The CMMI services model consists of Process Areas (PA) to help service organizations improve their performance and consistency. Much of the discussion in the CMMI community, and in available training, is focused on the new service-specific PAs rather than the core PAs pulled in from the development model (such as Requirements Management, Work Planning and Work Monitoring & Control). In this, and later tidbit articles, we will discuss some of these core PAs and how they can be used in a services group. This article will focus on Work Planning (WP) and Work Monitoring and Control (WMC).
The first thing to note is that WP and WMC are applied to the operation of a services group, not each service request. The Service Delivery PA handles individual service requests, leaving WP and WMC to handle the overall planning of the group, in addition to unusual special requests. This is a departure from the development model, where WP is applied to each development request (or group of requests).
To explain the goals of WP and WMC, we will take an example of a financial services group. The group:
- consists of 15 people.
- tracks the costs of 5-6 large projects at any one time.
- has been providing project cost and budget tracking services for their division for many years.
- is not planning on adding any new services in the next calendar year.
- has been requested to upgrade to a new tool and new financial process for tracking the cost of all company projects.
In Table 1 we list the Specific Goals (SG) and Generic Goals (GG) of the process areas and the group’s implementation of them.
Process Area Goal
|WP SG1: Estimates of work planning parameters are established and maintained.||A roles and responsibilities document states the overall strategy and typical tasks performed when providing financial services on each project. Additional common tasks are defined by government regulatory financial procedures.The effort needed to support all projects for the fiscal year is estimated, based on the number of projects, the complexity of each project and the financial services required.
The tasks for non-standard work are developed, budgeted and tracked. Examples of non-standard work are: moving data to a new tool, incorporating new procedures into the department, and adapting services to deal with new types of projects.
|WP SG2: A work plan is established and maintained as the basis for managing the work.||A specific schedule of financial reports is created for each project. The schedule consists of milestones for financial reporting, task assignments and the budget (effort and costs) required.Risks are assessed for the department as a whole, looking at new tool, reporting and staffing risks.
All of the artifacts generated by the group (e.g., agreements and financial reports) are stored in pre-defined directories with pre-defined names and read/write access, backed up each day on an off-site server.A plan is created for the department at the beginning of the fiscal year describing the overall workload, resources, stakeholders and budget. For each project that the department provides financial services, there is an approved service level agreement for the duration of the project.
Each staff member has a training plan that includes any new skills for financial reporting (e.g., learning new tools, new financial reporting requirements and overall career development).
|WP SG3: Commitments to the work plan are established and maintained.||The department plan is approved annually and adjusted monthly and covers all department activities. Specific service commitments are defined in service agreements with each project. These are approved before financial tracking starts.|
|WP GG2: The process is institutionalized as a managed process.||There is a corporate policy that states what annual fiscal planning and tracking activities are needed for the department and the financial planning activities needed for each project. These activities are tracked in the annual fiscal planning review and when each project starts up.
Senior managers receive an orientation on fiscal planning activities for the department. All staff members receive planning training related to the activities they perform.
|WMC SG1: Actual progress and performance are monitored against the work plan.||The hours expended across the department to provide services are tracked monthly.When the complexity and size of a project changes, effort estimates to provide the financial services to the project are revised.
The commitments in the financial reporting schedule are tracked, and any changes in stakeholders are incorporated.Weekly team meetings verify overall status of financial tracking activities across the department.
There are specific milestones on each project where financial reporting and progress are evaluated.
|WMC SG2: Corrective actions are managed to closure when the work performance or results deviate significantly from the plan.||All action items and issues are tracked in meeting minutes and closed in subsequent reviews.|
|WMC GG2: The process is institutionalized as a managed process.||There is a corporate policy that states what annual fiscal tracking activities are needed for the department. This covers resource and cost expenditures, and approvals for changes.
Senior managers receive an orientation on fiscal planning/tracking activities for the department. All staff members receive training in tracking the hours expended on the activities they perform.
Table 1 – Example Implementation of WP and WMC Goals
These two process areas are not worded conveniently for service organizations, so some translation is required. However, after translation, WP and WMC are useful process areas to verify that a services group estimates and tracks operational items such as effort, tasks, milestones, risks and budget. Performing the practices of WP and WMC ensures that a group can consistently meet its service delivery expectations.