Recently my company announced that it was not seeking to achieve a Capability Maturity Model (CMMI) level of 4. Instead we have decided to remain at CMMI level 3. This decision was made at the company level. It does not mean that certain project may not individually aspire to the higher levels. The reasoning behind the decision was the result of a detailed cost benefit analysis. I guess the heavy cost to get to the next level was not expected to be offset by any gains it would produce. My company is very methodical about things like this. They are not afraid to spend money. But it is only done when there is a definite return on investment perceived by the decision makers.
Personally I was happy with this decision. As a developer, I am not really interested in ultra high CMMI certification. Getting to level 4 would have most likely meant that I would have to collect a lot more metrics on a recurring basis. That does not sound like fun. At a deeper level, I doubt it would yield any positive results either. Developers can game the system once they identify how the metrics are being collected. This can only lead to improper results.
It is not that I am against process per se. Process is good if it is applied properly and within moderation. I was surprised to find out that our company had been awarded a level 3 certification anyway. The contract for our current project was recently won. But I do not sense that we are performing at a CMMI level 3 of maturity. There are a number of important processes which are not documented for development. Luckily for me I have been on the project for a long time. But the new guys often have trouble figuring out what to do. I wish there was a document I could point them to in order to explain things are done.
I suspect our project will follow the company lead in remaining at CMMI level 3. Our job should be to correctly document the current processes in place. That would be a good start to improving the process around here. We have some good developers on the team. I am hoping that this will result in a positive development experience. I have been through enough failures to know that nobody likes the pain of a botched project. Our team has ambitious goals for the next year of development on this project. Extra work to collect metrics for a CMMI level 4 certification might put those goals in jeopardy. I will plan to report back in 6 months with how we did.
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