Tuesday, October 11, 2011

CMMI desde una Perspectiva Agil

Mi presentación en #agiles2011

Saturday, September 3, 2011

CMMI = Control & Agile = {Collaboration/Cultivation}

Pete Behrens gave a talk on The Culture of Agility @Agile2011 that left me thinking on the topic of my latest posts, the relationship between CMMI and Agile.

In his presentation, he shows a quadrant which contains 4 different types of cultures:

And he defined certain characteristics for each culture. Look the characteristics for a control culture:

This really looks like CMMI, right?. "Policy and procedures are extremely important", "The system is more important than people" (these phrases really sound as the explanation that CMMI gives as to why processes are so important "What holds everything together? It is the processes used in your organization. Processes allow you to align the way you do business. They allow you to address scalability and provide a way to incorporate knowledge of how to do things better. Processes allow you to leverage your resources and to examine business trends.")

Look now the characteristics of a Collaboration Culture:

And the Cultivation Culture:

These really look like Agile, right?

Look now the characteristics of personal and impersonal cultures:

These one's REALLY looked like Agile on the left side and CMMI on the right side. It is clear that CMMI would fit a control culture much better than a collaboration/cultivation culture and , inversely, Agile fits perfectly on collaboration/cultivation cultures. It's clear how Agile is "Personal", while CMMI is "Impersonal".

So what about compatibility. From the perspective of culture, what is the result of combining them?

I can imagine a couple of scenarios. In a collaboration/cultivation culture, applying CMMI would push the organization culture towards a more Control/Impersonal culture. From the other side, a control organization (which may be CMMI certified, as it's totally compliant) and wants to become more Agile may encounter a CMMI an obstacle.

So in the culture context, I see the 2 forces going in opposite directions.

Could this be synergetic or complementary or the effect would be the total opposite? Could this lead to an undefined culture or to an organization where employees are confused on their culture and values?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Software Craftsmen Movement

When software development started, perhaps I guess about 50 years ago (probably more), I believe programming was the most important task in all software development life-cycle. Other tasks or phases probably didn't exist. They were embedded in what they called programming (right, the old ones?). After a few years, we started learning how to develop software better. This learning derived in methodologies that were created. In these methodologies, new phases such as analysis and designed appeared and in  many of them, those phases became more important than programming itself. This was weird because the actual task of building the software lost importance. In heavyweight waterfall methodologies, analysis and design took most of the work. Programming was just a translation work that could be performed (probably by anyone) when all the important work had already been done.

Changing the subject, I usually asked myself: How do we, programmers, know that we do our work correctly? Programming is one of those jobs where anyone, with google's help, can combine a few frameworks, throw a few lines of code and create a basic software system. But does that make you a good programmer? Another circumstance which perhaps is different than in other areas, is that our job market has been in need of professionals for many years, absorbing most or all the people in the field. So for many of use, getting a job as a programmer as been an easy thing. We just got off from University and they were waiting for us. But does that make us good programmers? I believe I can speak on behalf of lots of people when I say that we go from receiving very theoretical classes of Computer Science at University to try to resolve down to earth problems using a programming language. And this happens, a lot of times, without guidance (because supossedly we learned this at University?). Or isn't it true that lots of us have throw our first few thousands of lines of code to production without anyone checking them? I wonder: who teaches us how we should do our job as programmers, the day to day tasks. I'm not talking about learning a programming language. I'm talking about how to use it to resolve a problem, which is the best process to do it, what are the techniques.  This lack of guidance, of someone that verifies our first steps, of someone that shows us the way, makes it difficult for us to understand how we progress in our career. The leap from finishing University to becoming a good programmer is huge. And how do we fill it? How are we supposed to know what it takes to be a good programmer? Is there any curricula we could follow? Is there a career path somewhere? For sure, I wasn't aware of one.

I believe those are the 2 main reasons that fueled the creation of the software craftsmanship movement. Agile was in part a revolution against the essence of heavyweighted methodologies. A revolution that put the programming task as the most important task in all software development life-cycle again. The software craftsmanship movement took this revolution a step further. The actual task of coding the software is the most important task and it is not by any means a simple task. It is a task that requires understanding the business problem to solve, model it in the best possible way, program it using a programming language and by many programmers who all need to agree and implement the same model. To add more complexity,  many times the business scenarios change and software needs to change, to adapt to those changes. University doesn't prepare us for this job and companies need developers developing as soon as possible.

