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US Requirement For Software Dev Certification Raises Questions

samzenpus posted about 10 months ago | from the outsatnding-achievment-in-the-field-of-excellence dept.

United States 228

dcblogs writes "U.S. government contracts often require bidders to have achieved some level of Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI). CMMI arose some 25 years ago via the backing of the Department of Defense and the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. It operated as a federally funded research and development center until a year ago, when CMMI's product responsibility was shifted to a private, profit-making LLC, the CMMI Institute. The Institute is now owned by Carnegie Mellon. Given that the CMMI Institute is now a self-supporting firm, any requirement that companies be certified by it — and spend the money needed to do so — raises a natural question. 'Why is the government mandating that you support a for-profit company?' said Henry Friedman, the CEO of IR Technologies, a company that develops logistics defense related software and uses CMMI. The value of a certification is subject to debate. To what extent does a CMMI certification determine a successful project outcome? CGI Federal, the lead contractor at Healthcare.gov, is a veritable black belt in software development. In 2012, it achieved the highest possible Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) level for development certification, only the 10th company in the U.S. to do so."

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So that's what the model is based on (5, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 10 months ago | (#45823369)

'Why is the government mandating that you support a for-profit company?"

Works for Obamacare.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (5, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | about 10 months ago | (#45823449)

Exactly. The Supreme Court already ruled you can be forced to contract with a private company for many different things. That cat is out of the bag.
Expect more of this in the future.

As for certifications, like virtually all of them, this one (CMMI) is totally useless in assuring quality.
 

Re:So that's what the model is based on (5, Informative)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about 10 months ago | (#45823471)

As for certifications, like virtually all of them, this one (CMMI) is totally useless in assuring quality.

Proof:

CGI Federal, the lead contractor at Healthcare.gov, is a veritable black belt in software development. In 2012, it achieved the highest possible Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) level for development certification, only the 10th company in the U.S. to do so.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45824173)

Been a while since I worked for a company that cared about the CMMI (UPS back in '96 or so) but IIRC a company can not reach the highest level of CMMI. Only project teams can reach it. So just because CGI Federal had a project team with the highest level of CMMI doesn't mean that was the team working on Healthcare.gov.

I also remember in my CMM training that they taught us that the highest level of CMMI (5 I think) should be reserved for things that essentially affect people's lives (medical equipment software, nuclear power plant software, etc...) and trying to reach anything past level 3 introduced inefficiencies in the development cycle that were unwarranted expenses to most software development.

But I agree with your overall point, CMMI certification is a waste of time and money.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 10 months ago | (#45823523)

Exactly. The Supreme Court already ruled you can be forced to contract with a private company for many different things. That cat is out of the bag.
Expect more of this in the future.

More? Or did you miss that pretty much every state requires you to hold at least liability insurance to get a drivers' license? And that certainly isn't even the only case before ACA.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (3, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about 10 months ago | (#45823551)

You can choose not to have a driver's license.
You get fined for not having health insurance.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (-1, Flamebait)

Desler (1608317) | about 10 months ago | (#45823559)

You can choose not to have a driver's license.

And you can choose not to live here. Sorry if I'm not going to shed tears for you.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (5, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | about 10 months ago | (#45823617)

There was a social contract your Obama support ilk changed the rules and just expect the rest of use to go along with your tyrannical theft of the freedom we thought we had. Its you people that should get the hell out, go build your workers paradise somewhere else; write back with how well it works out for you.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (-1, Flamebait)

Desler (1608317) | about 10 months ago | (#45823649)

I support Obama? That's news to me since I didn't vote for him in either election. And, no, I didn't vote for either of the Republican dunces who ran against him. I simply have no sympathy for libertardians.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (-1, Flamebait)

EdIII (1114411) | about 10 months ago | (#45823973)

I have no love for you fucktardians that force me to:

- Lose my health insurance plan because it does not qualify
- Botch a rollout of a rather simple website and backend infrastructure that greatly inhibits my ability to find insurance. If Google can do what it does, then by God those fucktards that created that website should have been able to do better. I've rolled out more complex platforms than that and integrated 3rd party services and data with said platforms.
- Spend upwards of 10x more on insurance that is now mandatory

and above all... NOT FIX THE FUCKING ECONOMY TO ALLOW US POOR SHMUCKS TO AFFORD IT IN THE FIRST PLACE.

If your're so keen on telling everyone what to do and so anti-Libertarian then pass a fucking $20/h minimum wage law.

All that shit you want to force on me should take no *more* than 20% of a minimum wage income, AFTER basic expenses like food and shelter are met.

Last I checked $928 a month wasn't enough to live on by yourself (barely scrape by) AND have disposable income to the point you can by a couple hundred dollar insurance policy.

I'm not talking DirectTV and Netflix being basic expenses either. Those minimum wage people, which you and I could easily become, are scraping by on fucking Ramen Noodles and Mac N Cheese.

