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Welcome back to Ask the CMMI Appraiser for today’s installment of CMMI User Stories! We’ve been sharing excerpts from our recent study of what CMMI users really think about the CMMI. If you're just joining us, or would appreciate a recap, below are the first five questions we explored, followed by today's question.

Question #1: “Are projects more predictable with the CMMI?

Question #2: “Did you experience an increase in quality or performance?

Question #3: “Did you experience a decrease in defects?”

Question #4: “With the CMMI, are customers happier with your performance?”

Question #5: “Did you experience an ROI?”

Today we're highlighting Question #6:

Does your CMMI maturity level rating differentiate you from competitors?




74% of respondents felt that the CMMI differentiated them from the competition.

Likewise, there are many who adopt the CMMI for the marketing value of standing apart from the competition. We sought to understand the experience versus expectation of those who adopted the CMMI, relative to its ability to help them differentiate.

This question was asked for the first time in the current survey. Close to three-quarters of the respondents said yes, they felt having a maturity level differentiated them from their competitors.

Be sure to check back regularly as we share results of the CMMI User Story Report right here on Ask the CMMI Appraiser.

We’ve also made the information available in an eBook. If you would like to receive the complete set of user stories in the final Report, click here to access your free* copy.

*$9.99 on Amazon

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff has taught thousands of students in CMMI training classes and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about running a successful CMMI program.
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Dear Readers,

Welcome back to Ask the CMMI Appraiser for today’s installment of CMMI User Stories! We’ve been sharing excerpts from our recent study of what CMMI users really think about the CMMI.

Question #1: “Are projects more predictable with the CMMI?

Question #2: “Did you experience an increase in quality or performance?”

Question #3: “Did you experience a decrease in defects?

Today we're highlighting Question #4:

With the CMMI, are customers happier with your performance?


In a strong indicator that the CMMI is delivering on a core promise, sixty-one percent said yes, customers are happier with performance with CMMI, while only ten percent answered in the negative. We wonder whether those who “neither agree nor disagree” have taken any steps to gauge customer satisfaction.

Be sure to check back regularly as we share results of the CMMI User Story Report right here on Ask the CMMI Appraiser.

We’ve also made the information available in an eBook. If you would like to receive the complete set of user stories in the final Report, click here to access your free* copy.

*$9.99 on Amazon

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!
Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff has taught thousands of students in CMMI training classes and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about running a successful CMMI program.
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Welcome back to Ask the CMMI Appraiser for today’s installment of CMMI User Stories! We’ve been sharing excerpts from our recent study of what CMMI users really think about the CMMI.

Question #1: “Are projects more predictable with the CMMI?

Question #2: “Did you experience an increase in quality or performance?

Question #3: “Did you experience a decrease in defects?

Question #4: “With the CMMI, are customers happier with your performance?”

Question #5: “Did you experience an ROI?”

Question #6: “Does your maturity level rating differentiate you from competitors?”

Question #7: “Does your maturity level rating help you win new business?”

Today we're highlighting Question #8:

Was your SCAMPI Lead Appraiser easy to work with?



Organizations often report different experiences with different lead appraisers. We wanted to understand the level of satisfaction with the lead appraiser experience.

As in the previous survey, very few responded that their Lead Appraiser was not easy to work with, or did not know.

Be sure to check back regularly as we share results of the CMMI User Story Report right here on Ask the CMMI Appraiser.

We’ve also made the information available in an eBook. If you would like to receive the complete set of user stories in the final Report, click here to access your free* copy.

*$9.99 on Amazon

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff has taught thousands of students in CMMI training classes and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about running a successful CMMI program.
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Welcome back to Ask the CMMI Appraiser for today’s installment of CMMI User Stories! We’ve been sharing excerpts from our recent study of what CMMI users really think about the CMMI.

Question #1: “Are projects more predictable with the CMMI?

Question #2: “Did you experience an increase in quality or performance?

Question #3: “Did you experience a decrease in defects?

Question #4: “With the CMMI, are customers happier with your performance?”

Question #5: “Did you experience an ROI?”