The Software Crafstmanship Manifesto states the following:

As aspiring Software Craftsmen we are raising the bar of professional software development by practicing it and helping others learn the craft. Through this work we have come to value:
  • Not only working software, but also well-crafted software
  • Not only responding to change, but also steadily adding value
  • Not only individuals and interactions, but also a community of professionals
  • Not only customer collaboration, but also productive partnerships

That is, in pursuit of the items on the left we have found the items on the right to be indispensable.

The first important thing to note in this manifesto is that it treats software programming as a craft. A craft is by the dictionary "an art, trade, or occupation requiring special skill, especially manual skill". A clear example of a craft is a carpenter. And how do you learn the carpenter's craft? First you start besides a carpenter as an apprentice and follow him, for a lot of time. Then you start doing small things on your own. And after a long time you master that craft and are able to perform it on your own. Look how different it looks from the path that many of us have followed. Also note that a craft is something that needs to be practiced. Software craftsmen practice their profession not only daily at work, but also through code katas and getting together to improve their craft in code retreats.

Look at the values now. Not just software, but well crafted software. Although some people may say that well crafted software is not the goal (producing value is), software craftsmen know that the best way of producing value is to produce good software,software that is robust, adaptable and can keep growing and producing value for a long period of time. I believe the third value indicates what should be the way to achieve this. A community of professionals. Through the software craftmanship community, I believe that now it's possible to follow a career path that takes you from apprentice to good developer. Professionals on this community are very open to teach what they know and help others become good professionals.

The software craftsmanship movement provided a new perspective to our profession of software programmers. It stressed the importance of programming and also of becoming a good programmer. And it also indicated the way to achieve this. A programmer should start as an apprentice who learns from someone that knows the craft. With practice, and more practice, this apprentice will learn the craft and become a good programmer.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Code & Beyond: Video: ¿Qué esperas de Agile? con Federico Zuppa

Code & Beyond: Video: ¿Qué esperas de Agile? con Federico Zuppa: "Este video es de una de las reuniones mensuales de Agiles @ Buenos Aires , pero me había quedado en el tintero procesarlo y publicarlo, así..."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Lean Tribe

The Agile Manifesto triggered the growth of "the so called until that moment lightweight methodologies". Scrum and XP became very popular and the tribes associated to them grew with them. However, not long after the Agile Manifesto was signed a new actor entered the scene with outreagous strength. His friends use to call him "Lean" :-)

So what is Lean? Lean has its roots in the Toyota Production System developed by Taichi Ohno. Its core idea is to maximize customer value while minimizing waste.

Lean was brought into the Agile world by Mary and Tom Poppendieck who in their book "Lean Software Development: An Agile toolkit" translated 7 lean principles used in manufacturing to software development language.

Although Lean and Agile share many of the same values and principles as they both are people centric and empower people and they both try to adapt/improve the process continually, they also have some differences as well. The main one in my opinion is its main objective: Agile was developed mostly by software developers and therefore its main objetive is "to uncover better ways of developing software". Lean has in its essence a broader objective (and a broader target) as it seeks to improve the flow of value and this could only happen at an organizational level.

The Agile world was greatly modified by the entrance of Lean. So much that probably now it is an Agile/Lean world.

So who are the referents of this new Lean tribe. Where do they get together. Do they breed with Agile folks? :D I know I may be missing many of the referents of the manufacture industries but these are the ones I know:

- Mary and Tom Poppendieck
- Eli Goldratt (RIP)
- David Anderson
- Karl Scotland
- Alan Shalloway

These folks get together in conferences like "Lean Software and Systems" (in its website, you'll be able to find all the speakers that attended in 2011)

In the last few years, the Lean tribe grew incredibly fast. Particularly, a lean tool called Kanban has gained a great deal of attention and is becoming the new "Scrum" of the moment (or the new star of the moment).

