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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Next Generation of CMMI Version 1.3 - Will it be Version 2.0? Or Version 1.4? Or Simply CMMI Next Gen v1.0?

An earlier post on CMMI Next Gen discussed about certain proposed improvements that will make the CMMI model richer and more attuned with the realities on-the-ground.

It is crucial to take care of the challenges that organizations continue to face in leveraging the CMMI model for higher business impact.

The CMMI model is as good as any model can possibly be. The foundations underlying it are based on rock-solid fundamental principles.

Working diligently on the opportunities for improvements to enable the CMMI model to better align with business needs and, more importantly, business realities is the right way to go as far as evolution of the next generation of CMMI version 1.3 is concerned.

Will the next generation be version 2.0? Or version 1.4? Or simply CMMI next gen version 1.0?

The fact is, whether it is called CMMI version 2.0 or anything else, that won't really matter.

Even what goes into the model structure, practises and their description won't really matter.

What would matter is, what actually goes into the working of the ecosystem around the next version.

If one looks at the CMMI for development, version 1.3 and using it tries to understand the fundamental concepts that can help a business run efficiently and keep on getting better, there seems to be no disconnect there.

Let us analyze this further. Let us see what are the key elements that are required to run a business organization.

Here is the list of some such key elements:
  • Define organization's vision, mission, goals and the strategy to attain them and track the strategy's progress regularly and rigorously (OPP)
  • Inject the above into the plan that guides the day-to-day functioning of the core operations, the supporting functions like facilities, HR, etc. and the business excellence function and keep the plan updated, track the progress against the plan and the risks that could lead to derailment from the planned path (PP, PMC, RSKM)
  • Ensure standardized practises are constantly scrutinized and improved/evolved (OPD, OPF, CAR)
  • Use data for analyzing how activities are performed and see what improvements/changes can make them better (MA, QPM, OPM)
  • Ensure work-items, documents and other parts are managed and maintained in a secure, systematic and structured manner (CM)
  • Ensure standard practises are used while allowing for flexibility in customizing them within certain defined boundaries and ensure deviations are controlled (PPQA, IPM)
  • Build competencies in people for performing the activities assigned to them (OT)
  • Ensure work-items, documents and other parts received from suppliers are managed and integrated in a well-defined and proper manner (SAM)
  • Understand what the customer wants and manage changes in customer requirements and expectations in a systematic manner (RD, REQM)
  • Determine the optimal solution for addressing the customer requirements and build, validate and deliver the solution to the customer (TS, DAR, PI, VER, VAL)
Just look at the process areas of CMMI version 1.3 referred to above. If you count them, you will get 22.

That's exactly equal to the number of process areas in CMMI version 1.3!

If all the process areas are relevant for any business organization, what is really going on?

Why do certain organizations tend to carry this impression that they have to do something extra for CMMI which is not needed for business.

It is obvious that is just not true!

Instead of an organization doing business and doing CMMI as two separate threads, it will be a much better situation for it to do business using CMMI.

Or for that matter any other excellence framework like NBQA, EFQM, ISO, etc.

So any excellence model or framework is not really the culprit. If that be so, who is to be blamed?

Now let us look at the ecosystem. Or better, let us look more closely at the actors in the ecosystem. The answer lies therein.
  • For the CEOs and the business heads, a certificate on the wall is something that they know the business needs as is its usefulness in pumping up their already-very-big egos! For such folks, the model behind the certification may also be important to get a sense of confidence in the business operations since there is a sort of benchmarking that happens when you adopt an excellence framework.
  • For the sales people who are really smart-asses, certificate is a reality as they may not be allowed to enter a customer's premises if their company is not certified! For such folks, the certification means nothing beyond their current quarter sales quotas and sales targets.
  • For those who create the models and frameworks, the model is like a family bread-winner and they got to sell it far and wide using any and every method in the book and even outside it! For such folks, the model should sell and become popular and doesn't mean much beyond that.
  • For those who act as consultants and auditors for the model, they need to pay royalties to model creators and are smart enough to know the compulsions of the CEOs and the business heads as well as the fact that their careers depend on the bloody model! For such folks, the model is simply a means to make money.
  • For those who act as implementers of the model, the situation is the most funny of all since they are caught in between the needs of the business, needs of the CEOs and the business heads and needs of the consultants and auditors! For such folks, the model is a reality that they did not choose (CEOs and the business heads get to choose) and have limited control over its implementation (consultants and auditors get to decide the model expectations) while they watch the mute model creator, stand far away.
  • For those who act as practitioners, the effect of a model is as varying as the kind of people on this planet since those who truly want to get value get that but those who just want to fool the implementers and auditors manage to do that (the only difference being, they actually fool themselves)! For such folks, using the model becomes kind of a necessary evil which is imposed on them from the top.
As was explained earlier whether the next generation of CMMI is called CMMI version 2.0 or anything else, that won't really matter.

Even what goes into the model structure, practises and their description won't really matter.

What would matter is, what actually goes into the working of the ecosystem around the next version.

Or to be more precise, what the actors in the ecosystem eventually do will only matter.

The big question that arises is this - is improvement in CMMI or any model good enough? Will that do the trick without the actors changing the way they act?

The answer to the above big question will mean what happens going ahead.

In conclusion, it is evident what would really matter.

One thing is certain though - whether the next generation of CMMI is called CMMI version 2.0 or anything else, that won't really matter!

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