Summary

Generic elements are called “generic” because the same statement applies to multiple process areas. A generic element describes the characteristics that must be present to institutionalize the processes that implement a process area.

Description

Overview

This section describes, in detail, all the generic goals and generic practices of CMMI—model components that directly address process institutionalization. As you address each process area, refer to this section for the details of all generic practices. Generic practice elaborations appear after generic practices provide guidance on how the generic practice can be applied uniquely to process areas.

Process Institutionalization

Institutionalization is an important concept in process improvement. When mentioned in the generic goal and generic practice descriptions, institutionalization implies that the process is ingrained in the way the work is performed and there is commitment and consistency to performing (i.e., executing) the process. An institutionalized process is more likely to be retained during times of stress. When the requirements and objectives for the process change, however, the implementation of the process may also need to change to ensure that it remains effective. The generic practices describe activities that address these aspects of institutionalization. The degree of institutionalization is embodied in the generic goals and expressed in the names of the processes associated with each goal as indicated in Table 6.1. Table 6.1 Generic Goals and Process Names
Generic Goal Progression of Processes
GG 1 Performed process
GG 2 Managed process
GG 3 Defined process

Performed Process

A performed process is a process that accomplishes the work necessary to satisfy the specific goals of a process area.

Managed Process

A managed process is a performed process that is planned and executed in accordance with policy; employs skilled people having adequate resources to produce controlled outputs; involves relevant stakeholders; is monitored, controlled, and reviewed; and is evaluated for adherence to its process description. The process can be instantiated by a project, group, or organizational function. Management of the process is concerned with institutionalization and the achievement of other specific objectives established for the process, such as cost, schedule, and quality objectives. The control provided by a managed process helps to ensure that the established process is retained during times of stress. The requirements and objectives for the process are established by the organization. The status of the work products and services are visible to management at defined points (e.g., at major milestones, on completion of major tasks). Commitments are established among those who perform the work and the relevant stakeholders and are revised as necessary. Work products are reviewed with relevant stakeholders and are controlled. The work products and services satisfy their specified requirements. A critical distinction between a performed process and a managed process is the extent to which the process is managed. A managed process is planned (the plan can be part of a more encompassing plan) and the execution of the process is managed against the plan. Corrective actions are taken when the actual results and execution deviate significantly from the plan. A managed process achieves the objectives of the plan and is institutionalized for consistent execution.

Defined Process

A defined process is a managed process that is tailored from the organization’s set of standard processes according to the organization’s tailoring guidelines; has a maintained process description; and contributes process related experiences to the organizational process assets. Organizational process assets are artifacts that relate to describing, implementing, and improving processes. These artifacts are assets because they are developed or acquired to meet the business objectives of the organization and they represent investments by the organization that are expected to provide current and future business value. The organization’s set of standard processes, which are the basis of the defined process, are established and improved over time. Standard processes describe the fundamental process elements that are expected in the defined processes. Standard processes also describe the relationships (e.g., the ordering, the interfaces) among these process elements. The organization-level infrastructure to support current and future use of the organization’s set of standard processes is established and improved over time. (See the definition of “standard process” in the glossary.) A project’s defined process provides a basis for planning, performing, and improving the project’s tasks and activities. A project can have more than one defined process (e.g., one for developing the product and another for testing the product). A defined process clearly states the following:
  • Purpose
  • Inputs
  • Entry criteria
  • Activities
  • Roles
  • Measures
  • Verification steps
  • Outputs
  • Exit criteria
A critical distinction between a managed process and a defined process is the scope of application of the process descriptions, standards, and procedures. For a managed process, the process descriptions, standards, and procedures are applicable to a particular project, group, or organizational function. As a result, the managed processes of two projects in one organization can be different. Another critical distinction is that a defined process is described in more detail and is performed more rigorously than a managed process. This distinction means that improvement information is easier to understand, analyze, and use. Finally, management of the defined process is based on the additional insight provided by an understanding of the interrelationships of the process activities and detailed measures of the process, its work products, and its services.

