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The Sweet Smell of Success

It is so rewarding when one gets the opportunity to encounter real maturity and growth. When I first visited this company a little over two years ago, it was a typical organization, seeking to have a CMMI "certification" in order to be able to advertise their success. They had made the usual mistakes, taking short-cuts in the wrong places, trying to force through an approach that did not really correspond to the company's culture or their business objectives.

Today, I am faced with a company that is well on its way to a successful maturity level 4. Engineers are telling me how useful quality assurance is, people at every level of the organization can explain how an intelligent use of measurements has made them more productive, has increased the quality of the products and services they deliver to their customers. Staff are pleased with the way things have progressed, particularly over the past year. The expansion of the company has been facilitated by this improvement, as they have learned that rather than using CMMI to attract customers, it is more interesting to use quality to keep them.

Measurements and trends of cost of quality and numbers of defects are progressing beautifully. Of course, all is not perfect, but progress is accelerating in all aspects. They are demonstrating how an international organization can combine a successful, flexible and cost efficient approach through a combination of Agile, CMMI and Prince2.

Over the past few years, I have given them some training, I have tried - as is my wont - to educate rather than to instruct them - and so, I feel I can take some pride in this beautiful success story, but they did it. They understood the principles, they changed the culture, they used training and well placed measurement. They understood that the principles behind models and standards are focused on communication, learning and sharing - and not (as many would have you believe) on bureaucracy and pointless paperwork.

I am proud of this company, and I am willing to grab my little bit of responsibility in their success. But, more than anything, I need to say: congratulations, ISDC! Keep it up.

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