Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The #1 Reason I'm Going (Back) to the CMMI Conference This Year: To Build Stronger Relationships with Key CMMI Institute Leaders

Here's the countdown so far:

Reason #5: To learn about elevating organizational performance.
Reason #4: SEPGNA is a great place to talk about things that matter to your business. 

Today we wrap things up with Reason #1!

Drum roll, please! The #1 Reason to Attend the CMMI Conference this year is …

To build stronger relationships with CMMI Institute leaders.

Whether you’re new to the CMMI Conference, or are a regular attendee of our industry’s premier event on process improvement and the CMMI, introducing yourself to your hosts is not only the polite thing to do, it is one of the best reasons for going to the SEPGNA. Especially this year, when key CMMI Institute leaders will be in attendance.

Space on this blog is limited, so I’d like to call attention to five of the many important and influential people that you’ll want to be sure to meet at the Conference. They are:

  1. Kirk Botula, CEO of CMMI Institute. Kirk is a team-builder, visionary and just an all-around terrific guy. Meeting with Kirk will give you peace of mind that the CMMI is alive and well and has a strong future. You’ll get insight into his vision for how the CMMI will grow, evolve, sustain and be successful over time.
  2. Dan Torens, COO. Dan’s in charge of managing product releases and executing strategy, and can help end-users get a feel for how the CMMI Institute operates, how its future products will be released and what some of the major internal projects might be.
  3. Rawdon (“Rusty”) Young. Rusty is a key player and an invaluable resource. He is involved in the hands-on creation of new products and next-generation releases of the CMMI. Talk to Rusty about your questions on CMMI, DMM, and SCAMPI.
  4. Lisa Masciantonio, Director of Strategic Relationships. As every CMMI Partner learns, there is no better person to connect with at the CMMI Institute than Lisa. Lisa is all about listening. She loves to reach out to Partners and end-users for their suggestions and ideas on making the CMMI Institute even better.
  5. Eileen Forrester, Certification and Training Director. A lead author of CMMI for Service and the learner-centered approach, Eileen has a broad range of skills, research interests and areas of expertise. You’ll find Eileen a joy to know!

As key representatives of the CMMI Institute at SEPGNA, Kirk, Dan, Rusty, Lisa and Eileen are a big part of the face of a product lines that we use every day. If you are a CMMI user – or are considering adopting the Model – you’ll want to get to know them and tap into their vast expertise. If you are a CMMI Institute Partner, it’s important to meet with these leaders, so you can join us in working more closely with them on reinforcing the brand. The CMMI Conference is the perfect place to do that.

While I don’t have space to write about ALL of the great people at the CMMI Institute, I’d also encourage you to connect with Alex Stall, Darlene Moore, Chavonne Hoyle (Marketing Director), Katie Tarara, Geoff Terrell, Deen Blash, and everyone else on the team.

Other great folks you don’t want to miss at SEPGNA this year are the leaders of the many general sessions and workshops of the Conference. These CMMI users are on the front lines of process improvement and performance acceleration, so you get practical, relevant and valuable learning experiences straight from the ones who know!

And that’s it, my friends! Those are my Top 5 Reasons to Attend SEPGNA – and there are many more reasons that you are sure to discover on your own. I’m looking forward to hearing about YOUR experience.

See you in our nation’s capital!

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead AppraiserCertified 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.

The #2 Reason I'm Going (Back) to the CMMI Conference This Year! To spend quality time with customers

To spend quality time with customers.

We all know that one secret to success in business is building strong relationships with the customer. This is especially true in the context of CMMI, where we are focused on helping companies improve performance, drive Process Innovation, and be the great companies they are striving to be.

If you are a CMMI practitioner or a supplier of CMMI services, the CMMI Conference is more than an opportunity to acquire knowledge that can help you be a better resource for your customers. It’s a rare chance for you to spend quality time with customers off-site in a dedicated learning environment. So consider the following question as a personal challenge:

Will you take the opportunity to build stronger relationships with your customers by bringing them to the CMMI Conference?

