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… To quality assurance analysts: a. What is object of Quality Assurance? b. How is it different from Quality Control? From Testing? c. Who, in organization, knows about Quality Assurance activities and results?
If people in your organization cannot answer these questions right away or if nobody knows what these roles are or who performs them, then your staff has an urgent need for some education in their respective trade. Why not start with a primer on CMMI?
2. UNDERSTAND WHERE YOU STAND Are you doing better or worst than your peers and competitors?
When it comes to process improvement, are you "cutting edge" or a laggard organization?
How can you tell?
The CMMI is both complete and universally relevant, allowing for very precise and detailed benchmarking of process performance within as well as across organizations and industry segments.
3. GETTING A STRUCTURE, LOGICAL, TIME-PROVEN ROADMAP FOR IMPROVEMENT Rather than being a recipe to be followed blindly and faithfully, CMMI is a well-organized list of things that need to be taken care of in order to be systematically successful in your development projects. Aligning your improvement plan to CMMI levels ensures that you don't forget anything and effectively protects you from infamous "tunnel vision" effect.
4. POSITIONING YOURSELF AS A BEST-PRACTICE COMPANY If your organization develops products, you probably want your clients (be them internal or external) to look up to you as a disciplined, knowledgeable, reliable and trustworthy supplier. Adhering to principles and practices of CMMI will go a long way to achieve this, both in your clients' perceptions and in reality. Publicly committing to following CMMI is like saying "We will do right things, and we will do them right".
CONCLUSION: Is CMMI right for you? Unless you believe that common sense does not apply to your context, then CMMI is a powerful tool to guide your process improvements efforts. Whether yours is a mega-corporation with thousands of employees or a small outfit with just a handful of developers, CMMI can help you deliver better products faster.
Studies have shown that companies that invest 5% to 10% of their operating costs into process improvement typically experience a return on investment of 100% first year and upwards of 400% after 3 to 5 years. These returns on investments are based on reductions in number of defects, faster time to market, improvements in estimation capabilities and better project control resulting in fewer schedule and cost overruns.
If you are under impression that your company or organization is too small to benefit from CMMI, then consider this: Are you too small for your projects to be late? For your requirements to be vague and imprecise, resulting in a lot of rework and unsatisfied customer? Do you sometime worry that your team won't Be able to deliver in time for next trade show, yet don't know how help them out? If you can relate to any of these situations, then look more closely into CMMI. It's no silver bullet, but you just might sleep better at night!
For additional information: • The CMMI web site: http://www.sei.cmu.edu/cmmi • Some return on investment http://www.sei.cmu.edu/publications/documents/00.reports/00sr003/00sr003chap02.html • Process Academy's web site: http://www.ProcessAcademy.ca
A PDF version of this article can be found at: http://www.dovico.com/documents/What-is-the-CMMI-process-improvement-v1-00-20030730.pdf
About Author: Françis Dion is a software development and process improvement specialist. He is an authorized CMMI trainer as well as a certified process assessor and auditor. mailto:Francis.Dion@ProcessAcademy.ca.
About Sponsor: DOVICO Software has been a global market leader in timesheet and project tracking solutions since 1989, producing time related products that help clients attain CMMI standards. An example of such CMMI standards are Timing Devices through which end-users can track time associated with phases they are in to meet PSP and/or TSP guidelines. To learn more about DOVICO's solutions, go to http://www.dovico.com
About the Author: Françis Dion is a software development and process improvement specialist. He is an authorized CMMI trainer as well as a certified process assessor and auditor. mailto:Francis.Dion@ProcessAcademy.ca.