Mature or capable: What really works? Volwassen of Capabel: Wat werkt nu echt?Mogna eller kapabla: Vad är det som verkligen fungerar?Reif oder kompetent: Was wirklich funktioniert?
Organizations want to mature their IT or R&D software development and do that by using CMMI for example. They set a goal: we have to get at CMMI level 3! And expect that their employees do whatever they can to achieve that goal. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always go like that. Why do you want to mature, “what’s in it for me” is the question an employee will ask himself. What does work is the improvement of skills, by helping employees to become more capable. The CMMI continuous with CMMI Roadmaps makes this possible.
For improving the software development, the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) is a de facto standard. The results of improvement using this model has been measured for year, which has proven that applying the CMMI can contribute to better product quality, lower costs and shorter development times (see the Software Engineering Information Repository). This data is mostly related to CMMI maturity levels. This suggests you that in order to achieve results with the CMMI, the maturity level of your organisation needs to get higher.
Getting mature, why would you want that?
For the parents among us, do you remember those moments when you said to your children “to get mature already”, “grow up please”! Your child could not do anything with that, right? “Being mature, what is that, and why do I want that? It sound really scary, and probably there will be a lot of stuff that I’m not allowed to do anymore. So no, getting mature, I’m not doing that” your child will think. Getting mature is vague, too general and therefore you’ll get resistance when you’re asking somebody to get mature. Showing children how to do thing (differently) is most of times more effective. It requires a bit more time, but at least you will achieve something by it.
In organizations, it is often similar like this. The management states CMMI level 2 or 3 as a target and expect that everybody will give their best to achieve this. Practice is more stubborn, employees wonder what CMMI level 2 or 3 is and why you would want that? The changes that are necessary to reach the maturity level are diverse, large and due to the complexity it is hard to oversee thing for the individual employee. They associate CMMI with bureaucracy, rigidity, complicated processes and “concrete jackets” and don’t see the point in that. They will cooperate und pressure (“we have to do it”), but that isn’t an effective way of improving. Let alone to secure changes and continuous improvement.
Fortunately, the creators of the CMMI have thought about maturity or capability. After all, the CMMI supports both organizational maturity and process capability. Maturity involves maturity levels 1 to 5 of the organisation, whereby the model is used in a “staged” shape. This is the best famous, classic approach. Process capability involves skills in the implementation of processes, i.e. being capable as an organisation and employees using the “continuous representation” of the CMMI. Next to that, the organisation can choose to pursue a higher capability for certain process areas. For example, from the goals they have set themselves, the way they want to distinguish themselves from the competitors.
Being Capable, which feels better!
A focus on organizational maturity, for example, by working to higher CMMI maturity levels can help an organisation to be better controllable and therefore avoid surprises. But a higher maturity level does not lead automatically to lower costs, shorter lead or better products. I prefer giving attention to being capable as an organisation and her employees, whereby you consciously choose from the organisation’s strategy for key processes and invest in it. The relationship improvement – the result is clear and can also be made more visible. Which increases the commitment and motivation of the employees and therefore most likely more committed to contribute. After all, people do want to change but do not want to be changed by somebody else. Learning people by experience, it has to come from themselves. These roadmaps are a targeted approach of the CMMI to effectively applying specific process areas of organisation improvement, which increase the organisation’s and her employees’ capacities.
For organisations that wants to make a transition to Agile, there is a People CMM roadmap for implementing agile. This roadmap helps organisations to increase the capacities and skills of their employees, and to learn them how they can manage and improve themselves.
Improving and maintenance, how to do that?
Organisations recognize the need to improve continuously, but actually doing it is difficult for many. Effective applying the CMMI requires skills in the Software Process Improvement (SPI), process improvement has many pitfalls (and of course solutions). There isevidence that Agile works, but this is also not a silver bullet.By giving attention to the successes of Scrum you increase the chances of permanent improvement.
The most recent version, CMMI V1.3, helps organisations which work with Agile to get more out of the CMMI. To ensure changes, the CMMI has 10 “generic practices”. My experience is that when you train, coach and guide people well, they learn new skills by doing it and therefor become capable in their work field. Think of your employees as professionals and not as a resource,and be amazed by the results!
And what when it goes wrong, is that so bad?You can learn from your mistakes (also from things that went good by the way, bychanging from within your strengths);once bitten twice shy. Organisation improvement is not an exact science, our manifesto to change helps to discover better ways. With a solution focus, you can experience the strengths of employees and use them. In short, there are many ways to improve continuously with small steps and thus increase the results of the R&D/IT.
Don’t get to mature, but stay capable, that works!