As part of my commitment to the CMMI, I always invite my customers to the Conference. Here’s why I am encouraging my fellow CMMI Institute Partners, consultants and suppliers to do so as well:

Where else do you get to spend quality time with your customers? So often in our day-to-day work, we are on-site to solve problems. There are subgroups to be evaluated and artifacts to be collected. But during the 2-day Conference near Washington, DC, you’ll be able to connect with your customers on a personal level. You’ll dine together, attend sessions together and – with networking events scheduled in the evenings – you’ll be able to hang out and just talk.

Where else do you have the opportunity to guide your customers through the learning process? Think about it. Would you rather have your customers try to grasp the real meaning of CMMI on their own, or with you by their side? Would you rather leave them in the dark about the long-term value the Model provides, or help them see the light? Clearly, you want to be there in the sessions with them. You want to ask them about what they are learning. And when questions inevitably come up, you want to be right there to answer with real-live examples from their current projects.

Where else can you introduce your customers to the leaders of the CMMI Institute, as well as other adopters of the CMMI? For me, this is one of the most rewarding experiences at the CMMI Conference. I love to see new friendships form when I connect my customers to others who have overcome the same problems they’ve been facing. Plus, this will be my first opportunity to introduce several of my customers to the smart folks from the CMMI Institute, the sponsors of the CMMI Conference.

In my opinion, missing the chance to invite customers to SEPGNA would be a mistake. You’d only get half the value. Sure, you’ll learn plenty of strategies, tips and techniques that can make you a better CMMI consultant or CMMI supplier. But you will have bypassed the opportunity to integrate customers with each other, so that they can have a support system of their own. And that would be to deprive them of something extremely valuable that they can’t get anywhere else.

As I said in a previous post, the CMMI Conference is a chance to talk about things that matter! You and your customers are going to have a blast together. What could be better for your relationship?

So let’s be generous and share the knowledge. I urge each of you to invite at least one customer, whether they be internal or external, to come to our nation’s capital and take part in the conversation. And don’t forget to register here.

The countdown continues! Check back soon for Reason #1.

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead AppraiserCertified 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.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The #3 Reason I'm Going (Back) to the CMMI Conference This Year! To gain control of process

Drum roll, please! Reason #3 is …

To gain control of your process

Given this year’s high powered line-up of speakers, workshops and events, SEPGNA 2014 promises to be another excellent opportunity to come together and talk about continuous improvement and making our teams more productive using the CMMI. I’m looking forward to hearing about real-life issues that organizations are facing every day in their quest to be a great company.

Like what?

By all indications, the biggest problem many companies are STILL facing is a lack of control over process. They are dealing with late projects, over-budget projects, unpredictable results and unhappy customers. In many cases, they have made small improvements, but nothing has given them greater control for the long-term.

Does that sound familiar?

If so, I can promise you, you’ll have your eyes opened up at SEPGNA. This year, the sharpest minds in the industry will be discussing how to maximize the impact and business results of CMMI and performance improvement. You’ll get new ideas for applying best practices for adopting the CMMI as a tool that can help you set up an environment that makes improvement possible. And you’ll have the opportunity to discuss strategies with other leaders who learned to leverage the CMMI to establish a useful level of control over their process.

Great companies know that the key to process improvement and performance innovation is to “know how you know” the process works. Adoption of the CMMI can give you the data you need to do that.  It can show tell how the process is performing, whether you are getting the results you expected, and how you can make it better.

Why is this true? Because the CMMI is a framework for learning. It helps you learn about yourself, your company and the way you do your work. And there are practices within the CMMI that can help you apply what you’ve learned to make that even better.

The value of a great conference like SEPGNA is that it helps you learn about keeping these things on the top of your mind, so that you always know how things are going, and how they can be made better.

So join us! Come on out for the great learning experience, powerful conversations and new insights on how to gain control of your process!

The countdown continues! Check back soon for Reason #2.

Register for the CMMI Conference.

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead AppraiserCertified 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.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The #4 Reason I'm Going (Back) to the CMMI Conference This Year! To talk about things that matter.

