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Fluency And Maturity

After reading about Martin Fowler‘s “levels of agile fluency”, I decided to do a side-by-side exploration of his four levels of fluency with the famous (infamous?) five “levels of CMMI maturity“:

proces vs team

As you can easily deduce, the first difference that I noticed was that

The SEI focuses on the process. Fowler focuses on the team of people.

Next, I noticed:

To the SEI, “proactive” is good and “reactive” is bad. Proactive vs. reactive seems to be a “don’t care” to Fowler.

The SEI emphasizes the attainment of “control“. Fowler emphasizes the attainment of “business value“.

While writing this post, I really wanted to veer off into a rant demonizing the SEI list for being so mechanistically Newtonian. However, I stepped back, decided to take the high road, and formed the following meta-conclusion:

The SEI & Fowler lists aren’t necessarily diametrically opposed.

Perhaps the nine levels can be intelligently merged into a brilliant hybrid that balances both people and process (like the Boehm/Turner attempt).

What do you think? Is the side-by-side comparison fair, or is it an apple & oranges monstrosity?

  1. July 5, 2013 at 8:23 am

    I think you’re on the right track that they’re not diametrically opposed – IMO the two sets of statements are looking at different levels of abstraction (organization vs a team). There are areas of agreement – levels 4 on the left and 3 on the right are particularly complimentary. I think part of the problem is that the CMMI emphasis on “control” neglects to give the motivation for achieving it (is it in order to enhance value or just for its own sake?). Another issue is that “control” is simultaneously a loaded term and an ambiguous one – are we talking about the control exhibited by a surfer who senses and responds to a dynamic environment or are we talking about the illusory control of a Canute?

    • July 6, 2013 at 5:40 am

      Thanks for the thoughtful feedback Gene.

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