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Cluj-Napoca, February, 27th, 2013. In the strive for excellence ISDC has implemented a Continuous Improvement program based on the CMMI model with the purpose to create a fundament for real agility and sharing of best practices. In November 2012 ISDC’s continuous improvement efforts have been successfully appraised to CMMI maturity level 3.


Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) is a process model developed by Carnegie Mellon University that provides guidance for organizations on how to foster continuous improvement.

One would ask if there is a model that gives "optimal" predictions for future development and quality. Essentially, "All models are wrong but some are useful". The essence of improvement is the journey not the destination and CMMi gives a useful roadmap for that. ISDC is now CMMI Level 3 appraised and it will continue its search for excellence.

A story of CMMI: How its concepts, processes and practices support ISDC’s improvement program
Based on the CMMI model, ISDC started developing the framework to sustain its strategic growth, scalability and continuous improvement in 2010. Well-defined, repeatable and effective organization standards were established on the area of software engineering, project management and quality assurance. The adoption of the CMMI model is an inside-out approach: the processes and practices have been established based on the experiences, best practices, culture and values of the company.

Although the CMMI structured approach to repeatable processes might have been seen as a drawback, ISDC experiences show that linking Agile (Scrum) and CMMI practices together bring a more powerful combination of adaptability and predictability. More firmly said, ISDC believes that real agility is impossible without a CMMI-like fundament.

Ovidiu Suta, QA Manager: During our efforts with the Continuous Improvement program we have found out that an Agile Scrum approach does not in any way contradict with the CMMi model, they actually go very well together as the model tells you “what” you should do and Scrum tells you “how” to do it. We are using Agile Scrum at a micro sprint-level and everything else from CMMi model on top of that. They fit together like pieces in a puzzle, the tricky part with any puzzle is not to force the pieces together but rather choose the right combination.

ISDC has in place now a feedback process that allows anyone in the organization to share best practices, to suggest improvements and to ask for support. Through this feedback loop the organization is continuously improving, enhancing and adapting processes, practices and the way of working – leading to faster delivery and even better results.

Ionel Mihali, Quality Assurance Officer: Quality Assurance Officers are working closely together with project teams giving support and guidance at each project stage and spreading the organizational best practices and extracting lessons learned for future reuse.

Measurements process is implemented in a consistent and efficient way and runs as a continual cycle of measuring, reviewing, establishing goals, refining and defining new measurements; the metrics being collected are analyzed with the support of Measurements Specialists, the results are presented as trends, thresholds and are made available to all the decision factors in the company. Measurements value is perceived by all stakeholders as being useful in improving the quality of projects, team’s productivity and company’s competitiveness.

Ramona Muntean, Measurements Specialist: Our Measurement system consists of a series of data and project indicators related to: quality: reviews, defects detection rate (DDR), re-work effort, estimation deviation, cost of quality; productivity: velocity, hours / function points; competitiveness: bids rate of success, hours / function points
In sprint retrospectives metrics are analyzed, trends and thresholds are being identified and used for further improvements. Projects metrics are aggregated at company level, to then be presented in dashboards and charts that are an important support in the decision process but also in the day-to-day work of our Continuous Improvement team.

Anca Borodi, COO – Sponsor of the CMMI project: In an ever-changing environment, the key success factors of an organization are adapting and learning faster than the competition. To us, maturity means having the capability to learn from the past, to make sure we promote and repeat those practices that have proved to work best. This is precisely what the CMMI model is all about, and once we grasped this, the whole improvement program was accelerated and it became far more credible in our company. At the same time, we are now aware that we will never be ready. Each year new challenges come up and previously used practices must be dropped or replaced by new, improved ones. So the journey continues,. Once the organization has learned the power of such a continuous improvement, innovation and ideas are emerging continuously. My personal role is to make sure that the quality oriented culture, open feedback and initiative are encouraged and rewarded, that we stay connected to our customers, alert to changes around us and inspired by the challenges ahead.

Peter Leeson, SCAMPI team lead appraiser: I am faced with a company that is well on its way to a successful maturity level 4. Engineers are telling me how useful quality assurance is, people at every level of the organization can explain how an intelligent use of measurements has made them more productive, has increased the quality of the products and services they deliver to their customers. The expansion of the company has been facilitated by this improvement, as they have learned that rather than using CMMI to attract customers, it is more interesting to use quality to keep them.

Measurements and trends of cost of quality and numbers of defects are progressing beautifully. They are demonstrating how an international organization can combine a successful, flexible and cost efficient approach through a combination of Agile, CMMI and Prince2. They understood the principles, they changed the culture, they used training and well placed measurement. They understood that the principles behind models and standards are focused on communication, learning and sharing - and not (as many would have you believe) on bureaucracy and pointless paperwork. I am proud of this company, and I am willing to grab my little bit of responsibility in their success. But, more than anything, I need to say: congratulations, ISDC! Keep it up.
Source: "Sweet Smell of Success"