By all means, complain about the Libertarian philosophy, continue to force insurance down our throats, and completely ignore the obviously huge gaping fucking problem of doing it during a God Damn Full Blown Great Depression. I don't give a fuck what may be going on with Wall Street. Down on Main Street the shit has only been getting worse.

Great Fucking Idea.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 10 months ago | (#45823779)

Just to add, I love how I've both been called an Obama lover when I don't froth at the mouth over every libertardian anti-Obama talking point or criticize Dubya and at the same time I've been called a Dubya lover for all the criticisms of Obama I've made.

Seems like today I've been labeled the former. I await to amusingly be called the latter again in the future.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (0)

ClintJCL (264898) | about 10 months ago | (#45823875)

Contracts require agreement by both parties, with one being of legal age to enter a contract. The social contract is a made-up concept... Strange, though, I usually only hear mention of it FROM Obamacons.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 10 months ago | (#45823917)

You seem to be confusing "social contract" with "social justice". Social contract is a 17th century Enlightenment concept. It has little to do with Obama or his supporters.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | about 10 months ago | (#45824003)

I am not confusing anything for anything. I was talking about what I was talking about.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45824191)

So only obama supporters talk about a concept dating back to at least the 18th century (note to the GP: if a year not ending in 00 start with 17, it's the 18th century not the 17th). See http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Du_contrat_social

Re:So that's what the model is based on (2)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 10 months ago | (#45824027)

The majority voted for something you don't like. Cry me a river, it happens all the time. I didn't like GWB but you didn't see me running around telling jack asses like you to leave the country because you voted for the son of the bitch.

Either you support democracy or you don't.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 10 months ago | (#45824301)

Either you support democracy or you don't.

So is genocide OK in your mind as long as a majority of voters vote for it?

Re:So that's what the model is based on (2)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 10 months ago | (#45824431)

If you are comparing genocide to obamacare you are an idiot. If you are trying to make a rhetorical argument by arguing the same you're an even bigger idiot.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45824665)

Well, what if I don't?

Re: So that's what the model is based on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45823725)

Yet if you face a life threatening illness and you don't have insurance the hospital can not refuse treatment because you can't pay them.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (2)

jayveekay (735967) | about 10 months ago | (#45824333)

The government does not compel you to drive.
The government does compel caregivers to provide health care to you.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (3, Informative)

s.petry (762400) | about 10 months ago | (#45823797)

Exactly. The Supreme Court already ruled you can be forced to contract with a private company for many different things. That cat is out of the bag. Expect more of this in the future.

More? Or did you miss that pretty much every state requires you to hold at least liability insurance to get a drivers' license? And that certainly isn't even the only case before ACA.

What? What planet are you living on? There is no insurance requirement to get a drivers license, and no requirement for a drivers license for that matter. Most states will require you to have insurance in order to register your car, but that is not the same thing as having Drivers License or State ID.

Care to retract your fabrication and start over?

Re:So that's what the model is based on (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 10 months ago | (#45824321)

I live next door to tens of millions of people who don't have a driver's license (or liability insurance): they live in NYC.

What is it with morons like the OP who trot out the liability insurance thing every time this comes up? Lots of people don't have cars.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (1)

Rick Zeman (15628) | about 10 months ago | (#45824391)

Exactly. The Supreme Court already ruled you can be forced to contract with a private company for many different things. That cat is out of the bag.
Expect more of this in the future.

More? Or did you miss that pretty much every state requires you to hold at least liability insurance to get a drivers' license? And that certainly isn't even the only case before ACA.

No state requires that to get a license. Owning and operating a motor vehicle on public roads is a whole 'nother story..

Re:So that's what the model is based on (2)

OhPlz (168413) | about 10 months ago | (#45824585)

You generally need insurance to operate a vehicle on a public road, not to get a license.

That aside, you don't need auto insurance in New Hampshire, which is still a state, last I checked. The state calls for its motorists to be responsible. Is responsibility non-existent in the other states? NH has plenty of other similar types of freedoms. No helmet required on motorcycles or bicycles for adults. No seatbelt requirement for adults. The state runs liquor stores right on the highways. Non-felons can open carry, no permit required. Despite all this, the state continues to be a fine place to live. No mass-hysteria.

The government doesn't exist to run people's lives for them, or to protect them from themselves. To me, the right to make bad decisions is a hallmark of freedom.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45823607)

As for certifications, like virtually all of them, this one (CMMI) is totally useless in assuring quality.

Yeah, that CMMI stuff is old hat for waterfallers, but don't worry, by 2038, the government will have updated its requirements to mandate that all projects shall be conducted using Agile(tm) methods under the direction of a Certified Scrum Master(tm).

Re:So that's what the model is based on (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 10 months ago | (#45823925)

auto insurance is mandatory in all states, isn't it?

if you get hit, your insurance company will pay instead of you having to track down the person who hit you.

do you want to fight that idea, too? sure, there are people who drive uninsured, but most people don't 'fight the system' and they do buy car insurance. and its always by a private for-profit company, too.

how is the dreaded obamacare so different? we 'force' car insurance on every driver; why is it so wrong to force everyone who is of age to partake in the shared risk program we call 'health insurance'? I don't get the objection to that.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (0)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 10 months ago | (#45824339)

auto insurance is mandatory in all states, isn't it?

