Case Study - Leading Change
During my tenure as Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Aspen Systems Corporation, I chaired the corporate Aspen Information Technology Committee (AITC) and I launched an initiative to assess the value of the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI). The model was emerging as a standard in the industry, and we were beginning to see CMMI qualifications in Federal Government Request for Proposals (RFPs). Aspen lacked a single methodology enabling us to leverage our full portfolio of capabilities across BUs. Solving this would require the support of all Aspen BUs and executive leadership. I believed this to be an important strategic initiative, and was confident our company executive and business leadership would agree.
A primary challenge was gaining corporate authorization to proceed (ATP) with an enterprise-wide CMMI initiative.
Examples of Demonstrating Strategic Thinking include:
1. Maintaining a focus on and building knowledge of customer requirements for successful contractor qualifications. I saw CMMI as a necessary reality to expand our market space, and deliver better and more affordable services to our customers.
2. Aligning technology plans and initiatives to enable strategic business goals and strategies, bound risk, ensure relevance, and enhance affordability. CMMI would alter our way of doing business, and enable us to leverage our full software and services portfolio across all our BUs.
3. Sustaining innovation by pursuing industry best practices that enable our business goals. CMMI offered the opportunity to both improve our products and services, and differentiate ourselves in our market.
4. Engaging strategic vendor partnerships to gain knowledge and help create an organization, methodologies, talent, and tools to enable technology services differentiation and business goals.
An example of Establishing and Enabling Vision included establishing a vision for our enterprise IT services to enable horizontal and vertical business growth through leveraging our full portfolio of IT and software development services, and delighting customers. CMMI was one initiative enabling this vision. This vision aligned to our business goals, leveraged industry best practices while maintaining a customer-focused organization, and set the stage for talent development.
I communicated and collaborated with a number of internal and external entities in socializing and gaining support for this initiative. These groups included Aspen executive, business, and technology leadership, software development teams, Federal Government customers, and CMMI vendor partners. My primary focus with each group was to gain an understanding their goals and strategies, and shape my communication to emphasize the value and opportunities that could be gained from the initiative.
I took a series of actions to facilitate the education and socialization of the initiative to implement CMMI as a standard in the company. They included:
1. Established an Internal Project Team (IPT) within AITC research and documents our enterprise strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, competencies, "as is" and "to be" state, a gap analysis, and a strategic road map for reaching our desired end state.
2. Delivered preliminary and detailed briefings to Aspen executive, business, and technology leadership to provide them the vision, strategies, opportunities, risks, value, and plans for achieving successful implementation.
3. Delivered final business case, project plans, cost-benefit analysis, schedule, implementation plan, budget, and success criteria to the Aspen leadership.
Examples of Actions and Demonstrating External Awareness include:
1. Federal Government Perspective: I built knowledge of the Federal Government's strategy to require CMMI qualifications for bidders. By 2003, CMMI requirements were appearing in the professional services contracts on which my company bid.
2. Aspen Businesses - Goals and Strategies: In the development of our Strategic Business and Technology Plan, I gained knowledge of our business market, and how we could leverage our expanding IT and software capabilities. This solidified my perspective to share a single software development methodology to leverage our entire portfolio of services.
3. Industry Trends: I was aware of the value we achieved from ISO, and kept my eye on other emerging standards. CMMI had emerged as the industry-accepted best practice for software development. Research
An example of demonstrating Creativity and Innovation included the blending of software development staff embedded within BUs into a virtual matrix organization. This approach enabled the BUs to "own" the resources and ensure their initiatives had priority, but also created a subject matter expert (SME), matrixed team who could be scheduled for support initiatives in any of the BUs. This leveraged our entire skills portfolio across the BUs.
An example of demonstrating Flexibility included having each development team present the merits of their "as is" methodology, and together, formulate Aspen's CMMI process with our "best of." Rather than management dictating the end product, I let the teams become the experts with CMMI, and build an end product that worked across BUs.
Examples of demonstrating Resilience included the BUs concern the cost of developing software products would increase with the new CMMI model. I presented information on the CMMI-payback through more thorough requirements gathering, fewer late project changes and bugs, and ability to leverage existing artifacts to reduce reinventing the work.
Some key results of this initiative included:
1. The initiative resulted in the creation, implementation, and adoption of a single software development methodology across the enterprise, and a successful SCAMPI appraisal.
2. I created a small, centralized, Quality Audit team responsible for performing independent process audits across business unit development teams.
3. Since we measured our performance, we were able to document development areas in need of improvement, and an eventual reduction of defects.Our business units were able to bid on Government procurements requiring CMMI qualifications