How is the relationship between Agile and Lean? Well, I believe that although there have been some fights (or discussions should I say) because sometimes tribes defend their interests, the Agile community has a lot to learn from the Lean community. Although in the Agile world, Lean is new, it really is much older than Agile.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Agile Tribes

The people that got together 10 years ago in Salt Lake City had different backgrounds, specialties, positions, etc.There were some folks already working on their own methodologies, such as Beck with XP, Schwaber and Sutherland with Scrum and Cockburn with Crystal. Some of them were more technical, specializing in OO, programming and testing while some others were managers or people more interested in the methodology aspects of software development. This is more or less what I believe were the backgrounds that depict the folks that were there:

Now I wonder how these 'tribes' (or communities or subfields of interests - I wonder what is the best name) develop over the years. How did they grow or mutated? Which are the new tribes that make up the Agile world?. Who are the new referents of these tribes? Will you help me create this map?
How do I define what a tribe is? Let's list some items that define a tribe:
  • They share the same values and principles (which should enter the big Agile umbrella)
  • They work with a certain methodology or method
  • They have some referents
  • They get together in one of more congresses (this could be a consequence of the previous)
Am I missing something to define a tribe? Hummm, yeah for sure. Will see it as we go (iteratively). For the moment, I will research for each tribe the following items:
  • Reason to be (values/principles they share, objectives)
  • History
  • Referents
  • Present/Future?
Now I just need to select the most important tribes in today's Agile map. I will start with these ones:
  • Kanbaners
  • Software Craftsmen
  • Lean-startupers
  • Scrumers
  • XPs

I will focus on the first 3 groups, as the last 2 exist since the beggining of Agile.
I'd love to receive suggestions/corrections, etc.

Monday, May 23, 2011

log4jdbc: Una herramienta muy útil en desarrollo

Me estaba preguntando si existía una herramienta que permita ver los queries que se ejecutan contra la DB cuando se usa SimpleJdbcTemplate en Spring. Y.. existe. Se llama log4jdbc y la instalación es sencillisima.
Una vez instalado, en el log de la aplicación se podrán ver los queries y también el tiempo de ejecución.

(       45728) [http-8400-3         ] INFO  select DISTINCT location_code from PURCHASE_LINES where number = 'XXX'
                              | at net.sf.log4jdbc.Slf4jSpyLogDelegator(Slf4jSpyLogDelegator.java:223) [2011-05-23 21:32:21,341]
(       46995) [http-8400-3         ] INFO  select DISTINCT codes from
PURCHASE_LINES where po_number = 'XXX'
 {executed in 1267 msec}      | at net.sf.log4jdbc.Slf4jSpyLogDelegator(Slf4jSpyLogDelegator.java:322) [2011-05-23 21:32:22,608]
(       46997) [http-8400-3         ] INFO  5. ResultSet.new ResultSet returned                                                                                       | at net.sf.log4jdbc.Slf4jSpyLogDelegator(Slf4jSpyLogDelegator.java:158) [2011-05-23 21:32:22,610]
(       46998) [http-8400-3         ] INFO  5. PreparedStatement.executeQuery() returned net.sf.log4jdbc.ResultSetSpy@159d796                                         | at net.sf.log4jdbc.Slf4jSpyLogDelegator(Slf4jSpyLogDelegator.java:158) [2011-05-23 21:32:22,611]
(       46999) [http-8400-3         ] INFO  5. ResultSet.next() returned true                                                                                         | at net.sf.log4jdbc.Slf4jSpyLogDelegator(Slf4jSpyLogDelegator.java:158) [2011-05-23 21:32:22,612]
(       47000) [http-8400-3         ] INFO  5. ResultSet.getMetaData() returned oracle.jdbc.driver.OracleResultSetMetaData@19e80b1                                    | at net.sf.log4jdbc.Slf4jSpyLogDelegator(Slf4jSpyLogDelegator.java:158) [2011-05-23 21:32:22,613]
(       47001) [http-8400-3         ] INFO  5. ResultSet.getString(1) returned 10176 KKKKKK                                                                      | at net.sf.log4jdbc.Slf4jSpyLogDelegator(Slf4jSpyLogDelegator.java:158) [2011-05-23 21:32:22,614]
(       47002) [http-8400-3         ] INFO  5. ResultSet.next() returned true                                                                                         | at net.sf.log4jdbc.Slf4jSpyLogDelegator(Slf4jSpyLogDelegator.java:158) [2011-05-23 21:32:22,615]
(       47003) [http-8400-3         ] INFO  5. ResultSet.getMetaData() returned oracle.jdbc.driver.OracleResultSetMetaData@113126e                                    | at net.sf.log4jdbc.Slf4jSpyLogDelegator(Slf4jSpyLogDelegator.java:158) [2011-05-23 21:32:22,616]
(       47004) [http-8400-3         ] INFO  5. ResultSet.getString(1) returned SSSSSSS                                                                           | at net.sf.log4jdbc.Slf4jSpyLogDelegator(Slf4jSpyLogDelegator.java:158) [2011-05-23 21:32:22,617]
(       47005) [http-8400-3         ] INFO  5. ResultSet.next() returned true                                                                                         | at net.sf.log4jdbc.Slf4jSpyLogDelegator(Slf4jSpyLogDelegator.java:158) [2011-05-23 21:32:22,618]

