Steering projects to success

Evaluation of projects using reference models

Will that project that’s about to get underway, or has already started, be successful? This is a question companies frequently have to ask themselves. Often the answer may come by drawing on a suitable reference model to evaluate the project early in the process. If the answer is negative, the company can “pull the plug” on the project or make changes, and save a lot of money. The Steinbeis Consulting Center for Processes, Excellence and CMMI (PEC) provides support with such issues by using Capability Maturity Model Integration, or CMMI®, and the Standard CMMI® Appraisal Method for Process Improvement (SCAMPISM).

Steinbeis experts were consulting a client on the improvement of business processes when a project caught their attention. The project involved overhauling the invoicing of deliveries and improving efficiency. At first glance, it was not clear which factors had been taken into consideration and which ones had been omitted, even though the monthly project status reports pointed to no unexpected problems. As there was already discussion within the company about the scope of the project, it did not take long to convince the client to carry out a short assessment of the project with the Steinbeis team, based on two CMMI® for Services Process Areas (Service System Transition, or SST) and Capacity and Availability Management (CAM).

Following a brief meeting and an initial evaluation of project documentation, it became clear that almost all key aspects that should be taken into consideration when introducing a new invoicing system were not being addressed by the project; they had simply been overlooked. As a consequence, it was decided to halt the assessment and present results generated until that point to management. The managers decided to call off the project and go back to the drawing board, this time taking the points raised into consideration, as well as an analysis to ascertain which other aspects captured by CMMI® for Services should be covered.

In another project with the PEC Steinbeis Consulting Center, a leading international company ascertained that the next generation of its products would need to address a variety of new demands. The manager responsible for the project was doubtful that existing, tried-and-tested development processes would suffice. As a result, he approached the Steinbeis Consulting Center and arranged for Steinbeis experts to carry out an assessment based on CMMI® for Development, Maturity Level 3. The aim was to check whether the existing development processes could cover the new requirements. To do this, a team consisting of three people – an expert on CMMI® for Development, an expert on safety standards and a specialist in development processes – was set up. Together, they evaluated the existing development processes using SCAMPISM. Based on the findings of their evaluation, a variety of improvements in the development process were prioritized and implemented.

® CMMI is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by Carnegie Mellon University
SM SCAMPI is a service mark of Carnegie Mellon University


Gerhard Fessler
Steinbeis Consulting Center Processes, Excellence and CMMI (PEC) (Ostfildern)

Peter Sprenger
Steinbeis Consulting Center Processes, Excellence and CMMI (PEC) (Regensdorf, Schweiz)

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