No, it's not. Come over here to Manhattan and ask some people on the street if they have auto insurance.

Are you really that stupid?

Re:So that's what the model is based on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45824495)

Actually, you're not forced to have auto insurance since you're not forced to drive. ACA doesn't give a person the right to decide.
 
NEXT!

Re:So that's what the model is based on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45824499)

I can't speak for other states, but in California, you must be insured. That does not mean you must be insured by a company. You are legally able to insure yourself. Most people don't do that because it means having 10's of thousands of dollars locked up, but it is legal.

1792 Militia Act (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45824641)

Required every white male between 18 and 45 to buy a gun. No ands, ifs, or buts. And to report on a routine basis to their local Militia captain, demonstrate said weapon worked, and conduct training under arms. Oh, and they were registered including what weapon so they knew what regiment/company to assign them to.

Been going on for 200+ years - nothing new.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45823469)

Because the ACA dictates exactly what company you have to spend money on.

Also, the fact that your post says 'score:4 insightful' at the moment shows that the intelligence of the average slashdot reader has gone down massively since the last time I bothered logging on here.
Congrats to the readers here for showing that people going completely off topic is exactly how to get a high rating.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45824017)

the intelligence of the average slashdot reader has gone down massively since the last time I bothered logging on here.

Says the man (and we all know you are a man) who cannot even figure out how to log in.

If you can't figure out the tie between the two topics I would say the average level of discourse has gone substantially UP since you last managed to figure out how to log in. It seems to be too abstract a concept for you at any rate.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45823481)

And homeowners insurance, and fire insurance, and auto insurance, and tollways that have been sold to a private company, and zoning regulations that prevent you from growing your own food. The article asks about forcing people to support a *particular* private company, which is different from all of these (the PPACA included, known by people who watch too much shitty news television as "Obamacare").

Re:So that's what the model is based on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45823535)

all of those are optional. You don't *have* to own a car. you don't *have* to buy a house with a zoning rule, etc. With obamacare, they've essentially made it illegal to be alive without handing money over to a private corp.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 10 months ago | (#45823553)

Illegal? No. You are simply taxed more if you don't. The only time you reach "illegality" is if you fail to pay your taxes.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (2)

YumoolaJohn (3478173) | about 10 months ago | (#45823659)

Just like you don't have to enter an airport. Therefore, when you do enter an airport, you consent to being molested by the TSA.

Sorry, but I don't buy that sort of logic.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45823711)

Out of curiosity, what state are you from?

Re:So that's what the model is based on (2)

ClintJCL (264898) | about 10 months ago | (#45823819)

Yay! I could be completely free only if I was homeless and unemployed! USA! USA! USA!

Re:So that's what the model is based on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45824629)

It's a tax. You'll also find that it's illegal to be alive and make money without paying income taxes. If you have zero income, you won't pay the tax on having no health insurance, just like you won't pay any income tax. In fact, the government will likely end up giving you money in both cases.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (1)

PapayaSF (721268) | about 10 months ago | (#45823493)

'Why is the government mandating that you support a for-profit company?"

Works for Obamacare.

OK, point taken, but it's a lot more common than that, making the question seem naive. The government also requires you to have non-bald tires on your car, car insurance, wear clothing when you're out in public, and a hundred other things that you get from for-profit companies. And, trust me, you wouldn't enjoy a society in which everything mandated by the government was actually produced by the government.

Of course, the core issue is whether CMMI does what it's supposed to. I have no idea, but will note that governments tend to love all sorts of mandatory "certification," despite their often spotty track record and the negative economic consequences.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (4, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 10 months ago | (#45823597)

The question in the summary left out an important word:

"Why is the government mandating that you support a [particular] for-profit company?"

This would be a lot less of an issue if the company in question didn't have a monopoly on providing the required certification.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 10 months ago | (#45823753)

"Why is the government mandating that you support a [particular] for-profit company?"

This would be a lot less of an issue if the company in question didn't have a monopoly on providing the required certification.

Actually, government has done it a lot of times. Education is huge - you may have heard of stuff like the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, the SATs, GMATs, and other degrees? Do you know that the Educational Testing Services (ETS) which provides those tests also own some rather fancy hotels and other things?

You know why? They're non-profit, and every student is subject to those tests - either paid for by the state (ITBS, among other tests that elementary students take), or the student (SATs, etc). And each test is expensive, despite being well, evaluated by a bunch of fancy Scantron machines. So much so ETS makes a pile of money every year they have to spend (as they can't make a profit - "non-profit") thus ending up owning a pile of hotels and other stuff.

Standardized testing - now there's a profitable market that's really owned by one company.