Pretty cool, ah?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Inyectando un Spring Service con PowerMock + Mockito

Ayer a la tarde estaba intentando hacer un test para nuestra aplicación que usa Spring en el backend. Una de las cosas que me di cuenta que cambiaron desde la ultima vez que use Spring es que todos los beans son inyectados automagicamente con la anotación @Autowire, por lo que no es necesario ni tener un constructor ni un setter para inyectar una dependencia. La pregunta ahora es como hago para testear estos beans? (para inyectar mocks en estos beans). Dps. de investigar un rato encuentro la libreria PowerMock que permite hacer cosas locas, como stubbear un metodo estático u obtener/setear el estado interno de un bean (rompiendo asi la encapsulación). Por ejemplo, la sintaxis para setear una variable privada es la siguiente:
UserRepository userRepositoryMock = mock(UserRepository.class); // declaro el mock, usando mockito
when(userRepositoryMock.safeGetLoggedUser()).thenReturn(adminUser); // seteo las expectativas
Whitebox.setInternalState(invoiceRepository, "userRepository", userRepositoryMock); // inyecto el mock, usando Powermock

Cual es el problema con el que me tope? Spring utiliza proxies para manejar las transacciones via AOP y estos proxies implementan la interfase del servicio, que no contiene los setters para sus campos. Osea que si quisieramos hacer lo mismo para un servicio (en vez de un repositorio como en el ejemplo),

Whitebox.setInternalState(scannedFileService, "userRepository", userRepositoryMock); // inyecto el mock, usando Powermock

PowerMock se quejaría (porque estamos queriendo llamar un método en una clase que no tiene ese metodo). La exception que arroja es la siguiente:

Caused by: java.lang.RuntimeException: You want me to set value to this field: 'userRepository' on this class: 'Object' but this field is not declared withing hierarchy of this class!
    at org.mockito.internal.util.reflection.Whitebox.getFieldFromHierarchy(Whitebox.java:40)
    at org.mockito.internal.util.reflection.Whitebox.setInternalState(Whitebox.java:25)
    ... 31 more

Esto se podría arreglar agregando el setter a la interfase del servicio, pero la verdad es q no me parecia limpio tener q modificar la interfase publica solamente a efectos de testear. Por suerte, existe una solución. Investigando un poco mas, encontre este foro que indica como hacer con Spring para obtener el objeto 'aconsejado' (advised) desde el proxy.

Advised advised = (Advised) scannedFileService;
ScannedFileService target = (ScannedFileService)advised.getTargetSource().getTarget();
Whitebox.setInternalState(target, "userRepository", userRepositoryMock);

et voila! Una vez obtenido el objeto aconsejado, powermock se encarga del resto. Espero sus comentarios (les parece un overkill? Agregarian los setters directamente? etc.)

Agrego dependencias de powermock en maven para aquellos que son lentos como yo y les cuesta encontrar las dependencias :-).




Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Are Level 5 CMMI Process Areas compatible with Agile?


After a quantitatively manage organization, the next objective is an optimizing quantitatively managed organization. An organization that is constantly improving. CMMI level 5 process areas deal with this. Improvement, change, should be done (otherwise, the organization is left behind by others) but it should be managed with care, not to overwhelm the organization.

