A Critical Look at CMM and Agile Through Gen Y


and accredited to the process.

A major portion of work force today belongs to a generation that is termed as Gen Y. These are the people who are born between 1977 and 2000. They are estimated to be more than 20% and are the fastest growing segment of the work force [19] . This is the generation that grew up with numerous TV channels, Internet, CDs, DVDs and cell phones. They are highly educated, tech savvy, know how to quickly get help and from anywhere. They like to own their work and control it. They are willing to accept the responsibility for what they own. They would rather take this responsibility than take orders from the top or work in a completely prescribed working model, for whichthey have no time .

Gen Y has grown up educated, informed and formed opinions at a very early age. They have high expectations from their employers. They expect fair and direct managers [19]. They expect the managers to help them grow professionally. They cannot take a controlling manager who doesn't trust them.

Gen Yers want to learn quickly, continuously and from their co-workers. They also want ownership and immediate responsibility. They want to control their fate and are willing to face consequences for their decisions. This makes it impossible for a CMM-like atmosphere to engage them where they get audited periodically for some compliance or other. In contrast, the same trait works perfectly to Agile as they can continuously get feedback for which they are directly responsible and have an opportunity in their own hands to take corrective actions.

The best way for organizations to exploit this high energy generation is to provide such a relatively free and trusted environment. Organizations can set high level goals for Gen Y and demand quick returns. Organizations in fact can relieve themselves from trying to educate this generation on how to achieve the goals. This generation does not need those expensive heavy-weight models to make them work any more.

This makes Agile a ready buy-in with Gen Y. The feeling that they are in control of what they are doing wins their hearts more than anything else.

As Mary Christensen puts it "Corporations trapped in outdated ideologies are struggling to adapt to these free-spirited individuals."[17] Teams that are learning to trust individuals are adapting to a generation that's producing results struggle-free.


[1] Ana Sofia C. Marçal, Bruno Celso C. de Freitas, Felipe S. Furtado Soares, and Arnaldo D. Belchior1, "Mapping CMMI Project Management Process Areas to SCRUM Practices",

[2] Srinivas Chillara and Pete Deemer, "Scrum and CMMI: A High level assessment of compatibility"

[3] Mark C. Paulk, "Extreme Programming from a CMM Perspective", ftp://ftp.sei.cmu.edu/pub/documents/articles/pdf/xp- from-a-cmm-perspective.pdf

[4] Hillel Glazer, Jeff Dalton, David Anderson, Mike Konrad, and Sandy Shrum, "CMMI® or Agile: Why Not Embrace Both!", http://www.sei.cmu.edu/pub/documents/08.reports/08tn003.pdf

[5] David J. Anderson, "Stretching Agile to fit CMMI Level

[6] CMMI Product Team, "CMMI for Development, Version1.2", Software Engineeering Institue, CarnegieMellon  http://www.sei.cmu.edu/publications/documents/06.reports/06tr008.html

[7] Kevin Trethewey, "BLOG: The difference between Agile methods and CMMI"

[8] James Bach, "The Immaturity of CMM"

[9] Vasudeva Varma, Vamsi and Kirti Garg, "Managing Growth in a High Technology Venture - the Fact-Tree Way",  http://www.canopusconsulting.com/resources/techarticles/facttreecasestudy.pdf

[10] Nagaraju Pappu, "Response to the Fact-Tree Case Study

- What is wrong with the Indian Software Industry?", http://www.canopusconsulting.com/resources/techarticles/whatiswrongwithindiansoftwareindustry.pdf

[11] Ajay Batra, "What makes Indian Software Companies Tick? (CMM Practices in India)"

[12] QAI in the press

[13] Christine Davis, Margaret Glover, John Manzo, and Donald Opperthauser, "An Agile Approach to Achieving CMMI"

[14] "Agile Manifesto", http://agilemanifesto.org/

[15] "Agile 12 Principles", http://agilemanifesto.org/principles.html

[16] Gen Y on Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_Y

[17] Mary

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