At least with software development, you can opt out of CMMI and just not do government contracts. Or you can be "the only one in your field" and be exempt from regulations because your product serves a niche - if the government needs your software, they aren't going to demand CMMI from you - they'll just request it.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | about 10 months ago | (#45823853)

What monopoly are we talking about? If we're talking about health care, the cost monopoloy is always $WHATEVER_YOUR_EMPLOYER_GETS_YOU. It's pretty much never cheaper than that.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (1)

GumphMaster (772693) | about 10 months ago | (#45823603)

The difference being that the government does not require that you purchase non-bald tyres, car insurance, or clothing from a particular (monopoly) retailer.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 10 months ago | (#45824377)

No one is required to own a car or drive. Clothing is the only thing the government actually requires you to purchase, and that's pretty hard to get around in most places anyway because you'll get hypothermia if you're outside for too long without it, at least during some parts of the year.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45823897)

The thing with insurance (including Obamacare) is that you can choose from a bunch of companies which are mandated to compete for your business. Sure its a captive market, but they can and do compete.

The only case like this I can think of would be for an attorney that wants to practice law he must be certified by a state bar association which is technically a private entity. It is a non profit, but still private as far as I know. The state medical boards that certify doctors are public entities.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 10 months ago | (#45823949)

The government also requires you to have non-bald tires on your car,

If you own a car, which is NOT mandatory.

car insurance,

If you own a car, which is NOT mandatory.

wear clothing when you're out in public,

Unless you live in a nudist colony. And even if you don't, the government doesn't require you to go out in public.

and a hundred other things that you get from for-profit companies.

Thing is, the ACA is the first time since FDR was King that the Feds have required you to buy something from a private company if you are alive.

Used to be their requirements were a matter of "If you want this option in life, you have to pay this company for the privilege". Now it's "if you're breathing, you have to pay this company for the privilege".

Re:So that's what the model is based on (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 10 months ago | (#45823507)

'Why is the government mandating that you support a for-profit company?"

As well as the entire "defense" industry. And not entirely but still significantly the telecommunications, railroad, oil / natural gas, agriculture, airline, shipping, automobile, pharmaceutical, medical device, and finance industries. And I'm sure I'm leaving out a bunch.

I mean, why do you think big companies pay big bucks for lobbyists and campaign contributions?

Re:So that's what the model is based on (2)

whoever57 (658626) | about 10 months ago | (#45823533)

Works for Obamacare.

There is a difference between a mandate to buy something when there are competing suppliers of the product and a mandate to buy something from a single for-profit supplier.

Define compete (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 10 months ago | (#45823575)

There is a difference between a mandate to buy something when there are competing suppliers of the product

At least one state has only one Obamacare provider.

Also none of the insurance companies really "compete" because they can't sell insurance across state lines. That's why insurance rates and health care costs are so high, because real competition is not allowed. A small number of players are allowed to control each state (Hello Cable Monopoly).

Re:Define compete (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about 10 months ago | (#45823671)

And, if there is only one ACA provider in a state, that's a business opportunity for other insurance companies, assuming the existing company tries to exploit its temporary monopoly position. If people don't like what they get from the CMMI Institute, then presumably another company will consider it a business opportunity and move...um...well, maybe not.

That's the difference.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (1)

ewieling (90662) | about 10 months ago | (#45823739)

It also works for car insurance. Car insurance and health insurance require you purchase a product from a variety of companies. With CMMI requirements you can only purchase the product from a single company.

the GOP killed the public option (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 10 months ago | (#45823911)

but we stilled needed some thing.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (4, Insightful)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 10 months ago | (#45824159)

There's a big difference between " a for-profit company" and " this specific for-profit company". Even as someone who wasn't a fan of Obamacare, I can appreciate that mandating that everyone procure insurance from a company of their choice from among a wide selection of companies who are all competing against each other for your money is one thing, and that mandating that everyone get certified by the one and only company that the government has declared we must use and who has effectively been granted a monopoly by the government is something else entirely.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (0)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 10 months ago | (#45824181)

'Why is the government mandating that you support a for-profit company?"

Works for Obamacare.

And the DMV for many states.

Re:So that's what the model is based on (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45824183)

Not really on topic, but the original form of Obama care allowed people to buy insurance from the government, it's the republicans that required that that be dropped, and that people be required to buy from a for-profit company.

Proof! (4, Insightful)

Cornwallis (1188489) | about 10 months ago | (#45823401)

That CGI "achieved the highest possible Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) level for development certification..." more than proves that the entire model is useless!

Re:Proof! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45823491)

I've learned that to get successful software, you simply cannot do things "by the book". That's why Skunkworks projects happened, exactly BECAUSE if you go "by the book" (or "follow the process") stuff just won't get done, or will get semi-done spectacularly crappy.

Re:Proof! (2)

hey! (33014) | about 10 months ago | (#45823923)

There's a big difference between people who are capable of doing things "by the book" making an informed decision not to do so, and people deciding to do things in an ad hoc manner because they can't master the "by the book" method.

