The TMMi Framework

PatYou’re probably all familiar with the CMMI, a process improvement model that can be applied to a project, division or entire organization. Organizations using CMMI benefit from more predictable timelines, better use of resources and enhanced quality of services and products.

At DCG, we offer an ADM Optimization Solution that utilizes CMMI, as well as an Introduction to CMMI training course.

However, the model doesn’t give much attention to testing, despite the fact that testing accounts for 30-40 percent of a project’s costs. If testing isn’t efficient and well-managed, it can negatively impact a project, as well as an organization’s brand and competitive positioning.

The Test Maturity Model Integration (TMMi), governed by the TMMi Foundation, is a process improvement model, but it is focused only on testing. TMMi complements CMMI by increasing the focus on testing and not just on the engineering aspects of development. TMMi is structured much like CMMI with Process Areas and Maturity Levels. But, just like CMMI, you can implement those practices which will provide value to your organization, if a rating is not desired.

We’d like to know more about your knowledge regarding the TMMi. Have you heard of it? Do you think it’s useful? Do you think it would benefit your organization?

Yes or no, we’d like to hear from you! Please take our 4-question survey to share your thoughts about the model.

Take the survey now.

As a thank you for your participation, your name will be entered in a drawing for a $50.00 Amazon gift card.

DCG is now a provider of TMMi services via our Test Optimization Solution. If you're interested in learning more about TMMi, I will be co-hosting a webinar on the topic on June 18. If you have any questions about the model, please let me know or attend the webinar and be sure to ask them then!

Register now.

Pat Eglin
Consultant, CMMI Instructor, TMMi Service Provider

Written by Default at 08:00
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5 CMMI Myths

PatEglinIn my opinion, CMMI still gets a bad rap sometimes. People who have been in development a long time remember the days where the model implementations were heavy, tedious and document-driven. Times have changed and so has the model. But there are those who still have misconceptions about what the model is and how it works.

Here are the top 5 CMMI Myths that still exist:

Myth 1: The model is only for software development

There are 3 constellations of the model; CMMI-SVCS, CMMI-ACQ and CMMI-DEV. Many people’s minds will automatically jump to software when they hear the word “development,” but there is more to the world than software. Sure, software may be used in just about everything we touch these days, but you also have to develop the product the software will operate.

If you look at the categories in the CMMI: Support, Process, Project and Engineering, you may struggle with the Support and Engineering categories over the others. Support process areas cover the configuration of your product, making key decisions on your product, measuring your status against your plans and goals and determining if you are following your processes. None of these areas scream software.

Now, keep an open mind and think “Engineering.” When you create a widget, do you have requirements for that widget (it has to be green, it has to be smaller than 5x10, etc.)? Wouldn’t you design what that widget is going to look like and then build the widget? I would hope that you would test your new widget before releasing it to unsuspecting purchasers of your widget. The requirements, design, development and test of your widget fall under Engineering, and we didn’t even have to build software!  

Myth 2: Process needs to be heavy

Years ago most process people were of the mindset that process needed to include everything, even the kitchen sink, for it to be complete. But, over the last several years it has become more acceptable to create a reasonably sized process and still have it be not only useful, but also complete.

Answer the questions, “Who is doing it,” “What are they doing,” “When are they doing it (include the output and communication),” and “What are they doing with it?,” and you have provided the users with all the information they need. It is difficult to write for every single scenario that could arise, so DON’T. Allow resources to identify any special circumstances for their projects and move on.

Myth 3: The model will dictate “how” I do my job

The CMMI tells you what the best practices are and therefore “WHAT” you should do. Determining how to do it is up to your individual organization. No two companies are exactly the same and neither are their processes. Processes should be based on what works for your organization and nothing else.

Myth 4: I will have to change how I work

You might have to change how you work, yes, but change is not always a bad thing. I always recommend that the proper process development and implementation start with documenting what you currently do and then reviewing that against CMMI and determining the areas for improvement.

Areas of improvement may be things that you are not currently doing but should be doing. In some cases, the gap may be minor, which would have minimal impact on the change required. But sometimes change is necessary to move forward. I’ve had clients say, “I know it’s broken, but I’ve been doing it like that for years.” My response is usually something along the lines of, “Would you like your life to be easier?” Sometimes changing how you do things can make your life easier.

