Tag Archives: SVC

CMMI® – Constellations, Representations and some food for thought

In presentations, training or orientation sessions on CMMI® the topic of constellations and representations does come up for discussions (even if the presenter wants to avoid it :-)). I have in the past, found that the standard material on these topics has not always helped people understand and remember the concepts. The people, who I believed understood the concepts, surprised me later with a question or a comment that indicated otherwise. Till the time I hit upon an analogy that is easy to understand and easier to remember. And it is related to food.

I will use the example of a restaurant called Celesti-yummiNYTM (the restaurant owner fancies it as trans-galactic gastronomic delight). It has a menu that features three kitchens – food representing three different regions of the universe. One from the Devphinus constellation, another from the Severus constellation and the third from the Aquirius constellation.Restaurant Board

Each constellation (kitchen) serves a set of dishes – Devphinus has 22 dishes, Severus serves 24 dishes and Aquirius presents 22 dishes. These are all listed in Celesti-yummiNYTM menu card. Each kitchen-constellation has also created a recipe booklet that is publicly available, for free (however, fancy, bound versions are priced). People and outer-world aliens can use the recipe books to prepare the dishes, as long as they keep acknowledging the intellectual property and trademark ownership of Celesti-yummiNYTM.

(Digression: There may be another category of sapient beings called “earthly aliens”, since immigration counters in some airports have separate queues for such creatures. When I stand in such queues, I hope to quickly complete the formalities before someone like Ellen Ripley notices me. For more information on Ellen Ripley and how she handles Alien species, see the Wikipedia page here. 🙂 : End of Digression)

Let us now examine the menu card of Celesti-yummiNYTM. As explained before, each kitchen-constellation has a list of dishes (22 to 24 dishes). Each dish comes in three sizes – Small (CL1), Medium (CL2), and Large (CL3). From a kitchen, you may choose any number of the dishes, and specify the size of each dish (small, medium or large). This kind of order, for some reason, is called a “continuous” order by Celesti-yummiNYTM (which many restaurants call as an al-a-carte order), though there is nothing continuous about it.

Dish Sizes

In addition to the 22 to 24 dishes offered in 3 sizes, each kitchen-constellation also offers fixed meals (pre-plated meals or thalis).  There is a mini-meal (ML2), a midi-meal (ML3), a maxi-meal (ML4) and a mega-meal (ML5) that you can order from each kitchen. These fixed meals have a pre-decided set of dishes (a sub-set of the 22 to 24 dishes) at pre-decided sizes, with some very small variations. These fixed meals are called “Staged” meals.

For example, if you order the mini-meal (ML2) from the Devphinus kitchen menu you will get seven dishes, all of the medium (CL2) size. You have no choice in the matter. The only exception is for the dish called “Sammy’s Fav” which you can decline, provided you have a doctor’s certificate that you are allergic to some of the ingredients. You cannot decline any other dish. Nor can you change the size of the dishes if you order a fixed meal. Similarly the midi-meal (ML3) from Devphinus, will contain eighteen dishes, all of the Large (CL3) size. Again, you can decline the dish called Sammy’s Fav, with a doctor’s certificate. The mega-meal (ML5) from Devphinus will see a large platter with all their 22 dishes (and, you can still decline Sammy’s Fav, with appropriate justification).


There are similar fixed meals with minor variations in the other two kitchen-constellations.

One warning – there are dishes with same or similar names offered by the three kitchen-constellations. Some are called “core” dishes and some are called “shared” dishes. Don’t be fooled by the names and the terminology. They taste significantly different (because of the way they are cooked, raw material, and interaction with the other dishes), though they are called by the same/ similar names. For example, the dish called “Risque-Salad” (offered by all the three kitchen and hence called a core dish) will look and taste significantly different, becuase of the ingradients, presentation, and seasoning.


There ends the explanation of constellations, representations (staged/ continuous),  core/shared PAs, ML/CL, etc.