Every successful project, in my opinion, requires both discipline and risk taking; the art is knowing how much of each the project you are currently managing needs. Every project should have a bit of a stretch built into it, otherwise people get sloppy because they've become complacent. But *too* much risk, and they get sloppy because marginal additions to risk become meaningless to them.

You want control and measurement and all that rational stuff, but developers aren't automatons. They need motivation to care about those things; if they're just going through the motions a formal methodology becomes so much dead weight. So excitement, challenge, novelty, even a whiff of fear can be healthy things. But not chaos, impossibility ,blue-sky goals and outright terror. An excessive dose of medicine is poison.

Re:Proof! (2)

drdread66 (1063396) | about 10 months ago | (#45823599)

Actually, CGI has some great talent in both engineering and project management. How do I know this? Because I have worked at CGI Federal for three years now. The company's track record of successful deliveries is enviable in the Federal space. I say this based on 10+ years of experience in US Govt software development and contracting.

Of course, none of this is relevant to the CMMI discussion. Bringing up the CGI bogeyman as a counter example to the value of CMMI is purely intellectual dishonesty and FUD-mongering.

Not defending CMMI (IMO it's completely worthless), but I *am* defending CGI.

Re:Proof! (3, Insightful)

tricorn (199664) | about 10 months ago | (#45823787)

I remember working on a product produced by a company that proudly trumpeted their Six Sigma certifications. Had a problem with a board that was sold with the explicit feature of being able to do read-modify-write bus cycles on shared memory (each board had a section of on-board memory that could be shared with the other boards across multibus).

Unfortunately, it turned out that the target board would get memory corrupted when you did that (interfered with refresh cycles, I believe it was). Once I figured out that was happening, I contacted the company.

Six Sigma is all about repeatable and documented processes. Well, they documented it all right. They documented that they had no idea what was wrong, that the person who had designed the hardware had retired, and that they had no one there who was qualified to even understand what I was talking about. I guess since the problem with the board was repeatable, that justified their Six Sigma level! They continued selling that board, with the same claim of capability, for several more years.

Ever since then I've had little respect for that type of certification - worried more about the proper process than about the actual results.

comcast uses Six Sigma and they have shit hardware (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 10 months ago | (#45823927)

comcast uses Six Sigma and they have shit hardware that they still reuse even when it's several years old.

Realistically, only one cert needed... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45823407)

In my IT experience, there is one cert that guarantees you meaningful employment no matter what in the US:

H-1B.

Re:Future will be different (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45824421)

It could cheaper to hire in the "US America" soon with new "Coding Programs" like "Code.org" were degrees will be useless. It use to be cheaper to train young Indians then young Americans. And then laying off Old Americans.

Because... Corruption? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45823421)

That's the way you like it, isn't it?

Bogus from the beginning (4, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | about 10 months ago | (#45823437)

CMMI was always SEIs way of trying to reduce programming to bricklaying (only with a lot more paperwork), leaving academics like them as the only real thinking people in the process. It can't work and will never work.

Re:Bogus from the beginning (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 10 months ago | (#45823609)

As part of becomming CMM 3, we had to uabe code reviews. We paid a shitload for some asshole who wrote a book to come in and teach us.

"Do your review before you even make sure it will compile!" he swore. My skeptic bullshit detector went off -- transparently he was trying to amp bug find statistics to make the process look good.

But nevermind -- he got his giant check, the ignorantly savage management had a cover story of doing a good job, and we ate a shit sandwich.

We never did find any real bugs in the several years more I was there, though we did find many coding standard violations. My colleagues had grave difficulty understanding those violations were not actually bugs -- they were to reduce the chance of bugs, but none found were ever actually a bug in effect.

Snake oil & the supposed intellectual in their own field.

Re:Bogus from the beginning (5, Insightful)

david_thornley (598059) | about 10 months ago | (#45823741)

If you're not using code reviews, chances are your code sucks. I don't see any need to pay somebody big bucks to tell you that. Similarly, coding standard violations increase the chance for bugs, and it's worth making code conform.

In my experience, with very good people, we find a lot of bugs in code review. If you're not finding bugs, either you're superhuman or you do need instruction in code review.

Re:Bogus from the beginning (2)

olau (314197) | about 10 months ago | (#45823807)

Regarding code reviews: why do you think they are about finding bugs? While you can probably discover some problems through code reviews, a far more important goal is making sure that people are not turning out shitty code that will blow up the first time someone has to do any maintenance on it. You really want to make sure that people write understandable code.

Re:Bogus from the beginning (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about 10 months ago | (#45823715)

Back when I actually paid attention to it, the CMMI was in levels. Level two was having procedures and sticking to them. Level three was using good software engineering techniques. Level four was measuring results in some manner, and level five was institutional commitment for improvement (and that's really hard in a large company). While I'm dubious about some of the things, it was hardly an attempt to make programmers into bricklayers.

