Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Generic Goals and Practices are Dead. Long live the GGs and GPs!

CMMI 2.0 has dropped the generic goals and practices, or so I’ve heard. I understand why they were created in the first place: ensure the organization institutionalizes its processes. The biggest complaint people had about the generics is that they duplicate much of the process areas’ specific goals and practices.

Generic Practice Process Area
GP 2.2 Plan the Process PP
GP 2.3 Provide Resources PP
GP 2.4 Assign Responsibility PP
GP 2.5 Train People OT
GP 2.6 Control Work Products CM
GP 2.7 Identify and Involve Relevant Stakeholders PP/PMC/IPM
GP 2.8 Monitor and Control the Process PMC/MA
GP 2.9 Objectively Evaluate Adherence PPQA
GP 2.10 Review Status with Higher Level Management PMC
GP 3.1 Establish a Defined Process IPM/OPD
GP 3.2 Collect Process Related Experiences IPM/OPF/OPD

If you’re doing all the stuff identified in the SPs, you’re also probably hitting all the GPs, too.

Before the generics are officially discarded to the dustbin of history, I want to point out one way they can still help: process templates. A level 3 maturity organization should have a defined process for…well…defining their processes. A document that defines a process should be based on a template created by the organization. What questions should we be forcing the author documenting a new process to answer? The generics provide these questions.

GP 2.1 Establish an Organizational Policy

You don’t have to use the term “policy,” but the document should provide an introductory section that defines the organizational expectations for the process.

GP 2.2 Plan the Process

That’s the document itself. You can refer to this GP in the CMMI version 1.3 for guidance on how to write an effective document.

GP 2.3 Provide Resources

What tools, skills, and equipment are required to perform this practice? They should be listed even if they’re ubiquitous.

GP 2.4 Assign Responsibility

Exactly “who does what and when” will be fleshed out in the process description, but overall responsibility and authority of the stakeholders ought to be explicitly defined in its own section of the document.

GP 2.5 Train People

A section on the organizational training required should be included. Do not confuse this with the “resources” section of GP 2.3. This section should identify training the organization is responsible for providing to ensure this process can be performed.

GP 2.6 Control Work Products

What work products will this process produce? Where will they be stored? How will they be controlled? Who owns them? Who can access them? How long are they retained? How will they be discarded? All of that should be identified in its own section.

GP 2.7 Identify and Involve Relevant Stakeholders

This can be combined with GP 2.4 in the same section.

GP 2.8 Monitor and Control the Process

How will the process be monitored day-to-day to ensure it is being followed? What measurements (metrics) will be collected?

GP 2.9 Objectively Evaluate Adherence

How will Quality Assurance be performed? What audits will be done?

GP 2.10 Review Status with Higher Level Management

This might be covered by the section(s) for GP 2.8 and GP 2.9. However, it might be a good idea to make this its own section.

GP 3.1 Establish a Defined Process

This GP is redundant for this exercise since we’re writing a process, thus defining a process. However, we should include a section to address the scope and tailoring of the process.

GP 3.2 Collect Process Related Experiences

This is the “feedback loop.” Is the process working? Can it be improved? You’re taking measurements as per GP 2.8, but what are you doing with them? What happens if you don’t meet your goals? This really shouldn’t be a section in every document. Entire process areas, especially the ones in levels 4 and 5 address this.

Document template

Here are my recommended sections for a process document:
  1. Purpose (GP 2.1)
  2. Scope (including tailoring guidelines) (GP 3.1)
  3. Definitions
  4. Flowchart
  5. Responsibilities (GP 2.4 and GP 2.7)
  6. Process (GP 2.2 and GP 3.1)
  7. Training (GP 2.5)
  8. Resource Allocation (GP 2.3)
  9. Evaluate Adherence (GP 2.9)
  10. Measurement and Analysis (GP 2.8)
  11. Documented Information (GP 2.6)
Section 6 contains the actual process to be defined. A “Revision history” and list of “Reference documents” should also be included.

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