Please feel free to add your variation and flavour to this explanation (use the comment feature)

Other related posts uploaded on the same blog:

NYTM– Celesti-yummi is Not Yet Trade Marked 😉

I am Rajesh Naik. I am an author, management consultant and trainer, helping IT and other tech companies improve their processes and performance. I also specialize in CMMI® (DEV and SVC), People CMM® and Balanced Scorecard. I am a CMMI Institute certified/ authorized Instructor and Lead Appraiser for CMMI® and People CMM®. I am available on LinkedIn and I will be glad to accept your invite. For more information please click here.

Institutionalization in CMMI® and People CMM®: Converting a practice to a habit

The word “institutionalization” is a mouthful, a tongue twister. If it was a requirement that every employee be able to pronounce word correctly for a successful appraisal result (for CMMI®/ People CMM®), the number of successfully appraised entities would have been far fewer than what they are now :-).

The concept of institutionalization is explicitly embedded in the CMMI® and People CMM® models. In fact, approximately half the practices in every one of the models are dedicated to institutionalization, so it is necessary to internalize this concept to successfully implement the models.

So, what is institutionalization? It is many related things, but the easiest and the most comprehensive explanation is that it is “making a practice into a habit”. Hence, when a practice (like submitting monthly project status reports to all stakeholders by the 5th of every month) becomes a habit with the organization, we can say that the practice is “institutionalized”. Organizations are not born with habits (nor are human beings). So, how do some practices become habits? Or more importantly, what can we do to make certain desirable practices into habits?

Let us use an example at a personal level to understand what we can do to convert a desirable practice into a habit.

Doctor CheckupYou are overweight. You are unfit. You get tired before you climb one flight of stairs. (You get the picture.) Your doctor has advised more exercise (than just using the TV remote). He has been telling this to you for the last few years; you make a New Year resolution every year, which does not last more than a few days. This year your doc has given you some kind of ultimatum “shape up or else!”

ScalesSo, now you not only want to lose those excess kilograms (1 kilogram = approximately 2.2 Pounds, for those who still resist the metric system :-)), but want to make regular exercise a habit. Here is a combination of things that is will increase the probability of regular exercise become a habit.

OathFirstly, as an individual you need to build up a great amount of motivation to achieve fitness. The motivation needs to be higher than your motivation for “one more helping”, “15 minutes more of watchingGym the TV”, etc. You need a deep conviction, an inner resolution, a personal commitment, a personal vision/ policy, an oath to oneself. Something like, “come what may, I will do the required exercises at least 25 days in a month.”

Next, you will have to study the alternatives that are available – should you join a gym? Should you join a batch at the gym, or be on your own? Should you go to the gym in the morning or evening? PlanShould have a different exercise program every day? Should the weekend be different? Based on the initial investigation and thinking, you will make a high level plan.

Let us say, you decide to join a batch of people like you in a neighborhood gym. The batch meets everyResources morning at 6 AM and is led by 2 instructors. Now you need money to enroll in the gym and the program. You will need the right set of clothes and shoes. And many such resources, including time; time to reach the gym, time to do the exercise and time to go back home (or wherever) after the program every day.

ShareTo free you up for the daily gym sessions, new responsibilities will need to be taken up, and existing responsibilities may have to be redistributed. Who will drop the kids to school? Who will wake you up? Who is going to water the plants? Who will wash the car now? If you are going to reach your workplace later by half an hour every day, who will stand in for you for that half an hour? In addition to assigning the responsibilities, you (along with others) will possibly need to rearrange and plan out many other impacted activities.

ProcessLet us get back to the daily gym. The instructors will have a standard process that they have chalked out to for the group. Based on your situation they may tweak the standard to define a tailored process/ program for you.

TrainerThe instructors will be constantly watching, coaching and guiding you to make sure that you don’t overdo it or take it too easy. They will also try to ensure that you don’t hurt yourself. So, they will keep providing you necessary training as you progress.

