by Stephanie Overby

Bridging the CMM Gap

Feb 01, 20072 mins

The tendency of Indian vendors when delivering projects is to follow to the letter the Software Engineering Institute’s Capability Maturity Model practices. Their American customers may be used to a more casual, less bureaucratic approach to software development. To make an offshoring relationship work, the two sides have to meet somewhere in the middle. Mary Lacity and Joseph Rottman offer these tips for spanning the CMM divide.

>>Get CMM certified. You don’t have to elevate your IT staff to a Level 5 shop, but growing your organization’s CMM understanding allows you to create better specs and the vendor to deliver a better result.

>>Import expertise. If your staff isn’t fluent in CMM and your vendor’s staff knows little about your business, problems will ensue. Bring a CMM expert over from India—someone who also doesn’t understand your business—to identify ambiguities in requirements before they’re sent overseas.

>>Ask for flexibility. CMM processes provide great value to your Indian vendor, but some may seem like a waste of time—and money—for you. Negotiate with your vendor about which processes of theirs you’re willing to pay for and which you are not. A flexible CMM that limits unnecessary documentation and overhead may be desirable.