Process Management Process Areas






Process Management Process Areas

The following sections detail the Process Areas specific to process management.

Organizational Process Focus

Organizational Process Focus is an activity the organization implements once it has reached a certain level of maturity. It's reached that level when the organization is ready to institutionalize a set of common processes and practices across all its groups. With this step comes an organizational focus on process improvement. Previously (and here I'm talking specifically about maturity levels, but the basic idea holds true for implementing processes in general), process sets were managed at the project level, each project team working with a set of procedures, activities, and artifacts that met its needs. Here the focus shifts higher up to the executive level. With Organizational Process Focus, process-centric strategies and targets are put into place to support the analysis, planning, development, and execution of all process program components. Then these components are collected and managed by a chartered group within the organization.

From this point on, the organization makes strategic decisions as to how its process program should be shaped as the needs of the organization evolve over time.

Two specific goals

CMMI defines two goals for Organizational Process Focus:

  1. Determine process improvement opportunities. This goal involves the whole organization, but it is typically coordinated through senior management or a centralized Process Management Committee. Through the use of measurements, feedback, and outside knowledge, the organization defines its process needs. It establishes where its current program stands and in what direction it should evolve. The organization then appraises these needs and identifies process improvement initiatives that will most likely lead the organization to these defined improvement goals.

  2. Plan and implement the process improvement activities. This second goal follows from the first. Once process improvement initiatives have been identified and prioritizeda strategic plan set into place, so to speakthe organization works to plan for, design, and implement the improvements across the organization.

Core Organizational Process Focus actions

The organization establishes strategic goals and objectives for its process program and coordinates the deployment of process improvement initiatives over time throughout the organization.

Applies to Process Management:

  • Systems Engineering

  • Software Engineering

  • Integrated Product and Process Development

Figure illustrates the Organizational Process Focus PA.

Organizational Process Focus provides a strategic approach for planning and managing process improvement activities. Here, the organization develops targets and objectives for process improvement activities, and then develops tactical plans for implementing the improvement activities across the organization.


Organizational Process Definition

This Process Area works in partnership with the Organizational Process Focus PA described previously. While OPF introduces centralized and coordinated management of the organization's process improvement activities, OPD centers on the management and deployment of the organization's process asset library, including those assets dealing with IPPD (when needed). The process library is a repository of standardized items available for use by the project teams as guidelines to work activity, product creation, and project management. This repository typically includes descriptions of processes and process elements, descriptions of life-cycle models, process tailoring guidelines, process-related documentation, measurement repositories, and other management tools and guidelines.

The purpose of Organizational Process Definition is to provide a program that promotes a consistent and predictable mode of operations for management and development efforts across the organization. Further, this Process Area provides a resource for best practices, lessons learned, and metrics consolidated from groups across the organization.

Two specific goals

Two goals are defined for Organizational Process Definition:

  1. Establish a repository of organizational process assets. This goal involves institutionalizing a set of standardized processes that can be applied to (or tailored for) all organizational development projects. Included here are process descriptions, life-cycle models, tailoring criteria and guidelines, metrics databases, training and tutorial materials, and other relevant resources.

  2. Enable IPPD principles. This goal deals with establishing the right environment for integration, including team unification, coordination, and collaboration.

All of this is typically organized into a library, version controlled, and made available to members of the organization.

Core Organizational Process Focus actions

The organization establishes a central repository of process assets and IPPD assets (as needed) and makes this repository available for organization-wide use.

Applies to Process Management:

  • Systems Engineering

  • Software Engineering

  • Integrated Product and Process Development

Figure illustrates the Organizational Process Definition PA.

Organizational Process Definition is centered on establishing a commonly used set of process assets. Housed in a Process Asset Library are such typical components as process descriptions, life-cycle methodologies, tailoring guidelines, and the measurement repository. Another activity is to enable IPPD principles when needed in the organization.


Organizational Process Performance

Organizational Process Performance is a Process Area related to Quantitative Project Management. As noted earlier in this chapter, under "Project Management Process Areas," the goal of QPM is to provide a set of guidelines and activities that project management can use to quantitatively measure project activity and performance over time and against a set of predefined benchmarks. That same concept applies here, but with a slightly different focus. Organizational Process Performance is managed and used (by designated team members) to regularly track the efficiency and effectiveness of the processes used within projects. Processes are observed and then measured to produce a base set of metrics used to predict how the processes will influence project performance. Process performance baselines, models, and trends can then be charted. When implemented on future projects, management can use these metrics as part of the planning process, and as an aid to predicting schedules, budgets, and resource needs. Further observations can also be used as a source for process improvement data.

One specific goal

CMMI defines one goal for Organizational Process Performance:

  1. Establish performance baselines and models for elements of the process set. This goal includes selecting a set of processes to focus performance measures on, quantitatively measuring them, establishing their performance benchmarks, and creating performance models that can be applied to the planning and estimating and tracking efforts of the organization. Naturally this is a Process Area that requires a high level of maturity, one in which performance data and other metrics have been plentifully amassed over time.