Re: Bogus from the beginning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45824327)

If I remember correctly, Level 3 is NOT about good engineering practices, but about being able to produce repeatable results -- whether repeatably good, or repeatably awful.

A Level 3 organization that repeatably produced garbage products would be rated higher than a Level 1 organization that produced superior (but variable) quality ones based on the skills of non-interchangeable engineers.

Levels 4 and 5 are concerned with quality, but Level 3 itself is no guarantee of quality and may actually represent a regression.

Certs are next to useless .. (1)

codeusirae (3036835) | about 10 months ago | (#45823479)

"To what extent does a CMMI certification determine a successful project outcome? CGI Federal, the lead contractor at Healthcare.gov"

Certs are next to useless in determining project outcome, all they do is generate revenue for the lawyers. How many PCI Compliant Credit Card clearing houses have been knocked off - hundreds. For a successfully project what you need is a small core team of top-notch programmers. Apart from getting awarded certs can you name any large-scale projects CGI Federal worked on that could be declared a success by reputable programmers and the end-users.

CMMI is a scam (5, Informative)

drdread66 (1063396) | about 10 months ago | (#45823505)

In 2005, my employer at the time decided to go for CMMI level 3 because it was required by a govt customer for their project. Certification achieved. Then in 2007 my employer opted to shoot for the moon and go for CMMI level 5. Again, certification achieved.

Two years later I left the company, because it was clear that CMMI level 5 was going to kill the company. CMMI level 5 introduced a high level of bloat, inefficiency, process overhead, documentation requirements, and (worst of all) process rigidity and attempts yo manage the development process by statistical analysis. Our delivery times more than doubled. The cost of delivering projects more than tripled. And the Holy Grail of reduced defect density? Nary a sign of such improvement. As far as I could tell, there was -zero- impact on code quality.

Our customers started abandoning us, our reputation circled the bowl, and everyone who had any business sense left the place in droves. What was a $100M/yr contract software development house is now down to 1/4 of the staff and revenue it had in 2009, and I fully expect their parent company will close their doors this year.

I firmly believe that CMMI Level 5 killed that company.

Re:CMMI is a scam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45823785)

I have worked with CMMI twice in my life. Once at the very beginning of my career and once a few years ago 20 years in. Given these experiences I firmly believe that following CMMI processes is highly likely to make a project fail not succeed. Projects succeed in spite of CMMI.

Re:CMMI is a scam (2)

BitZtream (692029) | about 10 months ago | (#45824077)

If CMMI was such a stupid idea, its not what killed your company. Management killed it, that would have only been a small part of it. Your blaming it CMMI shows a distinct lack of understanding how companies work, which goes to show that you're probably not really that experienced, and like wise, probably no where near as good as you think you are.

What also strikes me as funny though, is that in my experience, the people who scream most about how stupid certifications are, are the exact ones you don't want to use. Certification scares people who aren't confident in their abilities ... because they really suck at their job.

Every competent developer I've ever met has no personal problem getting any certification asked by their companies or perspective employers. Its just something that you have to do for a job sometimes.

When people get so uptight about certifications that 'don't mean anything', watch out. That person is afraid of a certification that 'means nothing' ... what does that say of their abilities? Are you really that scared of not knowing anything at all?

I would fucking kill for software developers to be licensed like an engineering displine, do you realize how much more those of us with a clue would be worth if we could dump all the morons who managed to install a compiler or IDE on their Linux box and suddenly think they are 31337 h4x0rz programmer gods after they managed to run a shell script on their own.

Of course, the problem with that is that any sort of proper certification would weed out 9 out of 10 employed 'developers' instantly.

You're probably a pretty shitty developer for multiple reasons, the easiest to cite is the fact that you think you're a business manager as well when you clearly demonstrated in your post that you have no clue about the complexities of running a business. No one thing kills a business, especially when getting that one thing brings you the potential to get MASSIVE government gigs. Your business was fucked long before CMMI even if you couldn't recognize it.

You need to learn what you don't know, then get back to me about being a qualified developer.

Knowing what you don't know, is FAR more important than what you actually know.

Re:CMMI is a scam (1)

greyparrot (895758) | about 10 months ago | (#45824093)

CMMI just the latest scam. I can't remember the names of all the attempts to "manage" software development that I experienced in about 30 years of it, but it was all a way to get expensive experts in expensive suits to annoy the crap out of the project and development groups. I don't know if it started in the days of Anderson Consulting (not to pick on them, but that was the period where I started to run into it). Six Sigma, anybody?

Not really having project management is what made Healthcare.gov such a fiasco. Probably CGI Federal had the wrong kind of managers to herd the cats that were the subcontractors. They may not have really understood testing, which was critical in this multiple-system case. Test planning is really boring but can't be skipped. Huffing over the documentation doesn't really help unless it is test planning documentation, but I bet it wasn't. Corporate-speak loses something in translation.

