SCAMPI A appraisals where some/all Ã∞¢Ã≠â≠¬Ã≠Å"projectsÃ∞¢Ã≠â≠¬Ã≠¡ consisted
      > >> > > of 1-2 people. But there were 15-30 people in the organization, so we were able
      > >> > > to come up with a reasonable set of potential appraisal team members to meet the
      > >> > > requirements.
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > I think itÃ∞¢Ã≠â≠¬Ã≠â≥¢s only worth paying for outside appraisal team members if your
      > >> > > existing or highly likely contracts are worth a LOT more than the cost of the
      > >> > > team and you canÃ∞¢Ã≠â≠¬Ã≠â≥¢t meet the contracts without a rating blessing. If you are
      > >> > > just interested in process improvement, a SCAMPI B can bring as much (if not
      > >> > > more) value than a ratings-focused appraisal like a SCAMPI A.
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > BTW, in SCAMPI V1.3, it looks like it will be harder for the tiny
      > >> > > organizations to come up with enough appraisal team members without conflict of
      > >> > > interest because the average experience years requirements (domain, management)
      > >> > > now specifically excludes the LAÃ∞¢Ã≠â≠¬Ã≠â≥¢s experience.
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > Heather Oppenheimer
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > www.oppenpartners.com
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > From: cmmi_process_improvement@yahoogroups.com
      > >> > > <mailto:cmmi_process_improvement%40yahoogroups.com>
      > >> > > [mailto:cmmi_process_improvement@yahoogroups.com
      > >> > > <mailto:cmmi_process_improvement%40yahoogroups.com> ] On Behalf Of Neil Potter
      > >> > > > Sent: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 4:51 PM
      > >> > > > To: cmmi_process_improvement@yahoogroups.com
      > >> > > <mailto:cmmi_process_improvement%40yahoogroups.com>
      > >> > > > Cc: cmmi_process_improvement@yahoogroups.com
      > >> > > <mailto:cmmi_process_improvement%40yahoogroups.com>
      > >> > > > Subject: Re: [CMMi Process Improvement] When is too few not enough?
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > Jeff. How did you handle team size requirements of 4 people?
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > . Adding people is sometimes not possible because no one will pay the cost
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > Thanks, Neil
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > Sent from my mobile phone
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > 972 418 9541
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > neil@
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > http://www.processgroup.com
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > On Feb 23, 2011, at 3:09 PM, Jeff Dalton <jeff@> wrote:
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > Joe,
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > Project size is not relevant to appraisal selection (or should not not be).
      > >> > > I've appraised 1 and 2 person projects with our smaller clients.
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > It's a good question to bring up with any candidate appraisals you are talking
      > >> > > with. Ask him/her how they would handle it.
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > Jeff Dalton
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > President, Broadsword
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > Certified CMMI Instructor
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > Certified CMMI for Practitioners Instructor
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > Scrum Master
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > Office: 248.341.3367
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > Fax: 248.341.3672
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > <400C94AB-4D6F-4A5F-AFF3-DCC2E4B5288E.png>`
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > Visit us at http://www.broadswordsolutions.com
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > Visit Jeff's Blog at http://askTheCMMIApprai ser.com
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > Follow Jeff on Twitter: CMMIAppraiser
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > From: Joe Dupelle <j_dupelle@>
      > >> > > > Reply-To: cmmi_process_improvement@yahoogroups.com
      > >> > > <mailto:cmmi_process_improvement%40yahoogroups.com> >
      > >> > > > Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2011 16:36:47 -0000
      > >> > > > To: cmmi_process_improvement@yahoogroups.com
      > >> > > <mailto:cmmi_process_improvement%40yahoogroups.com> >
      > >> > > > Subject: [CMMi Process Improvement] When is too few not enough?
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > My project team has asked me to ask this question. I'm pretty sure I know the
      > >> > > answer already but I told them I would ask. One of the projects we're working
      > >> > > towards appraisal with is only 3 people. My team is concerned that if they do
      > >> > > all of the work an appraiser may come in and say - well everything looks good
      > >> > > but the team is too small so we can't appraise it. My contention is that CMMI is
      > >> > > concerned with the processes and process improvement and not the number of
      > >> > > people you have working on the effort.
      > >> > > >
      > >> > > > <400C94AB-4D6F-4A5F-AFF3-DCC2E4B5288E.png>
      > >> > > >
      > >> > >
      > >> >
      > >>
      > >>
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
       
       
       
       
      <400C94AB-4D6F-4A5F-AFF3-DCC2E4B5288E.png>
       
    • Jeff Dalton
      Jorge, I ve been waiting with great anticipation for you to show up on this thread! Jeff Jeff Dalton Broadsword 248.709.4775 Sent from my Verizon Wireless
      Message 75 of 75 , Mar 5, 2011
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        Jorge,

        I've been waiting with great anticipation for you to show up on this thread!

        Jeff

        Jeff Dalton
        Broadsword
        248.709.4775

        Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


        From: "Jorge Boria" <jorge.boria@...>
        Sender: cmmi_process_improvement@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Sat, 5 Mar 2011 06:36:28 -0600
        To: <cmmi_process_improvement@yahoogroups.com>
        ReplyTo: cmmi_process_improvement@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [CMMi Process Improvement] Re: When is too few not enough?

         

        Maybe we should rename the group Old Geezers With Too Much Time In Their Hands?

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