CMMi Process areas and mapping with Maturity levels

From CMMi Introduction and Maturity level understanding, we are all set to understand the process areas associated with every maturity level. And the jargons will be Process Areas (PAs). Uh ho!, another jargon, again processes and all?

Well don’t worry about this, we have lot to cover and we will on the way keep on explaining as to what these jargons are, for today lets see this section. As this is very important for all of us to understand about the processes, let’s focus on this only for today!

Level

Focus

Key Process Area

Result

5
Optimizing
Continuous Process Improvement
  • Organizational Innovation and Deployment
  • Causal Analysis and Resolution
Highest Quality /
Lowest Risk
4
Quantitatively Managed
Quantitatively Managed
  • Organizational Process Performance
  • Quantitative Project Management
Higher Quality /
Lower Risk
3
Defined
Process Standardization
  • Requirements Development
  • Technical Solution
  • Product Integration
  • Verification
  • Validation
  • Organizational Process Focus
  • Organizational Process Definition
  • Organizational Training
  • Integrated Project Mgmt (with IPPD extras)
  • Risk Management
  • Decision Analysis and Resolution
  • Integrated Teaming (IPPD only)
  • Org. Environment for Integration (IPPD only)
  • Integrated Supplier Management (SS only)
Medium Quality /
Medium Risk
2
Managed
Basic Project Management
  • Requirements Management
  • Project Planning
  • Project Monitoring and Control
  • Supplier Agreement Management
  • Measurement and Analysis
  • Process and Product Quality Assurance
  • Configuration Management
Low Quality /
High Risk
1
Initial
Process is informal and Adhoc Lowest Quality /
Highest Risk

Everything is a Product Management

The basis of the post is this: Everything is a product management problem. Not just the product. Not just features. Not just platforms. Everything you do.

The same techniques and skills you use to manage product development can be applied to your startup, your business plans—and you, yourself.

It’s about compromises and resources and time. It’s about ship dates. It’s about controlling feature creep. It’s about making go/no go decisions. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an engineer, marketing, management, or sales. In the startup world, everything is a product management problem.

With that in mind…

Everything is a product management problem

Now, I’m no expert in product management.

I’ve spent a lot (a lot) of time sitting in product management meetings and listening. My primary contribution to product management meetings?

  • Meeting #1: Me: “When are we scheduled to launch? What’s the date?”
  • Meeting #2-#999999: Me: “Does that affect the launch date? Is the launch date slipping?”

Yes, vital component. That’s me.

But it’s good. Because when I keep my trap shut, I actually listen, so I’ve managed to pick up a few things here and there.

And here’s where the worm begins to turn.

So, the other day, I’m staring off into space, thinking about product management, and this occurs to me: Everything is a product management problem.

How so? Well, let me outline some of the high points of product management.

  • Timeline / Road map / Lifecycle. Every product has one. The really good ones detail the life of the product, from conception through demise. On it, you can see every upgrade, every feature, every release, every date. Everything that will happen to that product. This is the plan. For the entire product. Everything that happens occurs here so that it can be seen in the context of the product life. And every change that is made is reflected here. All the new features, all the slips, all the last minute requests, all the executive force ins. Not only is interesting and vital to managing the process, it’s one hell of a document for the post mortem. And it’s the polar opposite of our next item.
  • Trade offs and compromises. This is the product manager’s preeminent skill. Everything in product management is a series of trade offs. When is that resource available to build that functionality? Regardless of when that functionality is built, when do we release it? What does the market want? What does the company want? What do we do to incorporate this last minute requirement? How do we retool based on the usability tests? Everything is a balancing act for the product manager. You can’t do everything at once. And you can’t do everything before launch. It’s a constant game of ready, fire, aim. What is attainable versus what is necessary.
  • Resource management. Once locked, loaded, and focused on target, how do we manage the resources at our disposal? Are we going to wedge in some additional functionality while we have engineering cycles? Are we going to bring in outside help to get us through this rough patch? Can we rely on a single engineer to bring everything to fruition? What if that person falls ill during QA? How much do I have to spend to get this done? Can I buy more time? Can I buy more resources? Do we have to build? Can we partner? Can we acquire?
  • Translation. The product manager is a Rosetta stone of sorts. Sitting somewhere between the business aspects of having a product and the labor required to bring that product to fruition. In high-tech, as an example, engineers don’t generally want to hear about the business reasons behind feature #479. They want to know the spec and they want to know what technology is at their disposal to create the feature to spec. Conversely, the CEO generally couldn’t really care less if you’ve created an AJAX implementation or used C#. S/he wants to know if the customer will be jumping for joy or throwing up all over it.

So taking those high-level points, shouldn’t we all be product managers for everything we’re doing? Shouldn’t we be product managing our startups? Product managing our investors? Product managing our employees? Product managing our product?

I mean, couldn’t your startup use some product management? A timeline? A life cycle? An attainable list of features and functions to be launched at specific intervals? What does version 3.5 of your startup include? Is it Windows, Mac OS, and Linux compatible? What mobile platforms do you support? Where are your feature/function gaps that could move your startup forward or doom it to inadequacy? What features do you want versus what functions does the business want? What happens when a competitor enters the market?

