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life at a cmmi level 5 company

Edward Farrow
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Joined: Apr 02, 2002
Posts: 32
if you work at a cmmi level 5 company, can you share with us what you like and dislike about it? I work at a hack shop and have seen the pain associated with it. how is it at the other extreme?
Stan James
(instanceof Sidekick)
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Joined: Jan 29, 2003
Posts: 8791
We're nowhere near a level 5 shop, but I interviewed with a guy who had just come from managing some Seawolf submarine software project. He was proud that they had 12 shelf-feet of procedural manuals at Level 3 going for 4. That didn't sound like a formula for fun.


A good question is never answered. It is not a bolt to be tightened into place but a seed to be planted and to bear more seed toward the hope of greening the landscape of the idea. John Ciardi
Serge Adzinets
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Joined: Nov 26, 2002
Posts: 166
I work at CMMI level 4 company, but we don't even have a normal development process. Neither analysis, nor design, just coding. Moreover, nobody wants to invent anything new.
It seems to me, these levels don't mean a lot. It depends on the company and people what process they follow.


Best Regards,<br />Serge
Phil Chuang
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Joined: Feb 15, 2003
Posts: 251
If a company has any project that is CMMI-5 rated, then they get to call themselves a CMMI level 5 company. So, you might be working for a CMMI-5 company but not actually following the CMMI-5 process in your project/group/subdivision/etc.
And thank your lucky stars you do not. I think anything beyond CMMI-3 or even 2 is too much work for too little return. I worked at a 3-shop for awhile, and it wasn't too bad.
Ilja Preuss
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Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Originally posted by Siarhei Adzinets:
I work at CMMI level 4 company, but we don't even have a normal development process. Neither analysis, nor design, just coding. Moreover, nobody wants to invent anything new.

That's not unreasonable. The goal of CMM is to reduce risk - an doing something new is quite risky. There is a good chapter in "Peopleware" on this problem.

It seems to me, these levels don't mean a lot. It depends on the company and people what process they follow.

The level doesn't really indicate what the company works like, but how it looks to the visiting auditor (which isn't quite the same). If a company wants to fake it's level, it can certainly do so.


The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny - it is the light that guides your way. - Heraclitus
Dinesh Kumar
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Joined: Jul 03, 2002
Posts: 54
I work for a CMM level 5 company. That does not really mean that if I have to sneeze I have to open a manual to see the standard way of doing so.
The CMM levels go from a state where the process you follow is standard enough (broadly) to be repeatable across projects. Then you go to the next level of "managed" etc. till you reach the final stage where you are not stagnant with one set of rules and processes and are indeed constantly looking to improve (optimize) them.
Yes, it's true that not every nook-and-corner of your work can have a rule-book to tell you how to do that job. What it means is most of the work that you do follows a pattern (and the same pattern followed by others) and the pattern itself is subject to concious improvement.
Though it's true to some degree that you can fake some of the things in front of an auditor but the chances are that you'll be caught for the CMM auditors don't rely on record checking (which can be made up) but on extensive interviews and cross-interviews with different sections of the organization. Sometimes as many as 40 to 50 persons can be interviewed individually as well as collectively over a period of 7 days or so. Coupled with selective record checking, this makes it a reasonably tight way of judging what is the strength of the processes of an organization.
You can't really doctor 50 random persons to give a consistent set of replies to the interviewer for every conceivable question unless you have been following the processes in spirit.
Also, an earlier post saying that for level 3 you have to show one project that followed level 3 processes is probably inaccurate in my view.
Ryan Fernandes
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Joined: Dec 11, 2003
Posts: 86
;-)
Marketing :
We Are The Champions, My Competitors!.. We're CMMi.. even though we dont know what that means.
Project Manager :
Since I'm very nearly dispensible I better learn to live with it. :roll:
Auditors:
Oh well, whats another 10000 sheets more of documentation to check ...
Programmer planning a career move :
I just LOVE CMMi. I live and breathe CMMi
Programmer :
HELP!!!
Trust me, I'm in an SEI CMM Level 5 .. soon to be CMMi company.
Cheers,
Ryan


Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. -Albert Einstein, physicist, Nobel laureate (1879-1955)
Serge Adzinets
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Joined: Nov 26, 2002
Posts: 166
Originally posted by Ilja Preuss:

The level doesn't really indicate what the company works like, but how it looks to the visiting auditor (which isn't quite the same). If a company wants to fake it's level, it can certainly do so.

Exactly. When our CEO was asked about why not going for level 5 he said he didn't see any marketing advantages over level 4.
So it's all about marketing in our case
Pradeep bhatt
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Joined: Feb 27, 2002
Posts: 8919

I have heard that CMM Level companies do a lot of documentation.Any comments? :roll:


Groovy
Lasse Koskela
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Joined: Jan 23, 2002
Posts: 11962
    
    5
I have heard that CMM Level companies do a lot of documentation.Any comments?

Looking at the five levels of CMM (Initial, Repeatable, Defined, Managed, Optimizing), the words "documented", "standardized", "measured", and "quantitative" start appearing, starting from level 3. I believe the CMM doesn't actually say "document as much as you can", but in practice the above mentioned properties are often achieved by producing documents -- for example, writing down all sorts of statistics so that the organization can optimize the standard process (from which individual projects should customize a suitable instance for themselves).