The first process area is Organizational Innovation and Deployment (OID). Its goals and practices represent a measured way of selecting and deploying improvements. The second process area is called Causal Analysis and Resolution (CAR) and aims at resolving the root causes of defects for ever.

The specific goals and practices for OID are:

SG 1 Select Improvements
SP 1.1 Collect and Analyze Improvement Proposals
SP 1.2 Identify and Analyze Innovations
SP 1.3 Pilot Improvements
SP 1.4 Select Improvements for Deployment
SG 2 Deploy Improvements
SP 2.1 Manage the Deployment
SP 2.3 Plan the Deployment
SP 2.2 Measure Improvement Effects

and for CAR are:

SG 1 Determine Causes of Defects
SP 1.1 Select Defect Data for Analysis
SP 1.2 Analyze Causes
SG 2 Address Causes of Defects
SP 2.1 Implement the Action Proposals
SP 2.2 Evaluate the Effect of Changes
SP 2.3 Record Data


Both of these processes are designed to work in a quantitatively managed organization. CMMI states that if it isn’t quantitatively managed, it would work, but it wouldn’t be as effective. I wondered when I started reading the book if optimization wasn’t left for too late in CMMI. In one side, how would you optimize if you can’t measure? On the other, my experience with Agile is that optimization comes from the very first moments, at the standup and in the retrospective meetings where opportunities for improvement are detected. Of course all these optimizations are really subjective, as the improvement they provide can’t really be measured.

Another point that I wanted to make is that CMMI mentions that everyone should be empowered to propose optimizations. This goes very much in line with the lean approach to optimization.


I didn’t see any point of incompatibility in these areas. Having a framework in the organization to do Kaizen is very important for the organization as it allows to optimize with the organization’s objectives (i.e. with everyone aligned) , it allows to do it in an orderly fashion and it allows to really know what is been optimized and how much.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Are Level 4 CMMI Process Areas compatible with Agile?


I merged the process areas in level 4, because they are really inter twinned and probably don’t make sense to do one and not the other. The first one, the Organizational Process Performance aims at “establish and maintain a quantitative understanding of the performance of the organization’s set of standard processes”. Based on these baselines, the Quantitative Project Management process area sets the objectives and “quantitatively manage the project’s defined process to achieve the project’s established quality and process-performance objectives.

The Organizational Process Performance goals and practices are listed below:

SG 1 Establish Performance Baselines and Models
SP 1.1 Select Processes
SP 1.2 Establish Process-Performance Measures
SP 1.3 Establish Process-Performance Baselines
SP 1.5 Establish Quality and Process-Performance Objectives
SP 1.4 Establish Process-Performance Models

The Quantitative Project Management goals and practices are listed below:

SG 1 Quantitatively Manage the Project
SP 1.1Establish the Project’s Objectives
SP 1.2 Compose the Defined Process
SP 1.3 Select the Subprocesses that Will Be Statistically Managed
SP 1.4 Manage Project Performance
SG 2 Statistically Manage Subprocess Performance
SP 2.1 Select Measures and Analytic Techniques
SP 2.2 Apply Statistical Methods to Understand Variation
SP 2.3 Monitor Performance of the Selected Subprocesses
SP 2.4 Record Statistical Management Data

Metrics? What metrics?

In CMMI Level 4, the organization reaches a level where the existing processes can be quantitatively measured. Objective objectives can be set based on these measures. Being able to measure is vital to being able to manage and optimize. Jurgen published a post recently that states “You cannot manage what you don’t measure”.

A very important point to keep in mind when selecting what to measure is that these metrics need to be compatible with the Agile values and practices. Wrongly selected metrics may create dysfunctional behaviours, detrimental to the organization’s objectives. Dave Nicolette has a very nice presentation regarding Agile metrics. Some of the metrics he discusses are “Running Tested Features”, “Hard Financial Value” and “Earned Business Value”. I wonder, with these metrics, how to handle at the organizational level the context differences among the projects. I mean, each project is different, runs under different circumstances, will deliver business value in a different way, etc. All these factors need to be considered to draw conclusions from the metrics.

These metrics need to provide the picture needed by upper management to take decisions and manage risk appropriately. Being able to visualize the processes used, detect and resolve problems is of utmost importance in mature organizations.