Relationships Among Processes

The generic goals evolve so that each goal provides a foundation for the next. Therefore the following conclusions can be made:
  • A managed process is a performed process.
  • A defined process is a managed process.
This section describes all of the Thus, applied sequentially and in order, the generic goals describe a process that is increasingly institutionalized from a performed process to a defined process. Achieving GG 1 for a process area is equivalent to saying you achieve the specific goals of the process area. Achieving GG 2 for a process area is equivalent to saying you manage the execution of processes associated with the process area. There is a policy that indicates you will perform the process. There is a plan for performing it. There are resources provided, responsibilities assigned, training on how to perform it, selected work products from performing the process are controlled, and so on. In other words, the process is planned and monitored just like any project or support activity. Achieving GG 3 for a process area is equivalent to saying that an organizational standard process exists that can be tailored to result in the process you will use. Tailoring might result in making no changes to the standard process. In other words, the process used and the standard process can be identical. Using the standard process “as is” is tailoring because the choice is made that no modification is required. Each process area describes multiple activities, some of which are repeatedly performed. You may need to tailor the way one of these activities is performed to account for new capabilities or circumstances. For example, you may have a standard for developing or obtaining organizational training that does not consider web-based training. When preparing to develop or obtain a web-based course, you may need to tailor the standard process to account for the particular challenges and benefits of web-based training.

Generic Goals and Generic Practices

This section describes all of the generic goals and generic practices, as well as their associated subpractices, notes, examples, and references. The generic goals are organized in numerical order, GG 1 through GG 5. The generic practices are also organized in numerical order under the generic goal they support.

Applying Generic Practices

Generic practices are components that can be applied to all process areas. Think of generic practices as reminders. They serve the purpose of reminding you to do things right and are expected model components. For example, consider the generic practice, “Establish and maintain the plan for performing the process” (GP 2.2). When applied to the Project Planning process area, this generic practice reminds you to plan the activities involved in creating the plan for the project. When applied to the Organizational Training process area, this same generic practice reminds you to plan the activities involved in developing the skills and knowledge of people in the organization.

Process Areas that Support Generic Practices

While generic goals and generic practices are the model components that directly address the institutionalization of a process across the organization, many process areas likewise address institutionalization by supporting the implementation of the generic practices. Knowing these relationships will help you effectively implement the generic practices. Such process areas contain one or more specific practices that when implemented can also fully implement a generic practice or generate a work product that is used in the implementation of a generic practice. An example is the Configuration Management process area and GP 2.6, “Place selected work products of the process under appropriate levels of control.” To implement the generic practice for one or more process areas, you might choose to implement the Configuration Management process area, all or in part, to implement the generic practice. Another example is the Organizational Process Definition process area and GP 3.1, “Establish and maintain the description of a defined process.” To implement this generic practice for one or more process areas, you should first implement the Organizational Process Definition process area, all or in part, to establish the organizational process assets that are needed to implement the generic practice. Table 6.2 describes (1) the process areas that support the implementation of generic practices and (2) the recursive relationships between generic practices and their closely related process areas. Both types of relationships are important to remember during process improvement to take advantage of the natural synergies that exist between the generic practices and their related process areas. Table 6.2 Generic Practice and Process Area Relationships
Generic Practic Roles of Process Areas in Implementation of the Generic Practice How the Generic Practice Recursively Applies to its Related Process Area(s)
GP 2.2 Plan the Process Project Planning:
The project planning process can implement GP 2.2 in full for all project related process areas (except for Project Planning itself.
 
GP 2.2 applied to the project planning process can be characterized as “plan the plan” and covers planning project planning activities.
GP 2.3 Provide Resources
GP 2.4 Assign Responsibility
Project Planning:
The part of the project planning process that implements Project Planning SP 2.4, “Plan the Project’s Resources,” supports the implementation of GP 2.3 and GP 2.4 for all project related process areas (except perhaps initially for Project Planning itself) by identifying needed processes, roles, and responsibilities to ensure the proper staffing, facilities, equipment, and other assets needed by the project are secured.
GP 2.5 Train People Organizational Training:
The organizational training process supports the implementation of GP 2.5 as applied to all process areas by making the training that addresses strategic or organization-wide training needs available to those who will perform or support the process.
Project Planning:
The part of the project planning process that implements Project Planning SP 2.5, “Plan Needed Knowledge and Skills,” and the organizational training process, supports the implementation of GP 2.5 in full for all project related process areas.
 
GP 2.5 applied to the organizational training process covers training for performing the organizational training activities, which addresses the skills required to manage, create, and accomplish the training.
GP 2.6 Control Work Products Configuration Management:
The configuration management process can implement GP 2.6 in full for all project related process areas as well as some of the organizational process areas.
 