Author of Test Driven (2007) and Effective Unit Testing (2013) [Blog] [HowToAskQuestionsOnJavaRanch]
Pradeep bhatt
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Joined: Feb 27, 2002
Posts: 8919

Who will monitor to see whether the CMM Level companies will follow the process properly after they acheive the CMM level?
Ashok Mash
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Joined: Oct 13, 2000
Posts: 1936
Originally posted by Pradeep Bhat:
Who will monitor to see whether the CMM Level companies will follow the process properly after they acheive the CMM level?

They are supposed to go through annual audits to maintain the certification.


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Ryan Fernandes
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Joined: Dec 11, 2003
Posts: 86
To answer Edward's initial question :

if you work at a cmmi level 5 company, can you share with us what you like and dislike about it? I work at a hack shop and have seen the pain associated with it. how is it at the other extreme?

Apart from all the pain to any and everyone remotely associated with CMMi, I've seen lots of developers REALLY HAPPY about one thing... ease of blame-shifting.
Their argument is:
"Since you've got such great SEI-CMM processes in place and you're crowing to everyone about it, how did we mess up on the estimates? Fix,Improve and 'Optimize' (Level 5) the Estimation Process. Dont bug me till you do that.. got it?
It ain't my fault that the product did'nt ship on time. "
And trust me, you cant argue with these people about competition, rates etc.
Cheers,
Ryan
Pradeep bhatt
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Joined: Feb 27, 2002
Posts: 8919

They are supposed to go through annual audits to maintain the certification.

Does the company pay for the annual audit?
Lasse Koskela
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Joined: Jan 23, 2002
Posts: 11962
    
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Originally posted by Pradeep Bhat:
Does the company pay for the annual audit?
Guess three times
Pradeep bhatt
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Joined: Feb 27, 2002
Posts: 8919

Lasse,
Do you think that a Customer would like to get a project done by a CMM level company rather than a non CMM level company.
Lasse Koskela
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 23, 2002
Posts: 11962
    
    5
Originally posted by Pradeep Bhat:
Do you think that a Customer would like to get a project done by a CMM level company rather than a non CMM level company.
Most probably they would prefer the company with an "official" certification of some sort, as an assurance of their reliability. Of course that doesn't mean that the company with a CMM level would be somehow better than the non-assessed company.
Ilja Preuss
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Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Originally posted by Pradeep Bhat:
Do you think that a Customer would like to get a project done by a CMM level company rather than a non CMM level company.

Obviously some do - else CMM would be virtually dead, I guess.
Pradeep bhatt
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Joined: Feb 27, 2002
Posts: 8919

I feel that CMM level is like Java certifications. :roll:
Ryan Fernandes
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Joined: Dec 11, 2003
Posts: 86
Pradeep,
It is rumoured that it is impossible to bribe your way towards a java certification ...
Cheers,
Ryan
Pradeep bhatt
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Joined: Feb 27, 2002
Posts: 8919

Originally posted by Ryan Fernandes:
Pradeep,
It is rumoured that it is impossible to bribe your way towards a java certification ...
Cheers,
Ryan

For certifications yes but for CMM? I have heard that lot of money is involved in getting CMM. Correct me if I am wrong.
Lasse Koskela
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Joined: Jan 23, 2002
Posts: 11962
    
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I think Ryan was referring to something more like the CMM assessee (is that a word?) hiring a couple of SEI consultants for a month or two before the assessment...
Stan James
(instanceof Sidekick)
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Joined: Jan 29, 2003
Posts: 8791
I've also heard it said that an ISO-9000 or CMM-5 company can produce a perfectly wonderful lead life jacket. Such certification is a good sign that they are thinking about what they're doing, but of course there are no guarantees in life.
My company once took a shot at a Malcom Baldridge award with a similar kind of interview based evaluation. I think somebody got a good grip on what it meant and we quietly withdrew.
Ryan Fernandes
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Joined: Dec 11, 2003
Posts: 86
For certifications yes but for CMM? I have heard that lot of money is involved in getting CMM. Correct me if I am wrong.

Pradeep, I don't think you need correcting.

Lasse you're correct too. Those assessees and cover-up artists (firms that specialize in 'getting-u-that-cmm') can cost quite a bundle.
Ilja Preuss
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Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
BTW, the article Toward A New Definition of Maturity is quite interesting.
Tonny Tssagovic
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Joined: Dec 30, 2003
Posts: 226
Originally posted by Pradeep Bhat:
Do you think that a Customer would like to get a project done by a CMM level company rather than a non CMM level company.

For sure they do, especially if you need to outsource a project to a company (and it is in the other part of the world), then getting a CMM company makes sense. EVen if it does not prove that they will be competent, it says at least that they probably know what a process is, and have paied $$$ so they should be more or less "stable" and are not just gonna close a day before delivery...
 
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