Can everything be measured?

There’s a nice quote by Albert Einstein in Dave’s presentation that says “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”. Is there place for subjectivity in a mature organization? How and where would it work? Agile methods stimulate optimization since the very beginning and this is performed, in most cases, subjectively. Teams introspect on the previous iteration, try to determine how they feel and propose ideas that would optimize the process. At upper levels, it would be impossible to optimize this way. Managers need to see the broad view and the only way seems to be through measures.

Keep it light!

I must confess that after reading both process areas in level 4, I ended up a bit scared. It really sounds difficult and requirements seem pretty heavy. Agile processes are characterized by their minimum overhead. The machinery required to measure and optimize processes shouldn’t increase this overhead significantly. For this, measures should be taken in the most automatic way, only what is needed should be measured and when it’s not needed anymore it should be dropped. There should be constant improvement in the improvement processes.


Being able to measure, to understanding where it is standing allows an organization to set improvement objectives. These measures need to be align with the Agile philosophy. The improvement machinery should be kept light.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Is the Decision Analysis and Resolution Process Area compatible with Agile?


The Decision Analysis and Resolution process area, a process area at level 3, aims at “formal evaluation process that evaluates identified alternatives against established criteria.”

Below are the specific goals and practices:

SG 1 Evaluate Alternatives
SP 1.1 Establish Guidelines for Decision Analysis
SP 1.2 Establish Evaluation Criteria
SP 1.3 Identify Alternative Solutions
SP 1.4 Select Evaluation Methods
SP 1.5 Evaluate Alternatives
            SP 1.6 Select Solutions

Inclusive and Fair

The process should be inclusive and fair.

Inclusive: All stakeholders should be involved in the decision. With this, I am not saying that all stakeholders need to agree on the solution. Probably this is impossible or too costly. I am just saying that everyone should be able to participate in the decision process, express their opinions, being heard. A good facilitator will increase the chances of everyone being heard and of taking a good decision. Being included in the decision process provides great encouragement to follow through the selected paths. Collaborative decision making is of utmost importance in Agile.

Fair: the process should be fair. Every person in the team should feel that it was not an arbitrary decision imposed. The decision was taken using a process that they understand and consider fair. Of course, not everyone will agree, even if a very fair process is used. However, even not agreeing, if they consider that the process was fair, they will accept. On the contrary, if the feeling is the decision was imposed through a not so transparent process, the decision taken will be very difficult to accept. An excellent paper regarding this topic can be found here.


I believe it would be very beneficial to have a defined formal process that can be used to take difficult decisions. To be more Agile, the process should be inclusive and fair (which are really very inter twinned)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Is the Risk Management Process Area compatible with Agile?

The Risk Management process area, a process area at level 3, aims at foreseen risks so that they can be mitigated in case they occur.

Below are the specific goals and practices:

SG 1 Prepare for Risk Management
SP 1.1 Determine Risk Sources and Categories
SP 1.2 Define Risk Parameters
SP 1.3 Establish a Risk Management Strategy
SG 2 Identify and Analyze Risks
SP 2.1 Identify Risks
SP 2.2 Evaluate, Categorize, and Prioritize Risks
SG 3 Mitigate Risks
SP 3.1 Develop Risk Mitigation Plans
SP 3.2 Implement Risk Mitigation Plans

Is there the need of a risk management process area in an Agile organization?

I have heard this question a lot in organizations that transition to Agile: How does Agile handle risk management? This question usually comes from project managers used to Waterfall methodologies where maintaining a list of potential risks and how to mitigate them was of utmost importance. Why? Because these risks appeared late in the life of the project, when a good percentage of the budgeted money has been expended and there wasn’t much space to take decisions. Been able to deal with these risks at that moment decided the fate of the project. Agile approaches risk management differently. Agile tries to deal with risks as early as possible or as soon as risks appear. The risk that a user story entails is a decisive factor in the prioritization of this user story. If a new risk is detected, constant reprioritization assures that it will be dealt with soon. With this approach, the fate of the project is decided when there is still room to maneuver and money to do it. Instead of trying to foresee risks in the future and imagine solutions, risks are aggressively attacked. A side effect of this approach is the infrastructure needed to deal with risks is lighter than the one needed in Waterfall. Would you need a list of risks if you know that the top priority user stories are attacking the same set of risks? Not too sure. Would you try to imagine how to deal with them if they are going to be tackled by the team in the next iteration? No need to draw in the air, right? The processes and practices in Agile make up the risks management infrastructure.