Question #6: “Does your maturity level rating differentiate you from competitors?”

Question #7: “Does your maturity level rating help you win new business?”

Question #8: “Was your SCAMPI Lead Appraiser easy to work with?”

Today we're highlighting Question #9:

Was your experience with the CMMI harder than you expected?

Many organizations report that adoption of the CMMI can be quite complex and difficult. We wanted to understand if that difficulty exceeded the expectations of the organizations that adopt the CMMI.

This year there was a dramatic increase in respondents reporting that the experience of adopting CMMI was harder than expected – 74% (up from thirty-nine percent in 2012).

Be sure to check back regularly as we share results of the CMMI User Story Report right here on Ask the CMMI Appraiser.

We’ve also made the information available in an eBook. If you would like to receive the complete set of user stories in the final Report, click here to access your free* copy.

*$9.99 on Amazon

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff has taught thousands of students in CMMI training classes and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about running a successful CMMI program.
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Most of you know that I'm passionate about CMMI, but did you know it can have an astounding effect on your career?

Think about it. If a young PM or Engineer, right out of college, walks into a company on his first day, what does she know about the most important things? Nothing.  And a veteran of a few years may be an expert in his or her own area, but what about the others?  Probably not.

I'm not talking about coding  or creating a workplan.  Those are easy. The hard part is dealing with requirements, validation, code reviews, design, training, and, most of all, culture.  Those make a professional.  And the CMMI has all that.

The CMMI is a great reference for all of those.  And it provides a solid framework, with examples and samples, for the TOTAL set of skills required to deliver a product or service.

Estimating, planning, risks, issues, requirements elicitation and management, validation, design, coding, testing, code reviews, code control, integration, and managing all of that process - whew!  That's a lot.

In fact, you might say he'd end up being a "CMMI Badass" if he gets enough CMMI Training and becomes an expert.  Check out the video here:


For more on becoming a CMMI Badass, check out www.cmmibadass.com

Jeff Dalton is the author of The Guide to Scrum and CMMI and Great Big Agile: an OS for Agile Leaders.  He is also a CMMI SCAMPI Lead Appraiser and CMMI Instructor.



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What are the continuous assurance auditing activities that the organization will need to implement to help achieve CMMI Level 3


The word "auditing" doesn't appear in the model, other than "configuration audits."

The CMMI’s Process Area “Process and Product Quality Assurance” in v1.3, and “Process Quality Assurance” in V2.0, provide the primary guidance in the CMMI for continuous quality evaluations.

PPQA/PQA calls for “Objective Evaluation” of Processes and Work Products
(SP1.1 and SP1.2), and then management of the remediation, data collection, and corrections (SP2.1 and SP2.2).

In addition, the CMMI calls for a clear policy, resources, training, metrics, improvement, tailoring, and evaluation of the process/performance itself.

In this context, “Process” is behavior, and “Work Products” are artifacts/systems. You can’t perform these activities by just looking at documents - you’ll need to observe, interview, or talk with people.

As to scope, frequency, and duration, it depends on the context. Complex, high-risk projects should have broad, frequent evaluations, whereas long-term static programs probably can do something lighter.

The key to success on this is to focus on “how” people are doing their work. This is the most likely thing to help you success (or fail).

Good luck!

Jeff Dalton is author of Great Big Agile: An OS for Agile Leaders, and is a CMMI SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, AgileCxO Assessor, and Leadership Coach.
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[Dear Readers, I've been having fun on Quora lately participating in community discussions, and reposting responses to my blog.  Enjoy!]

What are the most important interpersonal skills needed for working on an Agile team?


One of the reasons “Agile” has grown so quickly is because companies, especially in IT, were heaping processes and oversight onto knowledge workers so heavily that it caused a backlash. People were anxious to throw off that oppression, and the popularity of agile represented an opportunity to really change - for the first time.

Managers have been preaching about “empowerment” and “pushing decision making down” for decades, but the processes they have been mandating had the opposite affect.

When Agile started to become popular in the early 2000s, it was because people were hungry for an environment that focuses on people over processes, and part of that was an acknowledgment that certain behavioral characteristic were critical towards achieving a vision of empowerment, autonomy, and self-organization.

