Sunday, February 20, 2011

Integrating CMMI and Agile Development: Case Studies and Proven Techniques for Faster Performance Improvement

Author:        Paul E. McMahon
Published:    2010
Publisher:    Addison Wesley Professional
Paperback: 368 pages
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The two apparently contradictory  product development frameworks/methodologies viz; CMMI and Agile are actually quite complementary to each other.
Of late there have been  attempts from proponents of both the factions (more from the CMMI side) to understand each other better and evolve a synergestic and pragmatic way of developing products. This book will go a long way towards achieving this objective as it presents real life case studies from the author's consulting experience where he successfully blended both the techniques to enable faster performance improvements in software development projects.

As a Process Consultant , I have always been of the opinion that there is no conflict between CMMI Model and Agile  Methodologies, so it was with great interest I read this book. My view points and the approaches I take in my consulting engagements  found support  in this book. I also got some good tips on how to do an agile implementation of certain processes viz;  Risk Management, Peer Review, DAR etc.  and yet satisfy the required goals of CMMI.

The book is structured into five major parts.
Part I provides a required bare minimum introduction to CMMI and Agile.
Part II focuses on techniques to help CMMI process mature organizations increase their agility.
Part III demonstrates how a successful Agile organization can increase its CMMI process maturity without compromising the agility.
Part IV provides multiple examples demonstrating how the CMMI can help organizations that are trying to be agile but are missing key ingredients of true agility.
Part V addresses how real performance improvement is achieved by focusing on how to find repeating specific weaknesses, and what you can do about them. (I somehow could not understand and appreciate this part since the author has taken an analogy of his golf game and stretched it too far delving deep into technicalities of  golf (hand grips, swings etc.). He should realize that not every reader will share his enthusiasm for golf.)

Discussion on six major case studies run throughout the length of the book.  Lessons,  Insights, CMMI/Agile Myths and Cautions related to these case studies are clearly highlighted. 
The author provides us 16 insights, 15 myths,16 cautions,and 62 lessons interspersed  throughout the book.
Each chapter is summarized in terms of how CMMI can help Agile and vice versa.
In the appendices some examples of  process assets like Agile Project Management template, Agile Organization Process Focus Process, Agile Organization Process Definition Process are provided. 

A very useful guide  for all quality and process improvement professionals irrespective of the school (CMMI or Agile) they belong to. 
Also a Highly Recommended Must Read for all CMMI Lead Appraisers and Assessment Team Members. This book will surely help them pragmatically  interpret CMMI and minimize the appraisal costs and effort, thereby getting better buy-in when they perform assessments in organizations with agile mindset.

Some useful links:
  • Sample Pages (68 pages almost 20% of the book ! This pdf file which can be downloaded from the publisher's website  has - detailed Table of Contents, Foreword, Preface, Complete Chapter 4 : Bringing Process Maturity into Agile Organization - Part One & Index)
  • Compilation of Key Points ( I have compiled all the Lessons, Insights, Myths, Cautions, Key points on how CMMI helps Agile and how Agile helps CMMI in a single document)


viney said...

I actually enjoyed reading through this posting.Many thanks.

CMMI Consulting India

Unknown said...

The blog is quite good to get idea about Intro to CMMI and it really helped me a lot. Thanks for sharing the post.

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