InventoryOn a regular basis you will have to keep track of some important items related to your daily gym-ing. For example, you need to make sure that you have shoes and sock and tee-shirts and shorts washed at the right time. Your gym membership card/ usage may have to kept safe and updated on a regular basis. Basically, you will need to maintain control of the important items, so that you don’t end up picking up someone else’s gym bag.

InvolveWhen you start and as you progress, various stakeholders will have to be identified and involved to the required degree. For example your spouse/ partner, others at home, the gym instructors, your doctor, and maybe your co-workers.

MonitorYou will have to maintain data of your progress – how much time you spent on the treadmill, when you moved from level 1 of the exercise chart to level 2, how many days you could not attend the gym. You would also be keep track on the impact of the work that you are doing – are you losing weight? Too fast? Too slow? Do you feel energetic? Tired? The basic idea is to collect data to monitor the status and effects and control the actions to achieve better results.

BuddyTo maintain motivation, you could pair up with a buddy in the gym group – where each of you can objectively help the other to maintain adherence to the plan, schedule and actions. In addition to your buddy, the instructors will also be checking out that you are basically following the processes and the plans that have been laid out.

Doctor CheckupOnce in a while, you would be going to your doc and reviewing the status, so that long-term course corrections can be identified (e.g., add a diet program, increase aerobics- reduce weight bearing exercises, etc.).

Process ChangeThe gym staff would collect improvement feedback from the participants to change their equipment, standard programs, etc. For the next batch they may define a slightly different process because of this feedback.

All the bold-and-underlined elements are the likely to prevent you from slipping back to your old ways, and with time, doing exercises every day is likely to become a habit, or “institutionalized” for you.

In a nutshell, here are the 12 elements:

  1. Having a policy/ vision
  2. Creating plans
  3. Mobilizing resources
  4. Assigning responsibilities
  5. Getting the training to develop skills required
  6. Keeping conscious control of key items
  7. Involving various stakeholders
  8. Monitoring the status/ effects and controlling the actions
  9. Keeping an eye on adherence to the process
  10. Having periodic reviews with the key stakeholders
  11. Appropriately adopting a process for a given situation
  12. Collecting information to drive improvements

The analogy used may not directly fit an organizational situation. In the above example, the vision needs to be set by the same person who is taking the action, whereas in an organization, it will be the leadership team that sets the policy and many more people who follow it. Similarly, resources will need to be mobilized by leadership team or some specific groups in the organization, and used by all groups. However, the principles are similar, and if an organization keeps track of the above 12 aspects, there is a high likelihood that whatever is being introduced will quickly become a habit with the organization.

By the way, the word “institutionalization” also means being admitted to a mental institution, but that is not the context we are discussing here, today ;-).

Please do share your experiences, comments and feedback by posting a reply/ comment.

Other related posts uploaded on the same blog:

I am Rajesh Naik. I am an author, management consultant and trainer, helping IT and other tech companies improve their processes and performance. I also specialize in CMMI® (DEV and SVC), People CMM® and Balanced Scorecard. I am a CMMI Institute certified/ authorized Instructor and Lead Appraiser for CMMI® and People CMM®. I am available on LinkedIn and I will be glad to accept your invite. For more information please click here.

CMMI® version 1.3 Released

CMMI® Version 1.3, originally scheduled for November 1, 2010, was released a few days before the planned release date. The release converts Development, Services, and Acquisition to version 1.3.

The new model documents can be downloaded as follows:

You can also see a quick summary of the changes at the blog post of August 23, 2010.

I am Rajesh Naik. I am an author, management consultant and trainer, helping IT and other tech companies improve their processes and performance. I also specialize in CMMI® (DEV and SVC), People CMM® and Balanced Scorecard. I am a CMMI Institute certified/ authorized Instructor and Lead Appraiser for CMMI® and People CMM®. I am available on LinkedIn and I will be glad to accept your invite. For more information please click here.

