We provide professional guidance for business executives, software developers, and project support personnel who are responsible for creating and delivery value to customers by delivering systems and software. We strongly believe that the process any business adopts determines the quality of its products and services. CMMI is based on building capabilities.
A capability is anything your business does that brings desired results.
What is CMMI?
We help our customers adopt best practices to ensure they enjoy measurable improvements in performance. Illustrative example benefits include:. Through the strategies CMMI offers for managing projects, technology, and people, your team will be empowered to build processes and skills that lead to business success. Efficient supplier management will also increase the cost efficiency of any products or services you outsource. For software and systems development teams, our CMMI process improvement and training programs help raise efficiency and improve software and systems quality.
Implementing the Data Maturity Model (DMM)
The development and use of a maturity model were considered elements of a larger project. In fact, they were designed to support the implementation and help ensure that the ROI targets were met by identifying gaps or weaknesses in processes that impact the bottom line. Perhaps it is more common for an organization to consider the ROI as a metric for the project to develop and use a maturity model, not the overall use of project management. In such a scenario, the promise of ROI is based on the presumption that the assessment will identify areas for improvement, and that making those improvements will yield measurable results on the bottom line.
Clearly, to come to a positive ROI in such a system requires that the benefits from the improvements be greater than the cost of creating and using the maturity model. Additionally, it is reasonable to presume that at the upper ends of maturity, there is a diminishing return for the effort. Therefore, before embarking on such a project, organizations must try to consider the room for improvement that exists. In essence, this amounts to a rough, self-assessment, prior to a proper assessment. An organization that is already quite advanced in its project management practices may not have enough room for improvement that the impact to the bottom line will cover the costs of creating the maturity model, depending on volume of activity, profit margins, costs, etc.
Organizations that are young and lacking in process maturity are likely to benefit so significantly from such an assessment that the costs are easily covered. For example, at BNYCS, where the use of a maturity model was an element of an initiative to implement a project management office, the number of gaps in the processes provided the organization plenty of opportunity to impact the bottom line—resulting in a positive ROI. As nice as it is to report a positive ROI, it is not always the measure of project success.
As is true for all projects, in the development and use of a maturity model, it is important to identify the measures of success.
Ideally, the measures of success can be derived from the business drivers and goals. It is particularly important to interview the executive sponsor of the engagement to identify the measures of success. These measures, whenever possible, should be tangible. A fuzzy or vague measure of success will leave both parties at risk. For the consulting group, the risk is that the customer will be left unsatisfied, even when the project appeared to be a success.
For the contracting organization, the risk is that an important business deliverable will be missed, causing frustration with the engagement. To safeguard both parties, it is important to have clear and measurable goals that can be used as the ultimate measures of success. For both parties, it is also beneficial if the measures of success are tied to the organizational strategy and goals, thus yielding the most value and impact to the organization.
Capability Maturity Model (CMM)
For the executive sponsor, the engagement for the maturity model should be viewed as a flagship project. The success of this project will impact the success of all projects that support the company mission, and having ownership of such a significant influence on the organization is both an awesome responsibility and a grand opportunity. An executive sponsor who is wary enough to link the ROI of this engagement to the ROI to all subsequent projects can leverage this success for significant political play.
Similarly, for the consulting agency in the engagement, understanding the link between the maturity model engagement and the whole of strategic initiatives at the company brings its own benefit. The consulting agency can assist the executive sponsor in recognizing these links, thus enabling the executive sponsor to maximize recognition for the impact of the project. Additionally, by linking their work to the success of the other projects in the client organization, the consultants establish themselves as preferred providers—even though the ultimate goal of their work is to help the organization evolve to such a level of maturity that outside consultants are not needed for their knowledge.
With all of these considerations, combined with the results of the interviews throughout the organization, the Whittman-Hart consultants were able to develop the maturity model for BNYCS see Exhibit 3. Within each of these categories are subprocesses that are evaluated. For each of these sub-processes, the model includes a description of the activities and procedures that are characteristic of an organization performing at each level of maturity.
