The Leading Edge Process Consultants Alumni Club
It was a pleasure having you in my December class, and I'm delighted that you may now be inspired to become a Lead Appraiser. Be forewarned, though, that it isn't an easy or particularly quick road for you or your organization; this is why companies often use an external appraiser. I do wish you luck, though. Please keep us posted on your progress.
Here are the typical steps involved in becoming an SEI-Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser. I'm trying my best to make sure this information is accurate as of today, but it's of course subject to change; plus, the SEI will always be the final authority on this, not me.
If you were to try to fast-track your way through this, you could take the April 26-30 Intermediate Concepts of CMMI class in Pittsburgh (subject to availability) and the August 2-6 SCAMPI Lead Appraiser Training in Arlington. Somewhere along the way, you'd also be trying to get your required appraisal experience and your organization would become an SEI Partner. This would set you up nicely for your observation, conceivably at your own organization's SCAMPI Class A appraisal.
I hope that helps. Please let me know if you have any follow-up questions. By the way, after reading everything that you have to go through... are you still interested!? Or have I scared you away?
I just received a clarification from the SEI. In lieu of the Intermediate Concepts of CMMI course (Step 3 above), you may substitute the combination of the following three courses for advanced course entry requirements (e.g., SCAMPI Lead Appraiser Training): CMMI Level 2 for Practitioners, CMMI Level 3 for Practitioners, and Understanding CMMI High Maturity Practices.
Be aware, though, that those courses are (respectively) three days, three days, and four days in duration -- for a total of ten days of training! That, along with the associated dollars spent, would be the downside. The upside of taking those three courses versus just taking the five-day Intermediate course? You'll be exposed to the concepts in way more detail -- especially in the High Maturity course.
That's a great summary, David, of the two key reasons why an organization may not want to mint a new Lead Appraiser just to appraise itself. In fact, let's look at some data:
Use of external Lead Appraisers. I took a quick look at the information freely available in the SEI's Published Appraisal Results (PARS) to see how "the big guys" do it. The results agree with what I've experienced anecdotally, but might be surprising to some.
The Top 3 U.S. Defense Contractors in 2008 (per Defense News) were Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, and Boeing. Each one is an SEI Partner, and each has two to five Lead Appraisers on its staff. Hence, they're each more than capable of conducting SCAMPI Class A's on their own business units. But let's look at what they actually do…
There are a total of 41 currently valid SCAMPI Class A appraisal results between the three companies. Of those, only 4 -- less than 10% -- were conducted by their own, internal Lead Appraisers. The remaining 37 were all conducted by external companies -- other SEI Partners. The data is especially dramatic if we focus on Lockheed Martin, the top defense contractor -- of their 13 currently valid SCAMPI Class A appraisals, 0 were conducted by their own LAs; and this is from a company that has five certified LAs on their staff! (By the way, for this discussion we're sticking to CMMI-DEV SCAMPIs and Lead Appraisers. Very few CMMI-SVC appraisals have been done to date.)
Obviously, the top defense companies put a high level of importance on getting the independent perspective. It certainly looks better on paper, and could indeed result in a more objective evaluation.
Cost and time needed to become a Lead Appraiser. As evidenced by my original response to Steve's question, this is significant! There is a middle ground, though…
Again, let's look at those Top 3 defense contractors. Between them, they have eight (8) Lead Appraisers. But they also have 19 certified SCAMPI B and C Team Leaders (the 8 Lead Appraisers, plus 11 others). So, these organizations obviously believe that there's significant value in training people to lead SCAMPI Class B and C appraisals, even if the appraisal for level rating is done by somebody else.
This certainly doesn't mean that an organization pursuing the CMMI needs somebody on their staff to be a SCAMPI B and C Team Leader (any more than they need a SCAMPI Lead Appraiser). The economics of the situation will help to dictate whether or not this is feasible. My guess is that the SCAMPI B and C Leaders at the contractors I mentioned above typically have led multiple events. In a smaller company, there may be no such opportunity -- or need.
So, how would one become a SCAMPI B and C Team Leader? In my original reply to this discussion, perform steps 1 through 3. Skip the rest, and instead take the SCAMPI B and C Team Leader Training. Then, please let me know how it went!