Risk Management is embedded into the process in Agile. Therefore, I am not sure this area would be too valuable.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Is the Integrated Project Management Process Area compatible with Agile?


The Integrated Project Management process area, a process area at maturity level 3, aims at establishing and managing projects “according to an integrated and defined process that is tailored from the organization’s set of standard processes.”

Below are the specific goals and practices:

SG 1 Use the Project’s Defined Process
SP 1.1 Establish the Project’s Defined Process
SP 1.2 Use Organizational Process Assets for Planning Project Activities
SP 1.3 Establish the Project's Work Environment
SP 1.4 Integrate Plans
SP 1.5 Manage the Project Using the Integrated Plans
SP 1.6 Contribute to the Organizational Process Assets
SG 2 Coordinate and Collaborate with Relevant Stakeholders
SP 2.1 Manage Stakeholder Involvement
SP 2.2 Manage Dependencies
SP 2.3 Resolve Coordination Issues

Can the Organization knowledge model be more people oriented?

CMMI defines a level 2 organization as  one that can plan and manage their projects, but there isn’t a unified view (in the organization) on how to do it. In the next level, there’s a set of defined processes that individual projects use, tailoring them to suit their specific needs. Therefore, the company has a centralized, unified view on how to plan and manage projects. The flow repository -> project isn’t unidirectional. As the project ‘learns’, this knowledge is pushed back to the central repository. This model not only allows to have a unified view, but also allows reusing and learning inside the organization. I published in previous posts that I wasn’t sure that all knowledge needed to develop software could be contained in a central repository. I still recognized that maintaining a central repository that allows learning at the organizational level could be very beneficial. It’s hard for me put up in words what I think it would be missing in an Agile environment to complement and improve this learning model. I believe it may be this culture where more senior people seat with junior people to program or to resolve a difficult issue. Perhaps is just that the CMMI is a model centered around processes while Agile in centered around people. Should this learning process be shifted towards people in an Agile organization? How should it be done?


Having worked in many companies, I always have the impression that each project has its own life (use its own processes, tools, etc.). This shouldn’t be the case in a CMMI level 3 organization. The organization’s knowledge should be leverage inside the project, and the projects learnings should leverage the organization’s one. Can this model be shifted towards a more humanistic, not so process oriented one, to make it more compatible with Agile?

Other Areas 

- Is the Organizational Process Definition Process Area compatible with Agile?

- Is the Requirements Management Process Area compatible with Agile?
- Is the Project Monitoring and Control Process Area compatible with Agile?
- Is the Project Planning Process Area compatible with Agile?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The 7 Duties of Great Software Professionals

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Is the Organizational Process Definition Process Area compatible with Agile?


The Organization Process Definition process area, a process area at maturity level 3, aims at establishing and maintaining a usable set of organizational process assets and work environment standards.

Below are the specific goals and practices:

SG 1 Establish Organizational Process Assets
SP 1.1 Establish Standard Processes
SP 1.2 Establish Lifecycle Model Descriptions
SP 1.3 Establish Tailoring Criteria and Guidelines
SP 1.4 Establish the Organization’s Measurement Repository
SP 1.5 Establish the Organization’s Process Asset Library
SP 1.6 Establish Work Environment Standards

Would the process asset repository be effective in an Agile environment?

No doubt a process asset repository is vital in a framework like CMMI that gives processes so much importance (see section ‘About Capability Maturity Models’ in the CMMI). But would it be the same in an Agile organization? I guess my question is: Can a process repository contain all the necessary knowledge needed to build software successfully? I believe software development cannot be performed just by following a set of processes. Building software requires other things as well, such as creativity, trade-off balancing and software craftsmanship. But then.... how can a software company build and maintain such a knowledge repository that lives and dies in the employee’s minds? Well, I don’t know. What I do know and saw in Agile companies is a culture of sharing the knowledge and learning together. Pair programming and code review practices allow more senior members to spread the knowledge on how things are done in the company. Are there any other ways? Particularly, ways that allow the organization to stick with the knowledge? (after all, the CMMI is right when it states that “people typically work for many companies throughout their careers”). I don’t know again. After all, we are departing from a point where we think that knowledge workers are irreplaceable, right? Probably there isn’t.

