Dear Jeff, I created this company out of nothing three years ago, grew it to 15 people so far, and it’s my baby. I have put everything I have into it, hired the best agile developers, trained them myself, and have the best small team in the business. We want a Maturity Level 3 rating, for bidding purposes, but what are some of the other benefits of CMMI for a small business like us? ~ Tom B.
That’s terrific that you have built a company to be proud of. Clearly you’ve put a lot of time and effort into reaching that goal in such a short time. And it reflects well on you that you are interested in the benefits of CMMI for a small business like yours, beyond the possibility of bidding new business – it can certainly be more than that.
So here’s what else the CMMI can do for you. You say you’re the best. Well, the CMMI can give you answers the next time a customer asks, “How do you KNOW you’re the best?”
How do you know you have the best team? How well is your team performing? When you ask for feedback, are you getting the truth – or only what you want to hear?
It’s very important as an extra small company that you are able to answer that question for your team. But it doesn’t stop with you. You want the decision-makers of your customers and prospects to know it, too.
So here’s the next question: How do you communicate your greatness to business leaders OUTSIDE your organization?
Business leaders want to know how you know you are good at what you do. And that means you must communicate in THEIR language, not yours.
Anyone who has been in management can tell you that communication is critical. In my career, I have been a CIO, CTO and a VP of Service Delivery for a couple of large consulting firms. Having been in that office, I can tell you, these are questions we ask.
Picture this. At some point in the not-too-distant future, you have achieved your goal of achieving a CMMI Maturity Rating. Just as you were hoping, it opens the door for conversations with customers. In your discovery meeting with one such prospect, you mention the fact that you are agile. You tell the prospect, “Agile is our differentiator. It’s why we are better than our competition.”
The customer might say, “How does your being agile help us? Are we getting anything out of it? Help us understand. Does the way you do your work enable us to receive better service?”
Using CMMI for small business helps you prove that it does.
Clearly, goodness and greatness have nothing to do with agile. They have everything to do with project performance, however. I don’t care if is an agile project or a Waterfall project. You can get great results from both, and both are appropriate for different kinds of environments. But regardless of the values, methods or tools you are using, if I were your customer, I’d want answers:
“Are you any good at this? How do we know?”
If you can’t answer that today, you need to get to work leveraging the structure of the CMMI to strengthen agile. Without it, you won’t survive, regardless of whether you have the best team or not. The best customers – the ones you most want to work with – will look elsewhere.
For more information, Tom, I encourage you to check out www.cmmixs.com, our product site designed specifically to help extra small companies like yours achieve a CMMI rating affordably. Also you may consider CMMI training for small business owners like yourself who are trying to get their arms around the benefits of CMMI.
Go to www.cmmixs.com and let me know if I can be of further assistance.
Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!
Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff has taught thousands of students in CMMI trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.
Note: large organizations interested in pursuing the benefits of a CMMI adoption are invited to visit our corporate web site at www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about engineering strategy, performance innovation, software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.