A Framework for Evaluating and Implementing Standards

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Metrics
Now that we have a verification process for following the standard, it can be beneficial to track metrics so that there is an organizational level understanding of how compliant the organization (and specific divisions and groups) are to the standard. The metrics should be made visible and quite possibly tied into the employee performance measures. This further ensures that the standard gets followed.

Manage
Now that most of the building blocks are in place: the defined standard; the practice to implement the standard; the policy that requires use of the standard; the verification process that shows if the standard is being followed; metrics to indicate the level of compliance throughout the organization; the final building block indicates if management truly understands the need for the standard and actually uses this data to manage the organization. An effective manager will use the data to run the organization and assess the value of the standard, as well. Is the standard having the intended affect? Are people complying? By evaluating the data and asking the right questions, Senior Management should be able to assess and reassess the standard, modifying, as necessary, to more effectively obtain the desired result, or remove it if it is not working.

Combining Verification, Metrics, and Manage
These latter three building blocks of a standard lead us directly into the enforcement of a standard. Quite frankly, without enforcement, most standards will not have any value (other than the de-facto standards mentioned in the drivers section early in this article). Enforcing the standard shows that the organization is willing to put time and effort into ensuring the standard is being followed.

Summary
A standard is only as good as its perceived value. Knowing who the driver of the standard is helps determine the context of the standard and where the value is perceived. Understanding the building blocks of a standard can help you evaluate if existing standards are really set up for success or just for show. Do you want your standard to be standard in name only, or do you want to see the organization really understand the standard and actually implement it? Also, applying the building blocks can help you implement a successful standard, one that is understood, implementable, verifiable, and used to manage the organization.

References
1. "Constructing a Configuration Management Best Practice", by Mario Moreira, Dec 07, published at CM Crossroads

About the author

Mario  Moreira's picture Mario Moreira

<strong>Mario Moreira</strong> is a Columnist for the CM Journal, a writer for the Agile Journal, an Author, an Agile and CM expert for CA, and has worked in the CM field since 1986 and in the Agile field since 1998. He has experience with numerous CM technologies and processes and has implemented CM on over 150 applications/products, which include establishing global SCM infrastructures. He is a certified ScrumMaster in the Agile arena having implemented Scrum and XP practices. He holds an MA in Mass Communication with an emphasis on communication technologies. Mario also brings years of Project Management, Software Quality Assurance, Requirement Management, facilitation, and team building skills and experience. Mario is the author of a new book entitled “<strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/0470746637?tag=cmf06-20&amp;camp=213761&amp;cre... Configuration Management for Agile Teams</a></strong>” (via Wiley Publishing). It provides an Agile Primer and a CM Primer, and how to adapt CM practices for Agile Teams. Mario is also the author of the CM book entitled, “<strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Software-Configuration-Management-Implementation-R... Configuration Management Implementation Roadmap.</a></strong>” It includes step-by-step guidance for implementing SCM at the organization, application, and project level with numerous examples. Also consider visiting Mario’s blog on CM for Agile and Agile adoption at <a href="http://cmforagile.blogspot.com/">http://cmforagile.blogspot.com/</a>.
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