e-Talk Radio: Zubrow, David, 1 March 2001

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companies, is it's almost like, you know they've got brand-new rocket trains, and they can get those up and going in one direction very very easily because they're laying the track in front of them, essentially as they go. So you can get very quickly to a level 4 and 5 because you've got no baggage to have to go back and redo. And for many of us in companies, we've essentially got these enormous, very very productive, very productive in terms of profitable, companies that have these freight trains that are running on old tracks. And not only would we have to build brand-new tracks, but we've got to take the old tracks out, make people start moving in the same direction. And I think that companies here in the United States, that have been established, and that have reached level 4 and 5, even level 3, have an incredible amount to be proud of. Even over any of the newer companies in India, because it was far easier in India than it would be for any company here.

David: I would agree with you, and maybe even take it a little bit further, in the sense that it's not only the companies themselves, but the nature of the contracting mechanisms we have in the marketplace as well, that are all part and parcel, if you will, of establishing a successful collaboration, and one of the pieces to that...It's very hard, you know, for some companies to resource process improvement when they're in certain kinds of contractual relationships. It's hard for them to find the resources, free them up, and commit to it. And for those that do, however, I agree, they have put their faith and money into process improvement and hopefully have recognized the benefits and gains from it. And I think that's another part of it, is simply the resolve and the will to do it. And we certainly have some very notable examples of that here in the U.S. And so I think it's perhaps easier, you know, the story of Motorola India was it started off brand new as an organization designed to operate at level 3 from the beginning with about 80 people. And it grew on from there. They've done a lot of interesting things in terms of investment and training that you may not see quite as often here as here in the U.S. But again, the idea of starting with that plan in mind, I think, is a big plus.

Carol: Now for companies that are pursuing level 3, level 4, level 5, I've heard some companies say, "Let's just get to level 3 so we can get there, and then we'll put level 4 as the next goal, and level 5 as the next goal." And I think there's a lot to that, it's almost like let's lay the baby steps, because if we lay it out too far up level 5, we'll never get there. What can companies that are pursuing, they may be level 3 now, or just about level 3, heading to 4 and 5, what can they learn? Are there any best practices that these companies in India, and companies worldwide, have done that we can learn here in the States? Maybe save us time and money as we're heading toward level 4 and 5.

David: Well, yeah, there's one thing that, and in fact I can tie this back into CMMI and then to measurement, which is, one of the biggest challenges for achieving level 4 is actually being able to use the data

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