Attaining Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) certification is not merely a “bonus feature “that is listed on a contractor’s website and in their marketing literature. In today’s fiercely competitive federal contracting arena, more and more government agencies require that contractors be CMMI certified to be eligible for bidding on various qualified opportunities.
In late September, DB successfully completed the CMMI recertification process, attaining corporate-level CMMI Maturity Level 2 certification.
“The recertification process was a major undertaking,” DB’s Director of Quality Management and Compliance, Nina Malyutina, Ph.D. said. “However, we managed to go through both the implementation and appraisal phases one month ahead of schedule and under budget, demonstrating the unbelievable commitment from upper management and the professionalism of everyone involved in the process.”
The Road to Recertification
DB earned its initial corporate CMMI Maturity Level 2 for systems and software engineering in November 2008. The certification, which was valid for three years, was based on four major contracts DB held at that time.
“Even though we had until November 29, 2011 before our initial certification expired, we unfolded the implementation and preparatory auditing activities early,” Malyutina explained. “We knew it was going to be more challenging than a standard recertification because the majority of the projects we used for initial certification were successfully completed and we were no longer performing the work. This meant we had to use predominantly new projects that comprise the majority of our business. Another significant obstacle was that our biggest program is located remotely from the DB’s headquarters.”
These projects selected for recertification included the NASA ITAMS contract at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas; the NASA PACE contract at Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio; and the Neighborhood Networks IT contract that DB performs for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C.
“To attain CMMI recertification, we had to pull together all of the documentation for those projects,” Malyutina said. “This was quite an experience with subsequent lessons learned especially for the remote projects and appraisal teams . We used a lot of technology to connect and conduct consultations and audits. ITAMS and PACE key staff also travelled to Silver Spring for the interviews, presentations, and the mandatory meetings required by the Standard CMMI® Appraisal Method for Process Improvement (SCAMPI) v.1.3. There is no way we could have done this if it were not for dedication of the project managers and their teams, such as Jeff White and Julie Babineaux at ITAMS, Ron Harvey and Denice Ryan at PACE, and Ketan Baluja and Mark Fiery for Neighborhood Networks IT. These individuals had to manage their projects and deliverables, and pull together a great deal of information for CMMI recertification effort. Normally a corporate-wide CMMI certification process takes years, but we managed to do it in five months.”
The CMMI recertification process is comprised of three appraisal classes. Class C, which DB began in April, consists of the documentation review. Class B, which DB completed in July, is the dry run for the final audit. Class A is the final audit, which DB completed September 22 – 29.
“The CMMI appraisers uncovered no serious findings during our final audit,” Malyutina said. “The final Appraisal Class A went very smoothly, and we should receive our official SEI-approved certificate by the end of October. It really was an amazing effort by everyone involved. Having the full support of top management made a huge difference. Gerald Boyd, Jr., Gerald Boyd, Sr., and our appraisal sponsor Rick Stalnaker were fully committed to the process, and they made it clear that this was a corporate strategic goal and priority. And, of course, the hard work and commitment by the project teams made it all possible.”