Archive for July, 2010

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CMMI vs Agile?

July 5, 2010

This past week, the SEPG Europe conference was held in Porto (Portugal). A significant amount of presentations and discussions were held on the combination of CMMI-style processes with agile methods. For the largest part, these presentations all said that the two approaches, which are traditionally seen as being at opposite extremes, are completely compatible and benefit from each other if implemented correctly.

Someone who had participated in a number of Agile conferences told me on the last day how impressed he was at the acceptance of Agile by the CMMI community and how he was surprised at the manner in which we were all encouraging a reasonable implementation of a match between the two. The Agile community, he said, refuses to hear anything about CMMI and process and do not allow participation of process people in their conferences. A (very cynical?) consultant immediately responded that this was typical of the SEI trying to embrace, then choke the life out of something they saw as a commercial threat.

I am probably an optimist who tends to believe that people are being honest and constructive until proven otherwise, but I found both these attitudes disappointing.

First, I am disappointed in the insularity of the agile community who do not want to open the dialogue. I have trouble understanding how a community that claims to focus on communication and accepting change would not be interested in hearing more about what other people are doing.

Secondly, I am disappointed in the concept that someone would believe the SEI is trying to take over or destroy the Agile community. I do not believe they have the power to do this but, largely, I believe that the SEI and the CMMI community in general is trying to bridge the gap and demonstrate that applying one set of theories intelligently does not automatically rule out another.

I sincerely hope that (soon) the two communities will work together under the understanding that we are all trying to deploy good products, to the maximum benefit of our users and customers, with the least effort and rework possible.

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