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Scrum Project Management Practices Support the CMMI

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In the article can scrum help to improve a project management process, Javier Garzás and Mark C. Paulk explore how Scrum and the project management process areas of the Capability Maturity Model Integration for Development (CMMI-DEV) are related:

Scrum, originally described by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber, has emerged as one of the most popular agile methods. Scrum could be described as a project management methodology, or an iterative and incremental development framework.

Capability Maturity Model Integration for Development (CMMI-DEV) is currently the de-facto framework for process improvement and for determining the organizational maturity of software development companies, and many organizations have gained greater levels of productivity and product quality from achieving “levels” of CMMI-DEV.

They provide a table which summarizes the relationship between CMMI and Scrum, and address the individual process areas. According to Javier and Mark, some of the CMMI process areas can be satisfied by deploying Scrum practices:

Scrum addresses

  • “Requirements Management” through its use of user stories in the Product Backlog and Sprint Backlog
  • “Project Planning” through its use of story points to estimate, the iterative / incremental life-cycle, ceremonies such as the various meetings, and Product and Sprint Backlogs.
  • “Project Monitoring and Control through its use of Burndown Charts and meetings.
  • part of “Integrated Project Management” through its use of roles and meetings.

But there are also several CMMI process areas which Scrum does not address:

Although Scrum is a software project management framework, it does not cover the process areas “Supplier Agreement Management” or “Risk Management”, which are typically out of the scope of agile practices.“Supplier Agreement Management” applies only to organizations that do subcontracting. “Quantitative Project Management” which applies statistical thinking to develop a quantitative understanding of the expected performance of processes, is also not covered.

They conclude their article by stating how Scrum can support CMMI based process improvement:

Scrum practices should be considered best practices for project management, by the majority of organizations. Scrum can be an excellent support to project management practices of CMMI-DEV, even if Scrum practices do not completely address all of them

Some additional resources on combining CMMI with Agile and Scrum are available:

  • The CMMI Institute has a list of publications that can help you to combine CMMI and Agile, and also a list for combining CMMI and Scrum
  • There is a LinkedIn group Agile CMMI, where knowledge is shared about CMMI and Agile

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