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The Underlying Problem of Agile vs CMMI
By Zenkara

Over the past several decades, various techniques have been proposed, developed and applied to improve the development and deployment of information systems. Many of these techniques have focused on process improvement, including TQM, IS development methods, Agile (XP, SCRUM, etc…) methods, ISO9001, BPR, BPM, 6 Sigma, EFQM, Quality Function Deployment. Yet the deployment of each techniques fails to deliver the stated benefits. This seems to be an ongoing cycle of techniques with the same problems encountered during wide-scale adoption.

Implicit in these approaches is the need to identify benefits ie. the problems which are to be solved when introducing them. Yet many of the methods do not in themselves explicitly identify which problems they are best at addressing. E.g. what problem does the CMMI or Agile approach solve for your organization?

This related directly to the whole Agile vs CMMI debate currently occurring. Taking a broader view enables us to understand that Agile and CMMI can both improve your organization – it just depends on what needs to be improved (what problems do you have?) as to which method or approach (or method components) are to be used.

Indeed there is one perspective called the Contingency Approach which essentially says it doesn’t really matter which approach to improvement is used – so long as something is used.

  • Do you have a clear list of your organization or team’s current problems?
  • Are these the underlying problems or are they symptoms?

Often management want a silver bullet – haven’t we seen lots of those! Yet often the problems stem from the culture of the organization – people who join quickly get conditioned to accept the status quo and the opportunity to improve is lost…

Zenkara focuses on streamlining and deploying business processes and quality systems and accelerating decision making through OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) and metrics systems. Zenkara is located in Brisbane, Australia.

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