CMMI-DEV Version 1.2: What Else Has Changed?

NEWS AT SEI

Author

Mike Phillips

This library item is related to the following area(s) of work:

CMMI
Process Improvement

This article was originally published in News at SEI on: July 1, 2006

CMMI for Development (CMMI-DEV), Version1.2 includes improvements to all parts of the CMMI Product Suite in response to issues that have emerged in practice. The changes  focus on improving the quality of CMMI products and the consistency of how they are applied.

The CMMI V1.2 Product Suite contains the following items:

This latest version of the model integrates bodies of knowledge that are essential for development and maintenance but that have been addressed separately in the past, such as software engineering, systems engineering, and others. CMMI V1.2 embodies the concept of CMMI constellations, in which a set of core components can be augmented by additional materials. CMMI-DEV is the first such constellation. Currently there are plans for three constellations supported by the V1.2 model framework: development, acquisition, and services.

What are the major changes to the model document?

In earlier columns, I described most of the intended improvements that would be considered for the CMMI V1.2 model. These changes included eliminating three process areas-ISM, OEI, and IT-while preserving coverage of these important practices. This change reduced the size of the model document by 15%, despite adding coverage of the work environment and hardware engineering. The bulk of the model-development effort involved revising the wording of model content that users found to be ambiguous, redundant, or confusing.

The CMMI sponsors and Steering Group also directed a final change to the model document based on concerns related to project start-up. The organizational process focus (OPF) process area already provided some guidance for the organization to deploy improved process artifacts to its projects, but the importance of effective new-project start-up was not emphasized. The CMMI Product Team formulated a new approach in which the second goal in OPF was split into two separate goals. The first of these (SG2) emphasizes the organization's need to develop organizational standard processes and their associated artifacts. The second (now SG3) emphasizes the need to provide these standard processes and artifacts to new projects and to monitor the projects' progress in effective start-up using the organizational process artifacts deployed. These changes to OPF do not represent a new CMMI requirement, but do clarify that improvement should be pursued throughout the organization, including new projects just starting. Emphasizing project start-up can only enhance the overall success of process improvement efforts across the enterprise.

What are the major changes to SCAMPI?

While there are few changes to the actual SCAMPI method itself, there are numerous policy changes designed to improve confidence in appraisal results. Several of the changes demonstrate how the SCAMPI Upgrade Team has focused on improving the quality of CMMI appraisals.

One change, which I mentioned in an earlier column, is that there is now a limited period of validity for CMMI appraisals. Now that V1.2 has been released, all CMMI appraisals are considered valid for a maximum of three years. This limitation applies to both V1.1 and V1.2 appraisals.

Because of the move to a new product suite, there is a grace period of one year-until August 31, 2007. In other words, if your last appraisal was, say, conducted six years ago, you will have one year (until August 31, 2007) to conduct another one before the current one will be considered invalid. However, if your appraisal was completed two years or less before the release of CMMI V1.2, it has the three year period of validty.V1.1 appraisals will be accepted by the SEI through the end of August 2007.

Another way to think about this transition to a limited period of validity is that beginning on September 1, 2007, no valid CMMI appraisal can be more than three years old.

As of September 1, 2007, all new CMMI appraisals must be V1.2 appraisals. A V1.2 appraisal is one in which

  • both the model and appraisal method used are from the V1.2 CMMI Product Suite and
  • all appraisal team members have either attended a V1.2 Introduction to CMMI training course or have upgraded from V1.1 using the CMMI Version 1.2 Upgrade Training online course

The Version 1.2 appraisal disclosure statement (ADS) was the chief focus of SCAMPI improvements. This document is the summary of results for an appraisal. (By the way, if your supplier is claiming CMMI results, ask to see this document to gain confidence in these claims.)

An improvement to the ADS is having the sponsor sign the ADS. The V1.2 ADS is to be used for both V1.1 and V1.2 appraisal reporting for any appraisal starting on or after November 1, 2006. Because of the importance of appraisal quality, lead appraisers can perform V1.2 appraisals only after they

(1) successfully complete CMMI Version 1.2 Upgrade Training for Instructors, Lead Appraisers, and Team Leaders
(2) pass an exam, and
(3) attend a Face-to-Face Workshop. The first of these workshops is planned for October 19, 2006, in Charlotte, N.C., at the annual CMMI Lead Appraisers and Instructors Workshop. Therefore, no V1.2 appraisals can begin until after that first workshop.

