Client Concern

An operating division of a large, diversified company develops high performance motion control systems for commercial entertainment and defense and civilian aircraft applications determined a need to clarify their processes.

In analyzing the exposure to liability of a system failure, the company determined that their otherwise stable and viable processes needed to become more explicit and that process training, especially for new engineers, was needed. In accomplishing this goal, the leadership team decided to use SW CMM, with a target goal of Maturity Level 3.

ISD was contacted with the requirement to elicit and document process definitions, guide the organization through institutionalization and conduct a benchmark process appraisal.

ISD Solution

ISD assigned a small team with responsibility for understanding and documenting the existing engineering processes and evaluating their compliance with the model. In keeping with corporate culture (management and engineering staff of <15 people) and the small scale of the project environment (1-2 people each), significant model tailoring was required to produce a thin, but effective process. Especially challenging were areas such as planning, integrated management and inter-group coordination.

Through a series of targeted meetings with engineering process group representatives, the team developed an integrated set of process definitions supported by procedures, templates and training. Between sessions, the process group would circulate and obtain buy-in or requests for change on work products produced. The process group would obtain approval of new processes from the management team and oversee project team training and adoption of the revised (and ultimately approved) process. In this way we were able to accelerate institutionalization.

These efforts culminated in the conduct of a comprehensive, SCE appraisal conducted by another ISD team leader (to protect objectivity), with internal team members.


In less than 18 months, ISD organized and led a rolling program of process definition, training and implementation support to meet organizational needs for a documented, institutionalized process at SW CMM L3.