Some of those characteristics are:
  • Trust people’s good intentions
  • Every interaction is about learning
  • Do what you have to do to please the customer
  • Support your other team members and help them be successful
  • Don’t manage people, collaborate with them
  • Succeed in small increments
  • Be willing to change everything you thought you knew when you learn

So, the interpersonal skills should align with the list above - be a trusting, supportive, and learning team members that doesn’t dig in and insist they know everything. You’ll be fine if you do that!

Jeff Dalton is author of Great Big Agile: An OS for Agile Leaders, and is a CMMI SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, AgileCxO Assessor, and Leadership Coach.
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[Dear Readers, I've been having fun on Quora lately participating in community discussions, and reposting responses to my blog.  Enjoy!]

What is SSOT in Agile Software Development?

SSOT = Single Source of Truth. 
It’s not an Agile thing, it’s a data warehousing/DBMS concept that has been around for decades, although lately we’ve been seeing Agile practitioners referring to it as “agile.”  While the creation, maintenance, and operations of the SSOT could be performed in an agile way (and should be), SSOT was not borne Agile movement.
It’s simply the “trusted data source,” or the source data for an organization’s various databases that is subject to a sufficient level of scrutiny, process, and testing to ensure reliability.  In the SSOT, each data element can only be stored one time, eliminating redundancy and chance for errors.
Like good leadership, team cohesion, good customer relationships, and experimentation, it’s been around a lot longer than the Agile manifesto has been around.

Jeff Dalton is author of Great Big Agile: An OS for Agile Leaders, and is a CMMI SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, AgileCxO Assessor, and Leadership Coach.
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Welcome back to Ask the CMMI Appraiser for today’s installment of CMMI User Stories!

If you missed the previous posts about the new CMMI User Stories Report, we took a different approach to measuring the success of CMMI adoption. We asked: What do potential adopters and end-users really want to know? What perceptions do adopters, stakeholders, sponsors, shareholders, and customers have? What was their experience with the CMMI?

In the end, over 70 CMMI Users told us what they really think about the CMMI. Their stories are below.

Question #1: “Are projects more predictable with the CMMI?

Question #2: “Did you experience an increase in quality or performance?

Today we're highlighting Question #3:

Did you experience a decrease in defects?


The CMMI provides guidelines for deploying processes and improvements that lead to improving product quality and reducing defects. We wanted to understand whether organizations actually experienced these benefits through their adoption of the CMMI.

Over two-thirds of the respondents said yes, defects had decreased. Fewer than ten percent said, no, defects had not decreased. Twenty-two percent neither agreed nor disagreed. Surprisingly, the ambivalent response was selected three times more this year than in 2012.

Be sure to check back regularly as we share results of the CMMI User Story Report right here on Ask the CMMI Appraiser.

We’ve also made the information available in an eBook. If you would like to receive the complete set of user stories in the final Report, click here to access your free* copy.

*$9.99 on Amazon

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff has taught thousands of students in CMMI training classes and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about running a successful CMMI program.
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Welcome back to Ask the CMMI Appraiser for today’s installment of CMMI User Stories!

If you missed the previous posts, we’ve responded to the demand for information in the industry ("What does the market think about the CMMI today?") by sharing our study of what CMMI users really think about the CMMI. The first question was: “Are projects more predictable with the CMMI?

Today we're highlighting Question #2:

Did you experience an increase in quality or performance?


The great strength of the CMMI is that it provides organizations with guidelines for increasing performance and improving the quality of product and services. With a market that often focuses on achieving a “level,” we sought to understand whether organizations actually achieved improvements in performance and quality.

A healthy eighty-four percent of respondents said they improved in these areas (up from eighty percent in 2012).

Be sure to check back regularly as we share results of the CMMI User Story Report right here on Ask the CMMI Appraiser.

We’ve also made the information available in an eBook. If you would like to receive the complete set of user stories in the final Report, click here to access your free* copy.


Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff has taught thousands of students in CMMI training classes and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about running a successful CMMI program.
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