Drum roll, please! Reason #4 is …

To talk about things that matter

Yes, SEPGNA is THE place to talk about things that matter to your business. Things like reducing defects, improving quality, increasing the speed of delivery, and creating predictable, repeatable results. If it has to do with changing behaviors and doing what you need to do to be a great company, it’s open for discussion.

Do you enjoy a good, spirited conversation about process improvement and performance innovation? Of course you do! And you’ll get a lot of that at the CMMI Conference.

Every year, the SEPG North America conference draws a wide variety of engineering, project management, and software professionals, who come from a vast array of disciplines. Some are organizations that are getting started with CMMI, and are interested in hearing user stories that offer applicable lessons. Some are experienced in using the guidance of the CMMI and are looking for ways to take the next step in performance improvement. And some are industry experts who are excited about sharing some new and powerful ways the CMMI is being used by companies small and large around the globe.

As a certified Lead Appraiser, I always enjoy to talking about the amazing results I’ve seen companies achieve with the CMMI. I know that if you adopt the CMMI you will likely experience improved performance, increased productivity and fewer project delays. You’ll be on-time and on-budget more often, and your workforce will be happier and more productive.

Whatever your interest, this year, you’ll have plenty of chances to join the conversation, as the CMMI Institute is planning an even richer, more interactive CMMI conference experience. Some of the hottest topics in the industry are slated for discussion, including:

  • Getting results with CMMI
  • Making the most of your metrics
  • ROI and CMMI for Services
  • Agile and CMMI for Acquisition
  • Drawing insights from stories aggregated from dozens of CMMI users

With this year’s theme of Elevate Organizational Performance, the 26th annual SEPG North America conference promises to give companies even more to think about. There is a full slate of high-quality, proven speakers, workshops and break-out sessions to choose from, with opportunities to discuss both principle and practice that we can all take home to our organizations.

What better place for conversations about the power of process improvement than at SEPGNA, with people like you and me, who get it?

So come on out to the Washington, DC area, and join the conversation! 

Register here.

The countdown continues! Be sure to check back soon for Reason #3.

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead AppraiserCertified 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.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The #5 Reason I'm Going (Back) to the CMMI Conference This Year!

Drum roll, please! Reason #5 is …

It’s all about helping you elevate organizational performance.

As you know if you’ve attended the Conference in the past, SEPGNA is the premier organizational performance improvement conference. Hundreds of professionals come from around the world come to learn, network and explore solutions to their performance challenges. It’s such an amazing event that I like to call it “the greatest show on earth!”

This year, the show will be even better! Our host, the CMMI Institute, has been working hard to make sure this year’s Conference has something for everyone who attends, wherever you are in your professional journey. Following a theme of “Elevate Organizational Performance,” the Program Committee has created two days of content focused on positively impacting the way you do your work.

Now in its second year, the re-imagined format is designed to help you explore using the CMMI to improve performance through first-person case studies, interactive workshops, and powerful presentations that can help you to get started with CMMI or take your organization to new levels of success.

Whether your interest is multi-model, practical process improvement, high maturity, agile, DevOps, Services, acquisition, or any other discipline, you will find ample opportunities to dive into the principles and practices that can help your organization better harness the power of performance improvement with the CMMI. Check out the CMMI Conference schedule.

The variety of learning opportunities alone is incredible. You can expect to come away with real life, practical and implementable ideas. For full details about the Conference logistics and to register, navigate around the SEPG Conference site.

The CMMI Conference is an great opportunity to spend two days focusing on how you can get better at what you do. For some, this will be reason enough to attend this year’s conference. Others may be preparing for their SCAMPI Appraisals, want to learn how to scale Agile, or just want to learn more about CMMI. Why will YOU go?

The countdown continues! Be sure to check back soon for Reason #4.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Top 5 Reasons to Attend SEPG 2014 Is BACK!

Once again, the CMMI Institute has been gracious enough to host my annual countdown of the "Top 5 Reasons I Am Going (Back) to SEPG 2014" this year on their site. You can link to the initial post here:

Join us in the Washington, DC area on May 6-7 to hear User Stories from other companies, cutting edge tips on how to use the CMMI to make your company as great as it can be, and to establish or continue the connections made at North America's premier conference for Performance Improvement and the CMMI.

