The best services for process improvement.

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ABI Consultants. Process Excellence

Providing a variety of appraisal services

ABI Consultants is a CMMI Institute Partner


ABI provides a full suite of appraisal services that help our clients understand and benchmark their process improvement initiative. ABI offers SCAMPISM (Standard CMMI® Appraisal Method for Process Improvement) Class A, Class B, Class C appraisals, as well as Mini-Appraisal and Gap (“Quick Look”) Analysis. We provide appraisal results that are objective, real-world, and focused on the factors that drive return on investment. SCAMPISM Class A Appraisals. This CMMI-based appraisal is a formal method authorized by the Software Engineering Institute. This method may be used early in the process improvement initiative and as a way of monitoring your improvement progress. This appraisal is used to formally declare a maturity rating. SCAMPISM Class B and Class C Appraisals. These CMMI-based appraisals are a more informal approach than the SCAMPI Class A appraisal requiring less time and resources to conduct. Class B and Class C appraisals may be used to benchmark your organization processes, provide management with the data necessary to make informed decisions, and as a starting point for an organization’s process improvement initiative.

SCAMPI Appraisals



SCAMPISM stands for Standard CMMI® Appraisal Method for Process Improvement. It is an official Software Engineering Institute diagnostic tool and methodology.



Identify process strengths and weaknesses (model and non-model). Understand and baseline current systems or software engineering practices or level rating. Identify highest priority issues for process improvement. Facilitate the continuation of process improvement actions (buy-in, sponsorship, support).


Appraisal Principles

Start with a process reference model (e.g., CMMI-DEV). Use a formal appraisal process (e.g., SCAMPI SM Class A). Involve senior management as appraisal sponsor (2 – 3 months before the appraisal). Focus appraisal on sponsor’s business goals. Observer strict confidentiality and non-attribution. Approach appraisal collaboratively. Completion is a prelude to follow-on process improvement activities. See Organizational Process Focus (OPF) PA for more information.



Appraisal Requirements Document (ARC) for developing appraisal methods. SCAMPI SM Method Description Document (MDD) used to characterize capability or maturity.



Goal satisfaction is required, generic and specific practices are expected, the rest is informative. Must reach consensus on how generic practices are satisfied.


Classes of Appraisal Methods

ARC Requirements Class A Class B Class C
Most comprehensive, most expensive, provides maturity level Less comprehensive, less expensive, no maturity level, establish initial baseline Quick-look, no interviews, least expensive, no maturity level
Data Collection DIA, DI, or DA 2 data sources (1 must be from interviews) (DI or DA) 1 data source (D or I)
Data Consolidation & Validation Yes Yes All optional except accuracy of observations
Rating Yes N/A N/A
Reporting Yes Optional Optional
Overall cost/duration/confidence/accuracy High Medium Low

Appraisal Process

1. Plan and prepare

– Define organizational unit (OU) – Select representation, discipline, PAs, and scope – Compile data and populate appraisal spreadsheets/tools – Identify participants and team and train them – Oversee data collection – Readiness Assessment (85% rule 3 weeks before appraisal)

2. Conduct appraisal

– Pre-onsite review of objective evidence, records and instruments – On-site validation of data (versus discovery) and verification of implementation through reviews, interviews, findings – Use consensus for practice, goal, PA, and ML/CL satisfaction.

3. Report results

4. Follow-on action plan

Determining Satisfaction

1. Practice characterizations 2. Organizational unit characterizations 3. Goal rating 4. Process area rating and then maturity / capability level ratings 5. Goal rating

Rate Practices, Goals, and PAs?

Label Meaning
Fully Implemented (FI) Direct artifact is present and judged appropriate. At least 1 direct artifact and/or affirmation exist to confirm implementation. No substantial weakness noted (interferes with implementation of the practice/goal).
Largely Implemented (LI) Direct artifact is present and judged appropriate. At least 1 direct artifact and/or affirmation exist to confirm implementation. One or more weaknesses documented.
Partially Implemented (PI) Direct artifact is absent or judged to be inadequate. Artifacts/affirmation suggests that only some aspects of the practice are implemented. Documented weaknesses which impact goals
Not Implemented (NI) Any situation not covered above.

Lessons Learned

1. To reduce cost – Use pre-scripted interview questions. – Conduct interviews simultaneously in mini-teams. – Schedule one interview per practice and instantiation.

2. Maintain appraisal accuracy by emphasis on direct evidence – Interviews simply confirm that evidence is “real”. – Interviews are not a test of how well someone remembers the practice.

3. Pre-onsite – Increase emphasis on data collection and analysis much earlier in the process. – Collection of objective evidence performed prior to onsite period. – Focus on immediate and continuous data consolidation. – Rely upon an aggregation of evidence that is collected via instruments, presentations, documents, and interviews.

4. These activities are initiated in the earliest phases of SCAMPI SM preparation serving to create an information processing mechanism via the data collection strategy and plan.

5. Most appraisal time is spent mapping evidence to CMMI® practices.

6. Use a self-assessment tool to organize the mapping (serves as the PIID).

7. Can generate compliance statistics across any level of the organization.

8. Used to generate evidence review and interview worksheets for the appraisal team.

9. Creating observations – Organizations and projects simply want to know which practices they do not comply with. – Use/create an appraisal findings tool to capture the ratings at the instantiation level (every project, every practice).

10. Reviewing as a team – Most of the time is spent arguing about how to interpret a few practices (especially generic practices) – Create CMMI® Interpretation training which clarifies how ambiguous practices will be evaluated by Team/Lead Appraiser



Organizational Unit (OU) – May be a specific project or set of related projects, a unit within an organization focused on a specific life-cycle phase (acquisition, development, maintenance, support), a part of an organization responsible for all aspects of a particular product or product set.