GP 2.6 applied to the configuration management process covers change and version control for the work products produced by configuration management activities.
GP 2.7 Identify and Involve Relevant Stakeholders Project Planning:
The part of the project planning process that implements Project Planning SP 2.6, “Plan Stakeholder Involvement,” can implement the stakeholder identification part (first two subpractices) of GP 2.7 in full for all project related process areas.
Project Monitoring and Control:
The part of the project monitoring and control process that implements Project Monitoring and Control SP 1.5, “Monitor Stakeholder Involvement,” can aid in implementing the third subpractice of GP 2.7 for all project related process areas.
Integrated Project Management:
The part of the integrated project management process that implements Integrated Project Management SP 2.1, “Manage Stakeholder Involvement,” can aid in implementing the third subpractice of GP 2.7 for all project related process areas.
 
GP 2.7 applied to the project planning process covers the involvement of relevant stakeholders in project planning activities.
GP 2.7 applied to the project monitoring and control process covers the involvement of relevant stakeholders in project monitoring and control activities.
GP 2.7 applied to the integrated project management process covers the involvement of relevant stakeholders in integrated project management activities.
GP 2.8 Monitor and Control the Process Project Monitoring and Control:
The project monitoring and control process can implement GP 2.8 in full for all project related process areas.
Measurement and Analysis:
For all processes, not just project related processes, the Measurement and Analysis process area provides general guidance about measuring, analyzing, and recording information that can be used in establishing measures for monitoring performance of the process.
 
GP 2.8 applied to the project monitoring and control process covers the monitoring and controlling of the project’s monitor and control activities.
GP 2.9 Objectively Evaluate Adherence Process and Product Quality Assurance:
The process and product quality assurance process can implement GP 2.9 in full for all process areas (except perhaps for Process and Product Quality Assurance itself).
 
GP 2.9 applied to the process and product quality assurance process covers the objective evaluation of quality assurance activities and selected work products.
GP 2.10 Review Status with Higher Level Management Project Monitoring and Control:
The part of the project monitoring and control process that implements Project Monitoring and Control SP 1.6, “Conduct Progress Reviews,” and SP 1.7, “Conduct Milestone Reviews,” supports the implementation of GP 2.10 for all project related process areas, perhaps in full, depending on higher level management involvement in these reviews.
GP 3.1 Establish a Defined Process Integrated Project Management:
The part of the integrated project management process that implements Integrated Project Management SP 1.1, “Establish the Project’s Defined Process,” can implement GP 3.1 in full for all project related process areas.
Organizational Process Definition:
For all processes, not just project related processes, the organizational process definition process establishes the organizational process
 
GP 3.1 applied to the integrated project management process covers establishing defined processes for integrated project management activities.
GP 3.2 Collect Process Related Experiences Integrated Project Management:
The part of the integrated project management process that implements Integrated Project Management SP 1.7, “Contribute to Organizational Process Assets,” can implement GP 3.2 in part or in full for all project related process areas.
Organizational Process Focus:
The part of the organizational process focus process that implements Organizational Process Focus SP 3.4, “Incorporate Experiences into Organizational Process Assets,” can implement GP 3.2 in part or in full for all process areas.
Organizational Process Definition:
For all processes, the organizational process definition process establishes the organizational process assets needed to implement GP 3.2.
 
GP 3.2 applied to the integrated project management process covers collecting process related experiences derived from planning and performing integrated project management activities.
Given the dependencies that generic practices have on these process areas, and given the more holistic view that many of these process areas provide, these process areas are often implemented early, in whole or in part, before or concurrent with implementing the associated generic practices. There are also a few situations where the result of applying a generic practice to a particular process area would seem to make a whole process area redundant, but, in fact, it does not. It can be natural to think that applying GP 3.1, “Establish a Defined Process,” to the Project Planning and Project Monitoring and Control process areas gives the same effect as the first specific goal of Integrated Project Management, “Use the Project’s Defined Process.” Although it is true that there is some overlap, the application of the generic practice to these two process areas provides defined processes covering project planning and project monitoring and control activities. These defined processes do not necessarily cover support activities (e.g., configuration management), other project management processes (e.g., integrated project management), or other processes. In contrast, the project’s defined process, provided by the Integrated Project Management process area, covers all appropriate processes.

Contains

Capability Level 0 Incomplete
An incomplete process is a process that either is not performed or is partially performed. One or more of the specific g…
Capability Level 1 Performed
Capability Level 2 Managed (CMMI-DEV)
A capability level 2 process is characterized as a managed process.
Capability Level 3 Defined (CMMI-DEV)
A capability level 3 process is characterized as a defined process.