How’s your startup’s usability?

Think about it. Your startup will be better for it.

Software Product Management – Trends

No. 1 – Portfolio Prioritisation

Are you working on the right things? The discipline of portfolio management isn’t new, but applying it in product organisations is much more recent. Product managers should ask themselves – what is the competition doing that I’m not? Are we prioritising our product portfolio so that our hottest products get to market more quickly?

Successful portfolio prioritisation is about several key factors. These include driving revenue into your organisation and measuring it through a variety of financial metrics; and aligning with the corporate and product strategy, ensuring that the priorities move you in the right direction for your particular company, product or product line. It’s also about securing the resources to deliver the product, and evaluating and measuring the tolerance to any risk involved. Most companies will also want to think about the impact of any activity on their brand, and whether the proposed strategy allows for successful leapfrogging of the competition.

The most recent factor that has come into play is sustainability. What will the impact be on the environment? Taking this into consideration, whilst evaluating the portfolio, is key.

And last, but of course not least, is the ultimate question – how will the product be received by our customers.

Software solutions, such as Planview Enterprise, include an investment analysis, which helps product managers to put in place a ‘what if’ scenario plan. This will evaluate product, features, projects and programmes and align these against the targets you’ve set, assessing whether you have the capacity to deliver. This functionality provides a product management team with the capability they need to drive products onto the market.

No 2 – Resource Management: How do I best utilise my people?

You must have the resources to execute, or you can’t deliver. One of the top three ‘pain points’ highlighted in the Planview benchmark study revealed earlier this year, was having too many projects for the resources available. It was clear from the results that companies wanted to be sure that their precious resources were aligned to products with the greatest strategic and financial returns. However, many respondents to the survey reported that they relied on manual approaches, such as spreadsheets to manage complex product portfolios.

The game changer, therefore is about three things: the first is strategic organisational planning, the second is ensuring that the resources for ongoing development are in place and the third is about dealing with the change that comes with all this planning.

Product managers have to consider how they are going to avoid resource bottlenecks, reduce risks, meet the launch date, eliminate resource cost over-runs, be proactive and respond to change in the organisation. If you find the best solution to deal with resource capacity planning at the outset you will be able to deliver on time and on budget.

No 3 – Agile Product Management: Why should I care?

‘Agile’ is not just a development concept. It is an approach that in product management should be used every single day in order to do the job better. There are a lot of agile tools available from velocity and burn down charts through to backlog for the product. Why should you care? It all comes down to delivering what customers want. That’s the job of product development and how developers are measured. Being able to have a clear view into how a project is developing and managing it at every stage is critical. Agile means being able to feedback to customers and involve them in the decisions and in the progress being made, and it provides a central point for all product ideas and backlogs, which is essential if a member of the product development team is away or uncontactable. Agile also helps you to be flexible to change and to meeting customer needs and bringing them into the agile circle. Agile is also increasingly helping companies with quality, enabling them to test a solution or product throughout the development process. This is also a major time-saver.

No 4 – Social Product Management: Are product managers going social?

Are product managers going social – they certainly are. Most product managers probably follow the blogs and tweets written by other product managers in their sector, and possibly even respond to points that they are making.

Product managers are embracing ‘social product management’ as quickly as any other industry is incorporating ‘social’. From a product management standpoint it is very important to see what competitors, customers, analysts and industry experts are saying through social media. It helps to keep you abreast of issues that are arising and ‘in the know’ when industry experts outline their predictions or the next big trend. And if your competition has a big announcement you will want to be the first to know about it. Being on top of product social management is critical in terms of how product managers do their jobs moving forward.

Aligned to this is social collaboration. Imagine you are in the middle of a big product development, and your team is spread across the world. How do you keep on top of what is going on? Through social collaboration, in the form of video or voice conferencing, and this is now possible by simply clicking on a name in your product management dashboard – that’s getting social.

No 5 – Product Management Analytics: What data do I need?

Probably the most important question that a product manager can ask is how can I show the key data that illustrates how my project is moving forward? In order to meet management demands for clarity and progress reports, product managers have to be able to instantly access a product backlog, ideally from one location.

Through the analytics, product managers can answer management questions relating to the relationship between innovation, enhancements and customer requirements, and queries about cost, capacity planning, offshore resources and the date that the product it is due to release. A product manager might also want to provide a revenue forecast.

One of the most popular metrics in the analytics function should be a roadmap. This can be based on the release date, the product, even by the market. All the key items should be in one location, and all the information should be in real-time, so the product manager can provide current data to management very quickly. The automated roadmap saves time and effort and allows you to pivot the data so that it can be seen by different criteria.

The additional benefit of real time analysis is that when you are thinking about your portfolio and trying to decide where the priorities lie, you have access to all the other relevant information such as what the competition is planning, your brand values, your resource capacity and factors relating to sustainability. If you want to make a change, you can do this in real time and the metrics will change instantly in one screen.

These are the current game-changers, the activities that will put your product management ahead, enabling you to automate at every stage from ideation all the way through to launch. These tactics remove unnecessary, time-consuming tasks, and deliver to you all the analytics and information you need to product manage effectively.