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Help!
By Metatone (Wed Jun 15, 2005 at 09:40:16 PM EST) (all tags)
Have any of you worked for/with organisations that were CMM certified to level 4 or 5?

What did you think of the system?



I was discussing an article that basically claimed these were the silver bullet. I don't really believe that they are but I've only vague recollections of dealing with one company that used it. I'm curious for more data points.

So, does it work/help?

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Attention coding infidels | 12 comments (12 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
I can honestly say by hulver (4.00 / 1) #1 Wed Jun 15, 2005 at 11:11:54 PM EST
I've never heard of it.
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Cheese is not a hat. - clock
IAWTP by ad hoc (4.00 / 1) #7 Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 06:21:18 AM EST

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[ Parent ]
SEI CMM scares me by Herring (4.00 / 2) #2 Wed Jun 15, 2005 at 11:44:30 PM EST
Anyhow, we're certified to level -2.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky
Sounds like a pile o' wank to me by komet (4.00 / 4) #3 Wed Jun 15, 2005 at 11:54:45 PM EST
But my shop is certified to STFU level 666, so what would I know?

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<ni> komet: You are functionally illiterate as regards trashy erotica.
I worked for a company working toward CMM by lm (4.00 / 1) #4 Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 02:04:54 AM EST
Good part: it puts the kibosh on the brain dead ``heroic'' programming style by which heroic efforts by individuals make or break projects.

Bad part: In filling the above it effectively eliminates job security for said heroic programmers because now everything is documented and any idiot can do the job of the hero. The cost of doing this is also extremely high with regards to mind numbing bureaucratic paper chases.

Is it worth it? It certainly is to the corporation as a whole as it is essentially a method for a corporation to produce decent software even if it employs only incompetent idiots. In most organizations it requires such a massive change in corporate culture than none of the old employees enjoy working there anymore. It might not be so bad if one is ``raised'' in that kind of environment fresh out of school, but I think most programmers found in the wild have problems with the type of culture that the CMM methodology foists on a development organization.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
I've got three words for you by ajf (4.00 / 1) #9 Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 08:41:05 PM EST
In filling the above it effectively eliminates job security for said heroic programmers because now everything is documented and any idiot can do the job of the hero. The cost of doing this is also extremely high with regards to mind numbing bureaucratic paper chases.

Is it worth it? It certainly is to the corporation as a whole as it is essentially a method for a corporation to produce decent software even if it employs only incompetent idiots.

BULL-FUCKING-SHIT

Driving the undesirable "hero" to find a new job doesn't solve any problems. It just means that you can only hire and retain people who can't get a job that doesn't shit them to death.

I worked at a client of a supposedly high CMM level (I thought I remembered 4, though a quick search of Google suggests they could claim level 5 at the time) consulting company who put coders into our offices who didn't understand that local variables in a Servlet object can't be used to hold session state. (That's not even a "mistake": the very first fucking thing you can possibly find out about writing servlets if you read damn near any introduction to the subject is that every single request mapped to a servlet for the entire period of its deployment is handled by the same Servlet object1.) And it wasn't an isolated incident. We also found a piece of JScript in another project which contained a line which just said:

asdf

which of course caused the interpreter to just stop in its tracks. Take asdf out, and the whole damn web page goes blank. Genius! I guess we'd better leave it in there, then.

We laughed so hard I almost needed a fucking ambulance. Because hey, it wasn't our money. (Well, except in the sense that half of us were laid off a few months later, the rest following within a year or so.)

They did churn out a fuckload of paper, but that's not much consolation when the fucking software is months late and there's no reason to believe it will ever work.

Process just isn't a substitute for competence. There's just no point having a high degree of confidence that your morons will make the same stupid mistakes every time.

[1] yeah, I know about SingleThreadModel, but I've never seen a piece of code that used it.

PS: why isn't "fuckload" in the dictionary?

"I am not buying this jam, it's full of conservatives"

[ Parent ]
Maybe I misremember, but ... by lm (4.00 / 1) #10 Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 07:19:44 AM EST
I worked at a client of a supposedly high CMM level (I thought I remembered 4, though a quick search of Google suggests they could claim level 5 at the time) consulting company who put coders into our offices

Organizations, not consultants, are rated. If you take an incompetent out of a process designed to keep him or her in line, the end result will be failure.

Process just isn't a substitute for competence.

I never said that it was. It just so happens that the goal of processes such as CMM are to move the competence from the individual actors to the organization as a whole so that the organization isn't dependent on heroic coders to achieve its ends.

Mind you, I'm not making any value judgements as to which is better. But I do know for a fact that if an organization that is CMM level 5 is consistently not producing functional and stable deliverables in a timely fashion, then whoever gave them their rating certainly didn't pay very much attention. Part of the rating is the demonstrated ability to deliver stable products on time and on budget.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Competence by ajf (2.00 / 0) #11 Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 02:30:51 PM EST
I never said that it was.

But you did say:

it is essentially a method for a corporation to produce decent software even if it employs only incompetent idiots.

and I just don't see how that can happen now or in the forseeable future unless we all lower our standards of decency an awful lot.

As for their level 5 certification, it was a large multinational, and I heard about it second-hand from the guy at our end who was signing the cheques. For all I know, it might just have been just one specific part of the consulting company that had nothing to do with us, something they throw into the sales pitch for people who aren't paying attention. *shrug* Mostly, I wanted to tell the "asdf" story. :)

"I am not buying this jam, it's full of conservatives"

[ Parent ]
Organizations are real entities by lm (2.00 / 0) #12 Sat Jun 18, 2005 at 03:58:13 AM EST
Have you never been on a team of highly skilled people that turned out a crap product? This is because despite their competency on an individual basis, they were incompetent at working as a team for a specific project.

It can work the other way too. If an organization has a competent process to follow for development, even a team full of incompetents can produce something useful as long as the organization forces them to follow the process.

Competency, as it were, can reside (or not) in corporate culture just as much as it can reside (or not) within an individual's skills.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
We're working on CMMI level 3 by webwench (4.00 / 1) #5 Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 05:04:09 AM EST
and golly gee is it a lot of process. I've heard you really don't want to go to higher levels, and there's not much of a need unless you're manufacturing nuclear-powered microchips for use in spacegoing infant brains or some similar application, IYKWIM...


I've no idea what the last place I was at was at by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #6 Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 05:38:26 AM EST
But it was some level (the Indian company doing the rest of the coding was, anyway.) It seemed pretty much as lm described it, except for the fact that people could screw it up, and it was a grand pain in the arse formatting the Word documents describing everything properly.

Of course people can screw it up by lm (4.00 / 1) #8 Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 01:39:25 PM EST
That's why their are different levels. As your organization learns to screw it up less and less, it achieves new and interesting levels of maturity. The methods for formatting documents in a CMM level 5 shop, for instance, is much more foolproof than in a CMM level 2 shop.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
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