Myth 5: CMMI does NOT work in an Agile lifecycle

This is a discussion I love to have. For all those naysayers out there, Agile does not mean no process; it just means a different process. You still have a process to govern how your Agile teams will work. For instance, what Agile methodologies are being used? How long is an iteration? Who owns the product backlog? How are estimates completed? I could go on and on.

Now, most people will argue about CMMI making the projects produce an output of the process, and this is true, CMMI will want evidence of completion. BUT remember, nowhere in the model will it tell you what the evidence has to be, that is up to you. Think outside the box. I have many clients who will use post-it notes, whiteboards and a wall to capture the backlogs. Based on where the post-it is on the wall you can determine a task’s status. They capture the evidence by taking a picture and storing it on the document repository. Documentation problem solved!  Be creative and find solutions, but don’t walk away from the best practices of CMMI because of Agile.

Any other CMMI myths out there? Please share them in the comments!

Patricia Eglin
Process Improvement/Measurement Specialist, Certified Introduction to CMMI Instructor and Six Sigma Green Belt

Written by Michael D. Harris at 07:00
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Is It Time for a CMMI Re-appraisal?

PeglinAs the holidays fall upon us and the year winds down, we’re often too busy finishing up our 2012 tasks to consider what awaits us in the following year. Save yourself some trouble and start planning now! Remember to look at the expiration date of your CMMI assessment and see how close you are to the 3-year expiration date.

Now, I am as much a procrastinator as the next guy, but let us not forget that there is planning involved in preparing for a SCAMPI appraisal. A gap analysis needs to happen to ensure no slippage, consultants need to be contracted, projects need to be selected and SCAMPIs scheduled. All in all, it takes most organizations almost a full year of planning to prepare for the “renewal” appraisal… not to mention to get the line items in the budget.

We encourage all of our clients (and everyone else!) to avoid a gap in their ratings, so it’s important to plan ahead so that the appraisals overlap. Is it required that no gaps occur? No. But, we recommend it and we’re here to help!

In fact, DCG is proud to say that we have recently helped CCH Canadian Limited achieve their Maturity Level 2 for the 3rd time running. Way to go guys!!

If you need help preparing for your re-appraisal – or if you have any CMMI questions – please leave a comment below!


Patricia Eglin
Process Improvement/Measurement Specialist, Certified Introduction to CMMI Instructor and Six Sigma Green Belt

Written by Michael D. Harris at 09:00
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Business case for better software practices

I came across an excellent summary by Steve McConnell of the benefits of software process improvement, Business Case for Better Software Practices

A key differentiator, and justification for looking at the article, is Steve's inclusion of examples and numbers.  Interestingly, Steve also uses this article to introduce the concept of "rightshifting." Bob Marshall is a good source if you are interested in following the Rightshifting thread or you can view a video introduction to Rightshifting by Bob and Grant Rule. 

Finally, you can look at our own approach to Rightshifting effectiveness. Please share if you know of any other good Rightshifting resources!  

Mike Harris
DCG President

Written by Michael D. Harris at 12:44
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SEPG 2013: Have you heard? The conference has been postponed.

imageWith the transition of CMMI from the SEI to the new division under Carnegie Mellon (unofficially named, but currently being referred to as Level 5), the decision has been made to postpone the SEPG conference scheduled for March of 2013.

This decision in no way is an indication of trouble ahead. In fact, it is my opinion that this is a good move. The transition of CMMI is slated to occur December 2012 and the conference was scheduled for March – that’s not a lot of time to organize a large conference.

The SEPG is a big event and will be the first one for the new organization, so it’s important to get it right. The success (or failure) of the first “major” event of a new organization is going to set the tone for its attendees on how capable the new organization is of governing the model. That is why I think it is a great move to postpone the conference until everything is in place and everyone is prepared to execute the best event possible.

As much as I was looking forward to going to Orlando in March when it will be cold at home, I think getting it right is more important.

Stay tuned and we will keep you posted as more information becomes available.


Patricia Eglin
Process Improvement/Measurement Specialist, Certified Introduction to CMMI Instructor and Six Sigma Green Belt

Written by Michael D. Harris at 08:00
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"It's frustrating that there are so many failed software projects when I know from personal experience that it's possible to do so much better - and we can help." 
- Mike Harris, DCG Owner

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