The development of the questions should be considered as important as the development of the model itself. If the questions are not properly reflective of the elements in the model, they will yield responses that skew the results. Furthermore, poor construction of the questions could confuse the interviewees who participate in the assessment. Not only is the content of the question important, but also the language selection for the questions should be consistent with the remainder of the questions, the maturity model, the project management methodology documents and organizational procedures.
This consistency helps to ensure accurate reporting on the subject matter of the question. Once the questions for the assessment have been constructed, another consideration is the audience of interviewees. Therefore, the list of interviewees should include representatives from across the organization. However, there is some latitude in the selection of which departments and teams should be represented in the group of interviewees. The selection of representatives can skew the results, so care should be taken to not select interviewees because they are the most likely to provide high scoring answers.
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Instead, the leadership of the organization should determine which areas of the company are involved in or affected by project management. It is these areas that should be represented for the assessment. This process of selecting the scope of the assessment and the corresponding interviewees is not uncommon to maturity assessments. With the CMM, it is possible to have a scope that includes the entire organization, a single department, or even a single project. Thus, the organization has some flexibility in determining the collection of interviewees.
The only caveat to this statement is that a model that is developed for the overall organization might include questions on processes that reflect specific departments such as Human Resources. If the model includes such process categories, then the pool of interviewees should include representatives from those areas of the company. For an organization that undertakes the initiative of developing and using a maturity model, the work does not end once the assessment is complete.
Although it is true that an organization may have had a goal of achieving a particular level on the chosen model, and that may give cause for celebration.
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But to see that as the end would be to miss out on some of the opportunity. Here, the use of a maturity model should not be seen as a project, as much as a program. At this time, the organization can begin to embrace an ongoing process of assessments, analysis, improvement plans, assessments, analysis, improvement plans, etc. Although it is possible that an organization would make the decision that pursuit of higher levels is not worth the implementation cost, it is still valuable to the organization to use the model as a tool to monitor process maturity and ensure it has not slipped.
Therefore, the maturity model becomes a tool for ongoing management of processes throughout the organization. An additional comment should be made regarding the dynamic nature of custom maturity models, as opposed to the static nature of industry standard models. These elements are subject to change, making the model subject to change. Especially in the Financial Services Industry, or any other industry where change is so common and broad in scope, it is not uncommon for an organization to experience a merger or acquisition that dramatically changes the nature of the business.
An organization that is basically a cost-center or department of a larger parent company can become an independent corporation almost overnight. The focus of the organization can shift from cost effective service to aggressive product development and marketing. In such a case, the expectations of project management will change, and the maturity model—if it is to help achieve organizational success—must accommodate the paradigm shift of the organization.
Therefore, the long-term use of the maturity model should include a review process, designed to reaffirm the alignment with the organization and make any necessary modification.
The next steps in the process for any organization using a custom project management maturity model are much the same as they would be for using any maturity model. Following an assessment of the organization using the model, identify the gaps or areas for improvement, create a plan to implement changes and reassess after the changes were implemented.
The organization should consider the continued use of the model, either for monitoring existing levels of maturity or continuing to advance toward new goals in maturity.
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These decisions should be based on the needs of the organization, the value that the subsequent changes have on the organization, and the ability of the organization to make the necessary changes. Despite the lack of standard, more and more project management practitioners are beginning to embrace the value of maturity models.
As a result of this interest, there is an increasing amount of text published on the subject every month, ranging from articles, to conference presentations, to books. The use of maturity models is growing in popularity, and this newfound attention benefits practitioners at all levels. For those who are already using maturity models, the new volume of opinions and theories provides a pool of information, from which best practices emerge. As this proliferation of knowledge about maturity models continues, it is perceivable that some day, the use of maturity models will be a common element of any project management office, thus making it required knowledge for all project managers.
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