If buildings were built this way we would all be living in mud huts. Well, maybe not, but nobody would have built a cathedral or a skyscraper this way.http://news.slashdot.org/story/13/12/30/2219243/us-requirement-for-software-dev-certification-raises-questions#

What a dumb question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45823511)

'Why is the government mandating that you support a for-profit company?' said Henry Friedman, the CEO of IR Technologies, a company that develops logistics defense related software and uses CMMI.

The same reason that you need to support a for-profit insurance company to get a drivers' license? The libertardian bullshit is every so tiring.

Re:What a dumb question (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45823601)

Slight difference between mandating e.g. insurance from an insurance company vs insurance from this insurance company.

s/insurance/certification/ if you're still confused.

The Project Management Institute certifies (1)

sandbagger (654585) | about 10 months ago | (#45823543)

.that you wrote an exam. Nothing else. However, PMI Certification is demanded in so many bloody places for no goddamned reason.

Bid: (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 10 months ago | (#45823545)

If you're going to apply to work for the government, and be their subcontractor, it is acceptable to imagine they'll be telling you what to do in exchange for the checks they hand you. That's what the people who write the paychecks do. (In my experience)

It's insane what else the government requires (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45823583)

It's absolutely ridiculous that the government requires electricians to be licensed, medical doctors to go to medical school, lawyers to pass an exam demonstrating their competence, engineers to be licensed and have a minimum level of related experience, etc. The free market should be deciding all of these things. The government should stop intervening and do no diligence in lessening the number of its own citizens dying horrific deaths due to the negligence of its own populace. It's absolute socialism for a people's own government to do anything to serve them or do anything to ensure that tax dollars are well spent.

Re:It's insane what else the government requires (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 10 months ago | (#45823675)

Only extremists would argue for no government, and fanatics on either side of the political spectrum are to be discounted. Obviously we are too fragile a creature (nature's sacrifice for the big brain?) to be left completely without a few rules and regulations, but it would be sweet if the government could be a little bit less evil.

Re:It's insane what else the government requires (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 10 months ago | (#45824099)

That whoosh you just heard ... was the GP's sarcasm flying past your head.

Good for sausage manufacturers (3, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 10 months ago | (#45823587)

High CMMI maturity levels are really only achievable if you are in the business of mass producing something. They emphasise continuous refinement of production processes, as opposed to research and the development of totally new products. You can write procedures for R&D but they don't allow you to include steps like and then a miracle happens.

Rampant Protectionism (1)

Etherwalk (681268) | about 10 months ago | (#45823611)

Meh. There are a few times when certification that are useful--certification for certain contractors makes it more likely they follow certain safety rules, but you can also deal with that just by making inspections common, cheap, and painless. For the most part, certification processes are really about excluding people from local markets--rampant protectionism by people in power. (Like any institution, you become a part of it, gain its advantages, and then it begins to seem hunkey-dorey, if it didn't already. You drink the cool-aid.)

The way the bar works, for example, is much more of an impediment to good representation than it should be. There are some good things it does, like requiring a minimum continuing legal education and making it impossible for some of the people who steal from clients to represent clients. But it also divvies up the market absurdly, on a state-by-state basis, which artificially keeps the price of lawyers higher than it would otherwise be; and it makes their careers much more tenuous than most careers because of the disciplinary system.

Similarly, the way plumbers are licensed divvies up the market absurdly and artificially inflates prices. On the upside, it tends to mean that licensed plumbers at least know how things are supposed to be done and that they have an incentive (keeping their license) to do it the right way. But it costs everyone a fortune.

There's some stuff you could do intelligently on the software side--you could just have a test in a couple of programming languages or concepts to show basic competency--but the idea of requiring a certification with training is nothing short of ridiculous. It's just shooting money to a company that manages the cert process. Seriously, if you want people to not learn a subject, the surest way to do that is to require them to take a class in it. Think about the difference between student participation in optional classes and core classes.

Re:Rampant Protectionism (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about 10 months ago | (#45823803)

You're comparing institutional certification with individual certification. CMMI level 3 is an attempt to guarantee that a company uses good software engineering techniques. It's similar in concept to ISO 9001, but actually applicable to software development. It actually has some use. My experience with individual certifications in software is that they're mostly useless, and as you point out it frequently acts to reduce competition.

some of it is useful (4, Interesting)

Goldsmith (561202) | about 10 months ago | (#45823719)

I've worked in the past as part of the DoD Acquisitions Workforce.

CMMI is really just part of a broader obsession in DoD with project and program management. Abstractly, these are good things. When implemented correctly, they make debacles like healthcare.gov nearly impossible. Good planning, budgeting and in-progress evaluation are generally applicable to basic research projects, software development and building ships. We all want to work on projects which are well run.

The problem is, blindly stepping through the predefined process of project management has nothing to do with actually managing a project. You still need good managers who can recognize problems in the technical fields they're working with, understand what to do when problems crop up and are empowered to act. DoD in general fools itself into thinking it has people like this because the paperwork is done right. I suspect that's a fairly common problem.