Objective Evidence (OE) – Qualitative or quantitative information, records, or statements or fact pertaining to the characteristics of an item or service or to the existence and implementation of a process element, which is based on observation, measurement, or test and which can be verified (i.e., instruments, presentations, documents, and interviews). Practice Implementation Indicators (PIIs) – Footprints which are attributable to the activity or practice. The three types of PIIs are: – Direct Artifacts (tangible outputs resulting directly from implementation of a practice, such as typical work products) – Indirect Artifacts (side-effect or indicative of performing a practice, such as meeting minutes, reviews, logs, reports). – Affirmations (oral or written statements confirming or supporting implementation of the practice, such as information from interviews or questionnaires).

PII-based Process Appraisal – Uses Practice Implementation Indicators as the focus for verification of practice implementation. This is in contrast to the observation-based approach used in CBA IPIs, which relies on observations that pertain to model implementation strengths or weaknesses.

Practice Verification – Substantiation of practice implementation based on the review of objective evidence.

Data Collection and Rating Concepts

Corroboration – Must have direct artifacts, combined with either indirect artifacts or affirmation (or else it is a weakness).

Coverage: – Must have face-to-face (F2F) affirmations. – At least once instance for each practice (one column). – At least once practice for each instance (one row). – or 50% of practices for each PA goal, for each project, have at least one F2F affirmation data point.

Preparing for the Appraisal (Onsite)

Training the Appraisal Team

Lead assessor trains the team. Possible consequences of unsuccessful or inadequate completion are questionable appraisal results, timetable not met, failure to satisfy criteria for SM SCAMPI appraisal.

OU Familiarization

Primary vehicle for this information is OU Site Information Package. Can be supplemented by site tours and demonstrations of tools/products. Possible consequences of unsuccessful or inadequate completion are incomplete/inaccurate understanding, inaccurate/inappropriate ratings, longer appraisal time.

Review and Analysis of Initial Objective Evidence

Purpose is to begin to prepare the appraisal team for its role in verification and validation of the OU objective evidence.

Appraisal Participant Briefing

Educates appraisal participants and relieves anxiety about the appraisal process. This is an optional activity.

Appraisal Readiness Review

Purpose is to confirm readiness of the OU PII database for the beginning of the onsite phase Conducted far in advance of onsite phase. Can be face-to-face, video, telecon, or any combination. Readiness criteria (recommended minimum set): – PII database does not have any coverage gaps to preclude successful rating process. – All artifacts identified in the PII database are accessible. – Appropriate objective evidence has been provided in all instances where it is available. – The state of readiness and completeness is compatible with the duration of the planned onsite period.

Verifying / Validating Practice Implementation


Conduct opening briefing. Verify practice implementation. – Goal is to substantiate and characterize degree of practice implementation at both the instantiation level and the OU level for all practices within the defined scope of the appraisal. Validate preliminary findings. Take appropriate action on feedback from validation activity to finalize the appraisal knowledge base.

Relevant Principles

Practice implementation at the OU level is a function of the degree of practice implementation at the instantiation level. The aggregation of objective evidence provided is used as the basis for determination of practice implementation. Appraisal teams are obligated to seek OE from each of the PII areas (type A, B, B) and to consider this OE in their determinations of practice implementation and goal satisfaction. It is recognized that OE may not be available.

Entry Criteria for Characterizing Practice Implementation

Objective evidence of type A and B, or type A and C has been verified for the practice implementation. There is consensus (at the mini-team level) that the objective evidence at hand is adequate to make a determination of practice implementation. Note that the burden of proof is on the organization to provide objective evidence that substantiates implementation. The primary role of the appraisal team is to verify it.

Rules for Determination of PI

Fully implemented (FI) means that all direct artifacts are appropriate and present, there are no weaknesses. Largely implemented (LI) means that all direct artifacts are appropriate and present, but there are weaknesses. Partially implemented (PI) means that one or more class A artifacts are inappropriate and not present. Not implemented (NI) means any situation not covered above.

What is a Weakness?

A statement explaining a deficiency in the implementation of a practice. Specific as to the nature of the deficiency. Supported by and traceable to objective evidence (or the lack thereof).

Assigning Appraisal Ratings

Goal Ratings

Goal Rating Outcomes If These Conditions Are Met
Satisfied (S) All associated practices are rated either largely implemented (LI) or fully implemented (FI) and The aggregation of weaknesses does not have a significant negative impact on goal achievement.
Not Applicable (NA) The goal is outside the OU’s scope of work.
Not Rated (NR) The goal is outside the defined appraisal scope (but within the OU’s scope of work), or Insufficient objective evidence is available to rate.
Unsatisfied (U) Any other case.

Capability Level Ratings

In order to achieve a particular capability level, all of the generic goals at that level and all levels below must be satisfied.

Maturity Level Ratings

Rating of Process Area (Staged) If These Conditions Are Met
Satisfied All of the goals of the process area are rated as satisfied.
Unsatisfied One or more of the goals of the process area are rated unsatisfied.
Not Applicable The process area is outside the organization’s scope of work.
Not Rated Insufficient data is available to determine satisfaction. Process area is outside defined appraisal scope.
  In order to achieve a maturity level, all of the process areas at that level and all levels below must be satisfied or determined to be not applicable.

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ABI Consultants is now conducting CMMI SCAMPI A appraisals in collaboration with Acme Process Group of Northern Virginia.

Acme Process Group