Section 6.5. Generic Goals of CMMI

6.5. Generic Goals of CMMI

There are five generic goals in CMMI. They are labeled Generic Goal 1 (GG1), Generic Goal 2 (GG2), Generic Goal 3 (GG3), and so on. The naming here is a little awkward. You can implement CMMI one of two ways: the Staged Representation or the Continuous Representation (more on this in the section "Implementing CMMI," at the end of this chapter). If you elect to implement the Continuous Representation, all five generic goals may be applied. That's what will get you to a specific capability level.

For example, if you wish to be known as a CMMI Capability Level 4 Project Monitoring and Control shop, you would need to meet all of the specific goals for the PM&C PA, as well as generic goals GG1 through GG4.

In the Staged Representation, the designation is really about maturity level. With the Staged Representation, you reach a maturity level by implementing a set series of PAs. For Staged, there are only two generic goals that need to be applied, GG2 and GG3. Generic Goal 2 is applied when an organization is building a Level 2 program; GG3 comes in when the organization moves up to Level 3, and then sustains the program through Levels 4 and 5. There are no other generic goals required for any higher maturity levels; GG2 and GG3 are it.

The generic goals play an important role in implementing CMMI. They define and support the framework each Process Area needs to operate consistently, predictably, and manageably. In the language of the SEI, the generic goals provide the commitment, ability, directed implementation, and verification needed for each PA. They help you institutionalize a Process Area.

This being said, let's look at CMMI's generic goals.

6.5.1. Generic Goal 1: Achieve Specific Goals

Generic Goal 1 simply states, "Achieve specific goals." It is supported by one Generic Practice, 1.1, that states "Perform base practices."

The intention here is naturally basic. The goal simply directs the organization to achieve the specific goals defined for each Process Area it elects to implement, and then to achieve the lowest level of recommended practices for each goal under each of those PAs.

Generic Goal 1 applies to Continuous Representation.

6.5.2. Generic Goal 2: Institutionalize a Managed Process

Generic Goal 2 directs the organization to "institutionalize a managed process." What that means is, in order to implement a maturing process program (even if it's for only one project), you need to create and manage (that is, use and control) the process just as you create and manage project work. At Level 2, the organization is free to experiment with an evolving set of processes across its projects, learning along the way, keeping the good and discarding the bad. That's the idea behind "managed." To help you meet this goal in a way that provides strength to the project or organization, CMMI supports Generic Goal 2 with a set of 10 generic practices. Very briefly, these are:

Generic Practice 2.1, Establish a Policy

Create an executive-level policy that demonstrates the organization's commitment to the use, monitoring, and maturing of its process.

GP 2.2, Plan the Process

In other words, when you embark on a project, make sure the process and its associated activities and responsibilities are recognized by project management and integrated into a project plan (or at least referenced in the plan).

GP 2.3, Provide Resources

It's not enough to simply create a process and then plan for its use. The organization should ensure that the proper resources are in place to successfully carry out the process. This could include anything from the right people to computers, process forms and guides, work space, etc.

GP 2.4, Assign Responsibility

This practice is related to 2.3. Processes don't work very well on their own. Someone needs to execute them, to be responsible for carrying out the defined activities. And this assignment should be explicitly made as an official appointment.

GP 2.5, Provide Training

This practice, plain as it is, can be interpreted. If the resources that are responsible for managing the process are not familiar with the process, you should ensure that they receive the proper training they need to get up to speedbefore the process work begins. If they are obviously experienced enough to work their duties (documentation helps here), a training waiver (or some other indicator) could suffice.

GP 2.6, Manage Configurations

When you plan a process for a project, you'll probably end up with process artifacts: schedules, staff assignments, forms, and so on. To keep these items current with project progress and evolutionto keep expectations at a set level of commonalitythe process work products should be, at the least, version-controlled. You may elect to formally configuration-manage items deemed critical to project success.

GP 2.7, Involve Relevant Stakeholders

This generic practice can be a little fuzzy. What is a stakeholder? Actually it's anybody with an interest in the outcome of the process or the project. But that's not very helpful. Remember earlier, in GP 2.4, where you assigned specific responsibility for carrying out the process? Link that here. This practice recommends that you (perhaps the project manager or executive management) make sure that the people assigned to project or process work are kept in the loopthat your team is unified through the informed involvement of those people charged with making it a success.

GP 2.8, Monitor and Control the Process

The processes that you have embedded into your project exist to promote the success of the project. And so they should be treated by project management in the same way that major milestones and client deliverables are. Process activities should be regularly tracked against the plan to ensure that their executions are going as planned.

GP 2.9, Objectively Evaluate Compliance

In order for your processes to be effective, they must be complied with. They've got to be honored. Even if they have weaknesses, they will never improve if they are not worked. This generic practice recommends that an "objective" party periodically evaluate the degree to which the process is being complied with on the project. The concept of "objective" is important here. It avoids potential conflicts of interest or pressures from varied agendas and is typically realized through a set of independent evaluation criteria.

GP 2.10, Review Status with Higher-Level Management

As you'll see later, project management involves, to a large degree, process management, managing the parts that make a project a whole, that make the project move as it should. This can't be maximized without the involvement of upper management. To help ensure that the processes being applied to a project are contributing to the success of the project, process discussions should be held with higher-level management from time to time. What is "higher-level management"? Usually a level above project management. This will naturally vary from organization to organization. But the practice is intended to keep the voice of the process (or the process owner) within earshot of higher management.

Ten generic practices for Generic Goal 2 admittedly are a handful. But this bulk occurs only with GG 2, and if you think about each recommended practice, you'll see how each one is important to supporting a process improvement program. CMMI is often described as a process improvement framework, and it is the generic goalsespecially Generic Goal 2that hold up the framework.

