The SEI Partner Network: Providing Authentic SEI Services and Training

NEWS AT SEI

This article was originally published in News at SEI on: January 1, 2004

A core element of the SEI mission is to broadly disseminate software engineering knowledge and methods to improve the state of the practice of software engineering worldwide. To provide leadership in the transition of new software engineering technology into practice, the SEI licenses specific SEI products and services—typically training courses or assessment services—to organizations that have historically been called “transition partners.” To strengthen its relationship with this important constituency, the SEI is working to better inform the software engineering community about these partners. This process is now bearing its first fruit. Transition partners have a new name—the SEI Partner Network—a new, formal code of conduct, and support from a new directory and guide to services that became available in the spring of 2004.

Why the name change? “The SEI has changed the name to emphasize the role of the SEI Partners as providers of official SEI-brand services,” says David White, director of technology transition practices. “The SEI’s intent is to help users learn where and how they can get authentic SEI services to support their software engineering efforts.”

The SEI Partner Network is a group of organizations and individuals that are selected, trained, and licensed by the SEI to deliver authentic SEI services. These services include courses, consulting methods, and management processes that aid in the implementation of the SEI’s software engineering technologies. “Organizations that obtain these services from SEI Partners can be sure that the services have the same high quality as those delivered directly by the SEI,” says White. “The SEI stands behind the SEI Partner Network and is accountable for the skills and training of partner-sponsored individuals.”

There are two key characteristics that distinguish authentic SEI services: permission and qualification. Permission means that the person or organization delivering the service is allowed to use the required SEI intellectual property. Qualification means that the person delivering the service has the skills and knowledge necessary to do so. The SEI uses the terms “SEI-authorized” and “SEI-certified” to indicate that an individual has the necessary qualifications to perform an SEI service or deliver an SEI course. The rules of permission and qualification vary for each of the SEI services available through the Partner Network.

Benefits of Working with an SEI Partner

  • Prerequisites: Authentic SEI courses are required as prerequisites for advanced training programs at the SEI and are sometimes required as prerequisites for performing SEI consulting or evaluation methods.
  • Quality: SEI Partners undergo evaluation by the SEI to become partners and are continually reviewed as long as they remain partners. By working with SEI Partners, organizations can have confidence in the quality of the services they are receiving.
  • Legitimacy: SEI services can dramatically improve the performance of a software engineering organization or team. Working with SEI Partners will legitimize an organization’s improvement efforts and ensure the best possible results.

Quality Assurance and the Code of Conduct

The process for becoming an SEI Partner varies by SEI service, but always includes quality assurance. Potential partners complete an application procedure and review by SEI staff of the applicant organization’s capabilities and experience. In addition, the SEI evaluates the credentials and experience of the employees that a partner applicant plans to sponsor for authorization or certification. (More information on how to become a partner can be found at the SEI Partner Network Web site.)

“The SEI performs numerous quality checks and implements quality programs that monitor the services delivered by its partners,” and, White adds, “The SEI is in the process of integrating the various quality programs to provide even more quality assurance to customers of SEI Partners.”

A cornerstone of the quality-integration effort is a newly developed code of conduct. The code of conduct describes the minimum standards of conduct for partner organizations and individuals delivering SEI services. At the time of publication, the code of conduct was being completed. For current information on the code of conduct and to get a copy of the code, please visit www.sei.cmu.edu/partners/.

Services Available from SEI Partners

Products and services currently available through the SEI Partner Network include

Process Improvement

  • The SEI Introduction to Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) course
  • Standard CMMI Appraisal Method for Process Improvement (SCAMPI) Appraisal Services
  • The Personal Software Process (PSP) and Team Software Process (TSP) curriculum
  • TSP coaching services

Security and Survivability

  • Operationally Critical Threat, Asset, and Vulnerability Evaluation (OCTAVE) training and evaluation services
  • The CERT course suite on information security

Software Architecture

  • The SEI Software Architecture: Principles and Practices course (available from partners in late 2004 or early 2005)

A new SEI Partner Directory and Guide to Services has just been published. This directory provides details on all of the services and training available through the SEI Partner Network. The directory also provides guidance on adopting particular SEI technologies, tips for selecting an SEI Partner, and instructions for purchasing authentic SEI services. To get a copy of the directory, please contact SEI Customer Relations.

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