Flexibility versus Consistency

CMMI tackled an issue that I always had in my mind, but never knew how to express correctly. Flexibility goes against consistency. CMMI deals with it by defining a set of tailoring guidelines. But, can we predict all future scenarios to be able to create the tailoring guidelines? I believe that breaking rules comes with maturity. In the ‘Ri’ level of the Shu Ha Ri, very mature teams don’t go by the rules. They understand the rationale of each of them and are able to break them, based on the current needs. But to get there, all the previous paths need to have been traversed. The rationale of the rules need to be understood and the consequences of breaking them too.


I am not entirely sure that a process repository would be as effective in software engineering as it is in other harder engineerings. Also, I believe that tailoring a process can be performed not with tailoring guides, but with the understanding of the particular context and a thorough undestanding of the rationale of the existing processes.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Is the Organizational Process Focus Process Area compatible with Agile?


“The purpose of Organizational Process Focus (OPF) is to plan, implement, and deploy organizational process improvements based on a thorough understanding of the current strengths and weaknesses of the organization’s processes and process assets.”

Below are the specific goals and practices:

SG 1 Determine Process Improvement Opportunities
SP 1.1 Establish Organizational Process Needs
SP 1.2 Appraise the Organization’s Processes
SP 1.3 Identify the Organization's Process Improvements
SG 2 Plan and Implement Process Improvements
SP 2.1 Establish Process Action Plans
SP 2.2 Implement Process Action Plans
SG 3 Deploy Organizational Process Assets and Incorporate Lessons Learned
SP 3.1Deploy Organizational Process Assets
SP 3.2 Deploy Standard Processes
SP 3.3 Monitor Implementation
SP 3.4 Incorporate Process-Related Experiences into the Organizational Process Assets

How would an Agile organization do process improvement?

My experience in the Agile world has always been in particular projects. This means we were doing Agile in those projects, but the organization as a whole was not Agile (Probably this is the case for the majority of the Agile projects …?) Why am I saying this? Well, because I was thinking how should process improvement at the organizational level should be performed in an Agile organization, but I am a complete ignorant in this regard. Anyway, If I think how we do process improvement in a particular project with Agile and I scale it to the organization, probably the result would be something very similar to what the CMMI proposes. First, determining the process improvement opportunities (retrospection), then make a plan, deploy it and monitor how it is going.

What would change at the organizational level?
1. Organizational level goals may not coincide %100 with project level goals: Cockburn says they are 2 different games, the project one and the organization one (and the one that the employees are playing). I believe that having to fulfill a process area like this one may really help an Agile organization align its projects.
2. Implementation is much harder: Depending on the organization, teams are different and have different contexts. The problem is much more difficult to resolve.
3. Need for a specific team to handle this: this may be a consequence of the previous point. The CMMI says and I agree, that a specific team that handle process improvement in the organization is needed.

There’s something I like to add to the previous points. The CMMI does never mention the employees as a source for process improvement initiatives and underestimate the importance of them in the implementation in my opinion. I believe that team empowerment is vital to any process improvement initiative. As the Poppendieck’s stated in their book “The people on the front line combine the knowledge of the minute details with the power of many minds”. I believe this is also related with the mentality needed for Kaizen. If all employees are constantly thinking how to improve the current processes, the results may be amazing.


I believe the CMMI goals and practices are completely compatible in this area. Knowledge from the lean methods of process improvement should be incorporated to make the process area even better.

Other Areas 

- Is the Validation Process Area compatible with Agile?
- Is the Verification Process Area compatible with Agile?
- Is the Product Integration Process Area compatible with Agile? 
- Is the Technical Solution Process Area compatible with Agile? 
- Is the Requirements Development Process Area compatible with Agile?
- Is the Configuration Management Process Area compatible with Agile?

- Is the Requirements Management Process Area compatible with Agile?
- Is the Project Monitoring and Control Process Area compatible with Agile?
- Is the Project Planning Process Area compatible with Agile?