What to Expect in the new version of CMMI® for DEV Version 1.3

The first day (17th August 2010)  of SEPG Asia-Pacific 2010 conference covered the changes expected to the CMMI® models, as a part of  release of V1.3. The tutorial was conducted by Mike Phillips of the SEI and was attended by a large group of professionals (mostly from the IT industry).

Here are the key points that I have gathered and my reactions to some of the changes in the DEV model. The detailed presentation can be downloaded from here [Thanks Mike :-)]

A summary of the changes are available in a presentation titled CMMI v1.3 – What’s New on slideshare.

Changes to the Generic Goals and Generic Practices (DEV Model)

1)    Generic goals 4 and 5 have been removed from the models. So, generic goals stop at GG3 for all process areas. [Reaction: Good. The material in GG4 and GG5 was very scanty, and could not be used to implement CL4 and 5 practices]

2)    No significant changes in the intent of generic practices, other than a few changes in the verbiage for a few generic practices (GP 2.6, 2.9 and 3.2) [Reaction: It would have been nice if some generic practices were merged, for example GP2.8 and GP2.10, to reduce the number of generic practices. Maybe in version 1.4 or later :-)]

3)    In the model book (or technical report), the generic goals and generic practices are described just once at the start of the document and are not repeated for each process area  [Reaction: Slimmer book to carry, less trees to be chopped, nice touch]

Changes to the Maturity Level 2 Process Areas (DEV Model)

1)         Requirements Management (REQM) has been shifted to the Project Management category of PAs [Reaction: Makes no difference, except that there are no engineering PAs at maturity level 2. Imagine a maturity level 2 development company saying “we have great management and support practices, but our engineering practices may not be….”]

2)         Supplier Agreement Management (SAM) has been simplified. Two contentious practices of SG2 (erstwhile SP2.2 & 2.3), have been converted to sub-practices of other specific practices [Reaction: These two practices were often a source of grief to many organizations in their appraisal. Fantastic!]

Changes to the Maturity Level 3 Process Areas (DEV Model)

1)         The optional IIPD addition (one goal in OPD and one goal in IPM) has now been converted into specific practices in OPD and IPM (one additional practice each) [Reaction: This is pity, because IPPD has a great value. I would have liked to see more emphasis on IPPD with greater clarity, instead of IPPD becoming 2 practices in the whole of CMMI®]

2)         No other changes, other than changes in the language to bring in more clarity.

Changes to High Maturity Process Areas (DEV Model)

1)         OID has been renamed as Organizational Performance Management (OPM). A new goal has been added to align process improvements to business objectives and process performance data. [Reaction: Was always required. Though the change looks big, most high maturity organizations would already be implementing the requirement of this new goal. However, the new name “Organizational Performance Management” is an overkill and misleading]

2)         Quantitative Project Management (QPM) has been made tighter and the requirements are more explicit. No significant change in the intent of the process area.

3)         Causal Analysis and Resolution (CAR) and Organizational Process Performance (OPP) have undergone some changes in the verbiage, though nothing significant in intent.

Version 1.3 of DEV (along with SVC and ACQ) will be released in November 2010.

SCAMPISM-A appraisals using version 1.2 of the model can be conducted for period of 12 months after the release of version 1.3. Organizations aiming for an appraisal in the later part of 2011 should consider switching to version 1.3 right away.

The SCAMPI-A methodology is also undergoing an upgrade. The SCAMPISM methodology upgrade will be released slightly later. So, organizations could use the current SCAMPISM-A version 1.2 to appraise organizations for CMMI® version 1.3 for some time.

Will try and post about SVC and the expected changes to the appraisal methodology sometime soon.

Also see: CMMI® version 1.3 Released

I am Rajesh Naik. I am an author, management consultant and trainer, helping IT and other tech companies improve their processes and performance. I also specialize in CMMI® (DEV and SVC), People CMM® and Balanced Scorecard. I am a CMMI Institute certified/ authorized Instructor and Lead Appraiser for CMMI® and People CMM®. I am available on LinkedIn and I will be glad to accept your invite. For more information please click here.