Enjoy - and see you soon in our nation’s capital!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

What Can We Learn About Process Architecture from Justin Bieber?

Why does a pop music hit - even a Justin Bieber tune - sound "right?"  It's because the sound engineer adjusted each setting to create the right "mix."

The same is true of CMMI and Process Architecture.

In the most recent article in the "Just the FAQs" CMMI series, Jeff Dalton, President of Broadsword Solutions, explains why the process "mix" must be adjusted for each organization's specific project, team and objectives.  Dalton disagrees with process consultants who insists that CMMI Maturity Level 3 means that everyone must do everything the same way, every time.

"The CMMI is a little like the knobs on a sound engineer's mixing board," says Dalton.  "In fact, the CMMI's mixing board is a lot bigger, with more than three-hundred and fifty knobs in Maturity Level Three, each one of the affecting not only the outcome, but also one another. The potential for tailoring (and results) is staggering!"

"Just the FAQs" is a monthly CMMI-related series written and edited by Jeff Dalton and Pat O'Toole.  Please contact the authors at and to suggest enhancements to their answers, or to provide an alternative response to the question posed.  New questions are also welcomed.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

CMMI Institute Extends Software Development Framework to Address Security

Security by Design with CMMI for Development V1.3 is available now

PITTSBURGH – April 1, 2014 – The CMMI Institute, the leading center for global best practices and organizational benchmarking, announced today it has extended the CMMI for Development framework to address security concerns in software and systems development.  This increased emphasis on security will help developers to protect their work from attack.
Security attacks against major companies have become regular headlines.  In many cases, hackers are taking advantage of weaknesses resulting from inattention to basic security measures.  An August 2013 study of Ponemon Institute and Security Innovation found that most software development organizations do not consider security in the development process, leaving the end applications and products vulnerable.  While this absence may appear to keep costs down, any savings realized by disregarding security during development is lost many times over when costly updates are required after product releases, or worse, when a breach occurs and requires significant effort to remedy.
Another Ponemon Institute 2013 research study, sponsored by Symantec, found global security breach costs ranging from $1.1 to $5.4 million per breach.  
CMMI adoption results in cost savings by increasing speed to market and reducing costs connected to defects and rework.  CMMI for Development is a framework of practices designed to improve quality and reliability in development processes, and many users have included security efforts in CMMI adoptions.  Today's news addresses security in a new way, with a set of practices explicitly designed to include security concerns in CMMI adoption and appraisals.
With the release of a technical report entitled, Security by Design with CMMI for Development V1.3:  An Application Guide for Improving Processes for Secure Products, the CMMI framework is extended to include guidelines for including security requirements as a quality criteria in the development process.  Specific new process areas include Organizational Preparedness for Secure Development, Security Management in Projects, Security Requirements and Technical Solution, and Security Verification and Validation.  By integrating security into systematic management of the development process, companies will reduce security risks and costs for themselves and their customers.  
"We understand that security issues concern every level of the technology centered enterprise," said Kirk Botula, CEO, CMMI Institute.  "At the institute, we are actively seeking ways to help CMMI users tailer the frameworks to best meet their organization's business goals.  We are pleased to help organizations to develop operational resiliency against attacks by creating sustainable methods for developing secure products."
Security by Design with CMMI for Development V1.3, along with a usage guide and a recording of a global webinar, is available for download at
Broadsword Solutions is a proud partner of the CMMI Institute.  Through its work related to CMMI adoption and appraisal, Broadsword helps organizations to build operational resiliency by creating sustainable processes.  The resources announced today will allow Broadsword's clients to achieve new levels of success and security.
Broadsword is a Process Innovation firm that provides model-based performance improvement solutions for engineering and information technology organizations throughout North America.  Our tools and solutions are customized for each client and are based on Carnegie Mellon University's Capability Maturity Model Integration. Broadsword is a CMMI Institute Partner that provides technologies, tools, training, appraisals, and end-to-end solutions for performance innovation in the automotive, defense, aerospace, and government sectors.
Broadsword has offices in Michigan, Washington, D.C., and San Diego, and can be reached at