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Introduction to CMMI “update”

October 6, 2010

The new version of the SEI “Introduction to CMMI for Development” has been shown. The updates are largely superficial: graphics have been tidied up, meaning that someone has spent a lot of time recreating the graphics that were in the previous version of the course. Exercises have been shuffled about and a new case study has been included to help explain the concepts. The case study is about a high-end financially successful world-leader business trying to break through in the cheap mass-market…

Otherwise, the course will still require to plow through some 500 slides showing every practice of every process area and leaving precious little time to explain the structure or the principles of the model or how to use it – to correct the pressures of time related to the additional slides, elements such as equivalent staging have been removed (“equivalent staging” is the relationship between the rating method of both staged and the continuous representations, which is becoming more important in the new SCAMPI approach and has helped a majority of my students understand the benefits of using a combined approach – note that the combination of the two representations is still recommended, it’s just that we don’t explain why).

The development team has been primariy US-centric, meaning that there is a renewed emphasis on having US-centric examples and vocabulary. Hopefully some of the more obvious mistakes will be corrected before it is released (the sentences that make no sense, the explanation that you need to satisfy generic goals and practices done before explaining what they are, the slide that says that the process is the glue that holds together the process and others).

Lessons learnt in creation of the “Introduction to CMMI for Services” were lost or ignored by the developers of this course, which is a shame.

Of course, we cannot be too upset at the developers of this course because, they stressed that they had very little time and no funds to do this update, were volunteers, the team only ever met twice, etc. In other words, the SEI is claiming that this was the best they could do because they have not respected any of the level 2 generic practices. This is a level 1 organization explaining how to teach process improvement, and using the fact that they are level 1 as an excuse for not having done a good job.

All instructors are required to use all the material and perform all the exercises in the course. Anyone wanting to participate in an appraisal is required to attend this course.

This has definitely been the low-point of the v.1.3 release announcements this week.

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