We all know there's a problem with treating the "talent" (i.e. programmers) as interchangeable blocks using these systems. I think treating management the same way is worse. The ideas that management is mastery of a process and operates solely for organizational interest over individual interest are flawed, but central to things like CMMI.

Re:Certifided Politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45824541)

Blame the Certs or realizes that Healthcare is Politics!

Programming by contract (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 10 months ago | (#45823721)

I really love to watch programming by contract systems fall flat on their face. First they write a huge specification for what a bid will look like. Then in the bid they write a huge specification for the bid which is a bid to write a specification. Then when they start the project they write one last specification that lays out in extreme detail what they are going to build. This is then signed off on and finally they start to build something huge.

But the entire process is not focusing on sorting out the most critical problems, then figuring out the costs to solving them, then picking which problems would be solved. The entire process is all about getting the maximum "buy in" from the "stakeholders" who then lard up the project with any features that pop into their head. A key sign that all this has happened is when the front interface has a message from our leader front and center surrounded by links to all the crap that nobody wants. Buried deeply will be things that most people want and need.

A simple example would be my local schoolboard website. Parents want basic information like enrolling their kids in school, curriculum, and how to contact the school board. Not a single person gives a flying crap about who the schoolboard head is or any opinion she holds; zero. I am willing to bet that the schoolboard spent enough cash building the website to refurbish one of the junky gyms in the school system, or restock a lab, or provide instruments to a music program. Priorities that most people want; not a message from the leader or a bunch of crap about recycling at home.

My schoolboard example is small and a petty source of bad management but typical of even the biggest multi hundred million dollar disaster that you can find governments doing all over the world.

People on slashdot blah blah about opensource which is definitely where governments should be going with all projects but it is to open source the procurement process that would save the massive bucks. If we geeks had a few weeks to look over the various bids and proposals we could feed back some seriously creative and intelligent suggestions. If a project required a room full of servers and switches, an opened design phase would probably result in a huge rewiring/cost cutting/and solid capacity analysis. If proposed interfaces suck then all kinds of suggestions for improvement would flow. If bad software packages were selected then better ones would be proposed.

Re:Programming by contract (1)

greyparrot (895758) | about 10 months ago | (#45824237)

Yes, I have been there, on both sides actually LOL. Sometimes the business actually REQUIRES some sort of bid document and generally it is safer to propose the preliminary design phase before committing to the rest of it, as one generally does not know what is involved before actually finding out what is needed. That is, asking over and over again, what do you need to know and when do you need to know it? Anything bigger than a breadbox requires a bit of planning.

The point is not that you have to produce a document. You really have to find out what the project is. One of my jobs back when I was a consultant was to help produce a Request for Proposal for the US Navy. Now that was a document! Even for that, I had to find out what we were trying to buy and what the reasonable shape of it would be.

But you are quite right about bloat, lard, narcissism, and petty bureaucracy. The worst thing is that at some level you run into management who have no idea of what they are going to need, because they don't use it anyway. But they feel threatened by the people who DO know what they need, so you don't get to interview them.

CMMI utterly useless in my opinion (4, Interesting)

Guillermito (187510) | about 10 months ago | (#45823777)

I live in Argentina, where any software company getting a CMMI certification can apply for a tax cut. Because of that, CMMI was all the rage around eight years ago or so. Turns out CMMI was so utterly useless and cumbersome that at this point most companies prefer to forget about the tax cuts rather than bother with being CMMI certified. Only companies seeking government contracts continue doing so.

Not fun to work in CMMI environments (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45823857)

I've worked under CMMI level 3-5. Make no mistake it is not cheap in the manpower youll be dedicating to it. It really makes your job difficult process-wise and dull. The fun work will only come infrequently once you get through the process. I wouldn't even thinking of getting the cert unless you project is very mature and the customer requires it.

i dont believe in calculus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45824009)

Its a liberal scheme for world domination. Just like gravity and ele ctric cars. Jesus save us from these communist plots!

We need to combine CMMI, SOA, Six Sigma, ISO 9001 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45824189)

Of course you need an Agile component, so we'll get Scrum training and introduce Extreme Programming into the mix.

Carnegie Mellon Mafia Institute (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 10 months ago | (#45824389)

This arrangement is a Mafia-type's wet dream - incorporate your proprietary, expensive license or credential into federal standards so that everyone must pay you your protection money.

Silly Billy (2)

bfr99 (1729262) | about 10 months ago | (#45824395)

Yet another dig bites man story. Government requirements often mandate testing and certification by third parties, For example, FCC emissions testings.

Certifications are absolutely worthless.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45824531)

End of story.

Making sense of federal contracting (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 10 months ago | (#45824593)

There is no sense, no reason to it. If you are not prepared to cynical up and drain the public trough to enrich yourself providing no public benefit whatsoever, stay away from federal contracting. Far away. They are quite dangerous to the naively sincere.
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