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Friday, December 15, 2006

Shark Jumpin' - III

I made a posst to the Agile-Testing list a few months back about AgileCMMI; I thought it was worth repeating here:

>In the long run should we have 'agile CMM'?

Ok. I'm going to take a stand here.

The Agile Manifesto has an explicit value system - individuals and interactions over processes and tools, customer collaboration over contract negotiation, and so on. In fact, from the research I've done, the Agile Manifesto was very much a reaction to the heavyweight processes of the 1980's and 1990's - often symbolized by the very term 'CMM'

And, in this corner, weighing in at 711 pages, is the CMMI for Systems Engineering, Software Engineering, Integrated Product and Process Development, and so on.

The CMMI itself -implies- a value system involving comprehensive documentation, processes and tools, and contract negotiation. I would gladly debate, point-for-point, the existence of this value system - but for purposes of this email, let's just assume that, like Prego, "It's in there."

So, on first blush, Agile CMMI seems to make no sense at all. It's silly. It's like a peanut-butter and fish sandwich - why would you want that?

However, a second look shows something interesting.

Say the organization is a DoD Supplier, Forced to do the CMMI thing. Taking an 'Agile' Edge to it means asking questions like this:

- "We have to do comprehensive documentation. What does 'comprehensive' really mean? What is the minimum amount of documentation needed, and how much can we shift our focus toward working software?"

- "We have to have defined processes and tools. How can we define our processes to be as flexible as possible, so that they enable the greatest freedom to individuals to make good decisions in the moment, based on sound judgement?"

- "We have to have a defined contract negotiated up front. How can we write a contract to enable change and collaboration?"

If you *have* to do CMMI, these might be good questions to ask. In other words, while I might view Agile CMMI as a compromise, it beats the heck out of surrender. :-)


Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Hi Matthew,

Good insights. Thanks!

I've cross-posted your entry to my blog and added some color commentary.

Keep up the good work!
-->> Hillel
(tried to post using my blogger acct, but wasn't going through... dunno why)