Chapters 13 and 14 reflection

Chapter 13: Quicker Still

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From the beginning, NNL had decreed that the Quicken look-alike product would be called Quickerstill. The name caught on with the teams. the result was that the performance requirement for the product had to be bumped up in order in order to justify the name of the product. There are only 345 days left until the products were finished, from now on there was only a little of the year left until June 1, which is the day of the delivery of projects. In developing the six products, Mr. T. knew, they’d be lucky to achieve anything more than three function points per person-month. The problem was that PShop would take at least three years to put out the door. There was no chance for a project of this magnitude to be completed in the established time.

These projects must be put under the gun to demonstrate improved process. They’re currently rated at Capability Maturity Model Level 2. And Minister Belok wants them at Level 3 before the end of the year.

The Capability Maturity Model is is a development model created in 1986 after a study of data collected from organizations that contracted with the U.S. Department of Defense, who funded the research. The term “maturity” relates to the degree of formality and optimization of processes. The model has 4 levels:

  1. Initial – the starting point for use of a new or undocumented repeat process.
  2. Repeatable – the process is at least documented sufficiently such that repeating the same steps may be attempted.
  3. Defined – the process is defined/confirmed as a standard business process
  4. Capable – the process is quantitatively managed in accordance with agreed-upon metrics.
  5. Efficient – process management includes deliberate process optimization/improvement.

Process improvement results in productivity improvement. We know that from the researches. Bumping up a single CMM level should push your productivity up by twenty-four percent. The Audit Group manager and a few of his lieutenants were assembled in Mr.Tompkins’ office. The Audit Group manager made his report, that says “Look, here’s what we found, Mr. Tompkins. Not too bad really, but there was one rather upsetting deviation from process; that’s Mr. Grosz here and his group.” The last year the MSEI certified the group as CMM level 2. Level 2 it’s called Repeatable, meaning that whether your approach is good or bad, ideal or imperfect, at least you’re doing it the same way each time.

Every MSEI-certified CMM Level 2 project has to build the requirements document using the same methods and notations it was certified as using. That’s what it means to have a Repeatable process.


From Mr.Tompkins’Journal, (the deadline a novel about project management) Chapter 13

Chapter 14: Morovia´s first programmer

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Mr, T. wants to complete the times that Minister Belok says, but one of the problems is that Director Menotti is focusing on long-term improvements of skills and aptitudes, while Mr. T. focuses on the success of the projects. Mr, T. want to invest in training and process improvement on projects with no deadlines, as it will cause many delays and be even more unlikely to be completed. But Director Menotti says that “Webster, the deadline that these projects are toiling under is impossible anyway. Everybody in Aidrivoli knows that every manager and every programmer and every secretary. The projects are going to come in very late because the schedule is very wrong.” The problems was that the little time the people dedicate to making real improvements to Mr, T. methods can make projects twenty months later than eighteen.

Mr, T needed to protect the other projects as well, all of them, most particularly the secret ones in Aidrivoli-7. He knew most of them weren’t going to be able to finish on Belok’s schedule, but he still had all of his pride on the line to meet his original November date.

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Dr. Menotti instructed him to go upstairs alone. There was no need for anyone to call in advance, he said. In fact, Kenoros had no phone. Mr-Tompkins went upstairs. Mr. T. discovered that the fourth floor was a huge dark room, an office without lights. There was a soft hum in the room, the sound of a humidifier, he thought, but other than that nothing, just silence. He sees a lock of white hair, a little movement.

Mr, T. took a breath and began to explain the following: “Write a letter to Minister Belok saying that you are personally taking on the process improvement of the people in Aidrivoli-1 and -7. Say that they are already at Level3 and will soon be at -4. All you need is to be left alone to do this work your own way “. Kenoros says that “I can program, debug, design, review, analyze, specifi, plan, estimate, and document. I have been doing these things since 1954. I am very, very good at what I do. I am so good that they made me president of this Institute. But I am bored to tears up here. So, give me work. “. So Mr, T said to him make the letter and I will give you the job.

Later Kenoros proposed to teach the eighteen teams was a technique he called Last Minute Implementation,and it scared the hell out of Tompkins. The scheme involved deferring coding as long as possible, spending the middle forty percent or more of the project doing an elaborate, exaggeratedly detailed low-level design, one that would have perfect one-to- one mappings to the eventual code.

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