The CMMI services model has been out for a while. Here are some lessons learned when implementing and appraising CMMI-SVC Maturity Level 2:
- The model is conceptually appropriate for a services organization. When the PAs are performed the organization saves time and money by reducing mistakes and communication problems.
- Requirements Management (REQM) helps a services group clearly define the services it is providing. When the services change, action is taken to manage the impact of the change.
- Service delivery (SD) is good at making sure service agreements are established and that the group is trained and ready to provide those services.
- Work Planning (WP) is good at estimating and managing the amount of work a group has to do, assessing risk and defining work schedules.
- Work Monitoring and Control (WMC) is good at tracking the actual workload and making adjustments.
- Process and Product Quality Assurance (PPQA) is good at finding errors in service delivery early and making sure mistakes are captured and repaired.
- Configuration Management (CM) is good at ensuring that the documents and data that the organization cares about are identified, labeled, protected and backed up.
- Measurement and Analysis (MA) is effective at defining a set of objectives and measurements and ensuring that the data collected are used.
- An appraisal team should plan on rewriting some of the model text so that a non-CMMI familiar audience can understand what to do. For example, a typical services group will not readily understand the following sentence:
“The purpose of Requirements Management (REQM) is to manage requirements of products and product components and ensure alignment between those requirements and the work plans and work products.”
- The interpretation our appraisal team had was:
The purpose of Requirements Management (REQM) is to, a) define the services of the group, b) trace defined services to team activities, c) verify that resources, service definition and actual work done are aligned.”
- The need for translation applies to approximately half of the Maturity Level 2 practices, specifically in REQM, WP and WMC. Examples in WP are:
WP SP 1.2 — Establish a top-level work breakdown structure (WBS) to estimate the scope of the work, and, WP SP 1.3 — Establish and maintain estimates of work product and task attributes
- There is considerable overlap in the practices. These need to be translated out before a non-CMMI familiar audience will be able to understand what is expected.
- Practices such as, “Establish and maintain the service strategy,” and “Establish and maintain the approach to be used for service delivery and service system operations,” could easily be interpreted as the same. Another example is, “Establish and maintain the overall work plan,” and “Establish and maintain the plan for performing the [Service Delivery] process.” These similarities can be glossed over in a CMMI class, but cannot be glossed over during an appraisal. In our appraisal I wrote a translation guide that reworded many of the confusing practices and mapped together practices that had similar interpretations.
- Clarify terms. In our appraisal, the services group was performing bids, proposals, and financial tracking activities for very large construction projects. The construction projects consisted of requirements, products and components. Reading the CMMI text can lead the services teams to think that the practices referred to the projects they were supporting, not the services they were providing to the projects.
- Train your team in the interpretation of the model before you appraise, otherwise interpretation issues will suck up your appraisal time.
- Run an informal appraisal so that interviewees have some idea of what your model interpretation is, and you can obtain experience asking interview questions and understanding the responses.
The services model has many of the components needed to run a services organization. When an appraisal is performed, the wording and overlap in the practices can present challenges that need to be overcome by the team prior to the appraisal.