Agile CMMI – an oxymoron?

CMMI generally has a pretty poor reputation amongst… well everyone except the process geeks. It is generally perceived as bureaucratic, pedantic, heavyweight and ultimately ineffective.
So you can imagine my joy when my boss recently said we have been given a target of achieving Level 2 by the end of the year and Level 3 by the end of 2012.

My first reaction was to find out more about CMMI; it’s purpose, structure, goals and practices. A quick look at the SEI website and the v1.3 model for development revealed some interesting facts:
CMMI is method-agnostic; it doesn’t matter whether you use PMI, PRINCE2, Scrum or DSDM Atern, the goals are the same.
The goals are actually things you should be doing anyway. Things like planning, requirements management, engaging stakeholders, project monitoring and so forth.
CMMI provides a list of practices for each process area, but does not tell you how to implement those practices.

I am now, much to my own surprise, confident that, not only can we achieve Level 2 this year, we SHOULD. After all, achieving Level2 is not the real objective. But CMMI can provide us with a model for complying with Atern’s eighth principle – Demonstrate Control.

We have a consultant visiting us on Friday to see the way we work. It will be interesting.

About aterny

Agile enthusiast and evangelist, DSDM practitioner, trainer and coach. Specialist in Agile project and programme management, governance and organisational transformation
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2 Responses to Agile CMMI – an oxymoron?

  1. Jeff Dalton says:


    welcome to the club! You might want to check out our paper “CMMI and Agile: Why not Embrace Both!” (Glazer, Dalton, Anderson, Konrad, Shrum) that we wrote for the SEI. Also on our site there are some free download papers/presentation on the integration of CMMI and Agile. Be sure your consultant understands both!

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