Generic Goal 2 applies to Continuous Representation and Staged Representation.

6.5.3. Generic Goal 3: Institutionalize a Defined Process

Generic Goal 1 is set into place to point an organization toward the specific practices of CMMI's Process Areas. It's there to forge a beginning. Generic Goal 2the heavyweight of the GGsis designed to provide for the considered care and management of each PA.

Generic Goal 3 assumes a higher level of maturity, one in which the organization has learned enoughover timeto define for itself a set of standardized processes, a set that can be tailored for each new project the organization engages in. There are two generic practices defined for GG3:

GP 3.1, Establish a Defined Process

When an organization is ready to implement Generic Goal 3, it will have established a "defined" set of processes for the organization's Process Areas. This is different from the "managed" form of Generic Goal 2. A defined process (or process set) is a method of planning and management that the organization has adopted across its relevant operating groups. It has become the standard. And though the processes can be tailored to the specific needs of each project, considered guidelines for how to shape processes that have been set into place.

GP 3.2, Collect Improvement Information

We mentioned earlier that, with Generic Goal 2, the organization becomes self-conscious. It's aware of its activities and so plans and manages them with oversight. With Generic Goal 3, the organization takes a step further. It begins to analyze how its processes are working and starts to gather empirical data on their performance. Empirical here is intended to mean objective, observed, comparative. The next logical stepquantitative data collectioncomes with the next generic goal.

Generic Goal 3 applies to Continuous Representation and Staged Representation.

6.5.4. Generic Goal 4: Institutionalize a Quantitatively Managed Process

IT organizations that have reached a point at which they are ready to implement Generic Goal 4 have reached a high level of maturity, one in which process drives the organization, and now one in which quantitative numbers drive the processes that drive the organization. It is here that the organization adopts tools similar to Six Sigma (see Chapter 7). To adopt the quantitative environment suggested by Generic Goal 4, the organization is encouraged to realize two generic practices:

GP 4.1, Establish Quantitative Objectives for the Process

To measurably demonstrate improvement or effectiveness, we are wise to rely on numbers. Qualitative measures may "suggest," but they don't "prove." And so with Generic Practice 4.1, the organization sets quantitative performance standards for its processes. For example, the organization may decide that a project of a certain scope and technical approach should take 120 hours to plan. That is a quantitative objective. When such a project appears, the planning process is observed and timed, and the results are analyzed. This becomes the de facto approach for every process in the organization's defined process set.

GP 4.2, Stabilize Subprocess Performance

This practice is related to the one above. Stabilize means to meet the quantitative objectives by analyzing a process and its subcomponents and fine-tuning them for performance. Again, this involves using numbers: observing, measuring, collecting, modeling, analyzing. To say we have entered the scientific realm here is not an understatement. At Generic Goal 4, the organization adds a new layer of management: quantitative performance management. It is certainly effective, but it requires a new layer of commitment as well, a commitment to continuous and rigorous data collection.

Generic Goal 4 applies to Continuous Representation.

6.5.5. Generic Goal 5: Institutionalize an Optimizing Process

Process improvement is a continuous way of doing businesswhether you are General Motors moving engine blocks along an assembly line or Jack 'n' Jill's Web Shop designing Its goal is to help the organization mature. But can there be an end to the maturation process? Tools change. Market demands change. Cultures change. The business world is not a stable one. And so when one adopts Generic Goal 5, one is really adopting all the recommendations of Generic Goals 1 through 4. It is a commitment to an ongoing process improvement program, an institutionalization of the culture of process improvement. In other words, to always be optimizing.

I recommend two generic practices here:

GP 5.1, Ensure Continuous Process Improvement

Here the organization sets into place a culture of continuous process improvement. There's enough for a book in that statement alone, and this being a survey of three popular process improvement choices, I can't get into the powerful detail here. But the idea is solid, and it holds. The organization ensuresby fiat, by culture, by commandthat its process improvement program will continue to shape how it produces its products and, ultimately, how it measures its quality.

GP 5.2, Correct Root Causes of Problems

This generic practice, in my opinion, can be closely associated with Generic Goal 4; at any rate, it's a crucial ingredient to process maturity. The recommendation is to "correct the root causes of problems." This is kin to the quantitative analytical nature of Generic Goal 4. The concept here though deserves a brief look. Correcting the cause of root problems means boiling it down, not sliding backward. The data you collect at Generic Goal 4 should support your actions in correcting the root causes of problems. I mentioned earlier the usefulness of symptoms. They are barometers of things hidden or things to come. Here, the organization by habit, by charter, looks for the causes of the symptoms of quality issues. And then it works consciously to remove those causes.

Generic Goal 5 applies to Continuous Representation

6.5.6. The Link Between Generic Goals and Process Areas

In the realm of CMMI, a project is an organized collection of people, product activities, and process activities. For any business, the chief job of any of these components is to produce effectively. This usually means two things: make a profit and make the customer happy. When the two go hand in hand, you have a successful business.

Though it's often unappreciated, that is the ultimate aim of process improvement. The driving philosophy behind CMMI is that, if you use effective processes, you'll produce effectivelyand if you produce effectively, you'll be able to better manage both costs and quality.

To support this, CMMI supports a series of 22 best-practice Process Areas (PAs). Each Process Area promotes a set of activities that augment the production process. In the next section, we'll look at these Process Areas, but first it's important to understand the link between the Process Areas (with their own goals and practices) and the generic goals and practices just discussed.

Think of it this way. The generic goals can be applied to each Process Area, and they are in place to ensure that the right support exists for that Process Area. The generic goals exist to guide how you manage each PA. And so they are an integral part of the overall model.

Process Improvement Essentials
Process Improvement Essentials: CMMI, Six SIGMA, and ISO 9001
ISBN: 0596102178
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 116

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