Core Organizational Process Performance actions

The organization quantitatively measures a selected set of process elements and then uses these measures as predictors of performance and efficiencies for future projects.

Applies to Process Management:

  • Systems Engineering

  • Software Engineering

  • Integrated Product and Process Development

Figure illustrates the Organizational Process Performance PA.

Organizational Process Performance is another high-maturity Process Area. Here, the organization establishes baselines and models of process performance based on detailed measures of past process performance. The baselines and models can then be used to predict future project performance.


Organizational Training

This Process Area is designed to support the institutionalization of a comprehensive process program throughout the organization. The success of any such program is contingent upon the knowledge your people have of it and their ability to use it. In light of this, training is a key way to ensure that your people are familiar with your program and know how to use it. The Organizational Training Process Area promotes a series of practices. These include defining what courses are needed to support your program, designing and publishing course material, accounting for the availability of training facilities, and arranging for competent instructors to conduct the classes. This PA also provides a framework for establishing training recommendations for the members of the organization, identifying the training needs of employees, arranging for class participation, and establishing methods for keeping and tracking training records.

Two specific goals

There are two goals established for Organizational Training:

  1. Establish an organizational training capability. Through this goal, the organization builds its training program. It does this by defining its strategic training needs, determining what training it can contract outside of the organization and what training it must own, and then establishing training facilities, curriculum, and course materials.

  2. Provide the necessary training to people within the organization. This goal involves targeting the right people in the organization for the right courses, conducting those training sessions, maintaining training records, and periodically assessing the effectiveness of the training program as a whole.

Core Organizational Training actions

The organization establishes a training program to educate its people on the use of its process set, and then implements appropriate activities to deliver the training.

Applies to Process Management:

  • Systems Engineering

  • Software Engineering

  • Integrated Product and Process Development

Figure illustrates the Organizational Training PA.

Organizational Training deals with helping the organization establish a training capability to address ongoing training needs. This includes developing training objectives, devising training responsibilities, and creating a tactical training plan. Also included are activities for delivering training, for maintaining training records, and for assessing overall training effectiveness.


Organizational Innovation and Deployment

The purpose of Organizational Innovation and Deployment is to select and deploy incremental and innovative process program improvements that measurably improve the organization's management processes and technologies. The improvements support the organization's quality and process-performance objectives as derived from the organization's business objectives. This Process Area represents the culmination of process management in CMMI.

Two specific goals

Two goals are defined for this Process Area:

  1. Select process improvement activities for the organization. This goal involves strategically deciding which process improvement activities to undertake within the organization. In order to do this effectively, the organization should assess all opportunities for improvement, weigh the benefits and investment required for each, choose those opportunities that provide the best benefit/investment mix, and pilot them within the organization. Those pilots that show benefit to the overall process program should then be prepared for deployment.

  2. Deploy the improvements across the organization. This goal realizes the activities of Goal 1. Here, a plan is created for the coordinated deployment of the improvements into the overall process program. This deployment is then managed according to plan, and measures are taken of the overall improvement in the program due to the enhancement.

Core Organizational Innovation and Deployment actions

The organization strategically develops enhancements to its process program and then deploys these enhancements in a coordinated manner.

Applies to Process Management:

  • Systems Engineering

  • Software Engineering

  • Integrated Product and Process Development

Figure illustrates the Organizational Innovation and Deployment PA.

Organizational Innovation and Deployment provides for practices that help an organization roll out process improvements in a planned and coordinated manner. Activities in this area include selecting improvements to implement, piloting improvements to ascertain effectiveness, rolling improvement out across the organization, and measuring the effectiveness of the new and enhanced processes.


Quick Take

Process Management Process Areas

The five PAs that address Process Management under CMMI deal with how the organization manages, maintains, and institutionalizes its process program and the assets it contains. The focus is on strategic management, improvement, and deployment. The Process Areas include the following.

For Maturity Level 3:


Organizational Process Focus (OPF)

Two PAs are defined for OPF: determine strategic process improvement opportunities within the organization, and develop plans and actions to implement these process improvement activities.


Organizational Process Definition (OPD)

Two goals are established for OPD: establish a centralized, managed repository within the organization that holds the process asset library, life-cycle model descriptions, process tailoring guidelines, and measurements databases. And, when needed, enable IPPD principles within the organization.


Organizational Training (OT)

Two goals exist for OT: establish an organizational training capability that accounts for the process and technical training needs of your resources, and provide the various forms of training you've identified for the organization.

For Maturity Level 4:


Organizational Process Performance (OPP)

This high-maturity PA has one select goal: establish performance baselinesthat is, use quantitative performance data to create models that can be used to predict future performance.

For Maturity Level 5:


Organization Innovation and Deployment (OID)

This is another high-maturity level PA, with two goals: based on your empirical analysis improvement opportunities, select those opportunities with significant paybacks, and develop a plan to deploy those improvements across the organization in an orderly fashion.




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