The workshop will also be offered at the CMMI Technology Conference and User Group in Denver on November 17, 2006; at SEPG 2007 in Austin, Texas; and at E-SEPG 2007 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Other offerings are being considered as well.

High-maturity appraisals are another focus for improvement in V1.2. A small but significant change is that the ADS will need to document the specific linkage of high-maturity efforts with business objectives in the appraisal organization. This requirement is designed to address concerns about being able to claim high maturity when performing any statistical process improvement somewhere in the organization. Such an approach to statistical process improvement is not consistent with the intent of the model. The improvements to CMMI V1.2 are designed to assure that the quality improvements associated with a maturity model are, in fact, aligned with business objectives. This alignment is clearly consistent with the CMMI model practices and intent.

A more significant change is that lead appraisers must specifically qualify as high-maturity appraisers. A team was created, comprising both industry and SEI expertise, to establish an initial approach for lead appraiser high-maturity certification and a process for building high-maturity appraisal skills among lead appraisers. Note that because no lead appraiser will be automatically authorized for high-maturity certification, no appraisers will be available to determine levels 4 or 5 for V1.2 appraisals until after the CMMI Lead Appraisers and Instructors Workshop in Charlotte. Therefore, phasing in this approach may mean that some high-maturity appraisals currently planned for the near future may need to remain V1.1 appraisals or be rescheduled further in the future.

What are the major changes to training?

The CMMI training team has tested the revised Introduction to CMMI, Version 1.2 training. This new Introduction to CMMI training is now available from the SEI and will soon be available from SEI Partners. Version 1.2 of the Intermediate, Instructor Training, SCAMPI Lead Appraiser Training, and SCAMPI B and C Team Leader Training courses also is available.

An online CMMI V1.2 Upgrade Training course is available to all of the more than 54,000 people who have taken the Introduction to CMMI course. This course describes, in detail, the changes to the CMMI Product Suite and reviews key CMMI concepts. The description of this course is now available on the SEI Web site.

Lead appraisers must assure that appraisal team members are qualified to participate on V1.2 appraisal teams. Potential appraisal team members who have completed Introduction to CMMI training prior to V1.2 can take the upgrade course online and register with the training registry to fulfill the requirement for appraisal team participation.

Lead appraisers and instructors must take an upgrade training course online as well. Their course contains more information and includes an exam.

So what are the key transition dates again?

All of the key documents associated with V1.2 are available today. The number of available V1.2 courses will increase as instructors become qualified. The last V1.1 classes will be held in December 2006.

Beginning November 1, 2006, all appraisals must use the improved Version 1.2 Appraisal Disclosure Statement.

During the transition period, both V1.2 and V1.1 appraisals will be accepted by the SEI. That period is one year, ending on August 31, 2007, after which only V1.2 appraisals will be accepted. The end of the transition period also marks the time when the 3-year period of maximum validity takes full effect and appraisals completed any earlier than September 2004 become invalid.

Summary

The update to V1.2 includes a number of improvements across the product suite to make this process improvement tool more usable and to increase confidence in its results. In the next column, I will write more about making the transition to the new version.

About the Author

As the director of special projects at the Software Engineering Institute, Mike Phillips leads the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) project for the SEI. He was previously responsible for transition-enabling activities at the SEI. Prior to his retirement as a colonel from the Air Force, he managed the $36B development program for the B-2 in the B-2 SPO and commanded the 4950th Test Wing at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. In addition to his bachelor's degree in astronautical engineering from the U.S. Air Force Academy, Phillips has master's degrees in nuclear engineering from Georgia Tech, in systems management from the University of Southern California, and in international affairs from Salve Regina College and the Naval War College.

Please note that current and future CMMI research, training, and information has been transitioned to the CMMI Institute, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Carnegie Mellon University.

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