the common measures in place so that when we measure things, we know what the comparability is so that we can compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges and know what we're really talking about. And that is fundamentally what Level 3 is all about.
When we get up to Levels 4 and 5, we're really talking about getting a degree of process consistency and measurement in place so that we can do true management by fact. We can look at our data and get a good statistical, if you will, insight into what's going on, applying some of the ideas of statistical process control and other rigorous measurement techniques. And this is stuff that has been done in the manufacturing environment and other industries for decades, you know, going all the way back to the 1920s. And what we gradually learned over the last -- mostly over the last ten years, is how we can get a degree of process consistency that balances the creative nature of the problem-solving work, the design intensive kinds of work that we do when we're building software with the rigor and discipline that allows us to use measurement in some fairly disciplined, systematic ways. And it's really a paradigm shift. It's really a culture shift that we're talking about. And when I'm talking to folks in Level 1 organizations, I basically don't talk to them a whole lot about Levels 4 and 5. I tell them: You've got a major culture shift to go through in getting to Levels 2 and 3. And I can tell you what the advantages are, the benefits are, and hopefully make a plausible case for it that you'll understand. But when I start talking about Levels 4 and 5, we're talking about two culture shifts away, if you will.
Mark: And you're just never going to really understand that if you're in a Level 1 environment fighting fires all the time. When we start talking about some of these other ideas, it's a culture shift.
Carol: And we'll be back with more of Mark Paulk and the Capability Maturity Model after these messages...And welcome back to Quality Plus! E-talk. I'm Carol Dekkers. And we're going into one of our final segments with our guest this evening, who is Mark Paulk, a senior member of the technical staff at the Software Engineering Institute.
Now, Mark, we've been talking about the Capability Maturity Model and why processes and standardizations can lead to better software. And I can just hear in the back of my mind a lot of people saying: Well you're out of touch with the real world. When we're building an F16 and all the software with it, we're only doing it once where artists say, you know, the Capability Maturity Model must be for those companies like Microsoft that are just stamping out the same thing over and over again. We're artists. How can we possibly standardize? What's your answer to them?
Mark: Everybody always says "we're different." It's almost a universal comment that people make. And you will sometimes, you'll hear people saying that: You know, I'm different from everybody else in the world. You know, when Michael Fagan talks about the optimal rate for inspecting software code, I'm different. I can inspect mine in order utter of magnitude quicker than Fagan recommends. And then you start going through a process improvement, things such as the personal software process training or something like that. And what you find out is, when I start measuring my actual performance, I'm just like everybody else.