Innovating with CMMI: Leveraging Business Automation to Achieve Process Improvement

CMMI doesn’t have to be difficult. I know, I know, that’s going to raise some eyebrows for our readers! Many organizations struggle with achieving a Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) assessment, because they set the achievement of the rating as the goal. At Semper Valens Solutions, Inc., we also had a clear desire to demonstrate the maturity of our processes, but rather than focusing on CMMI, we chose to embrace process improvement, and innovate how we conduct our day-to-day business as the vehicle to ride to a successful CMMI rating. Semper Valens supports many customers throughout the world, so we do a lot of travel. We focused our process improvement efforts on our quasi-automated – and universally reviled – travel management process, and initiated a process to automate it. At the same time, we took care to thoroughly document our approach and maintain our standard artifacts necessary to complete the project – allowing us satisfy many of the specific practices within the CMMI model without any additional effort. For example; we developed a SharePoint-based project management site, and within this site we developed the travel application features. Revision control was turned on, issue tracking was attached, and we documented how we managed the project artifacts within our associated process documentation. Change requests were tied to requirements through associations with configuration Items, risks, issues, and other relevant data items. This resulted in the appraiser finding that our change control processes were a significant strength during our CMMI audit – simply by ensuring we documented what we do, and used our normal approach to developing solutions. The end result was that we deployed a successful solution, which our employees enjoy using, and at the same time were able to compile all the process documentation, artifacts, and tools necessary to achieve our CMMI for Development 1.3 maturity rating.

Joel D. Williams
Senior Vice President, Strategic Programs and Capture
March 17, 2018