Implementation Guidance for the Accelerated Improvement Method (AIM)

Keywords accelerated implementation implementation
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This report is a description of and aid for implementing the Accelerated Improvement Method (AIM), and is a companion to the Guide for SCAMPI Appraisals: Accelerated Improvement Method (AIM). The intended audience is anyone responsible for implementing CMMI using the Team Software Process (TSP), Six Sigma, and other methodologies—management sponsors and champions, line and support management directly affected by such changes, process group leads and members responsible for implementing such changes, and the team leaders and developers enacting such new methods in concert and combination with their existing practices.

This guide is not exhaustive; rather it is a starting point on the road to using CMMI and related technologies to
help organizations achieve business objectives using world-class process management techniques.


This report describes the Accelerated Improvement Method (AIM), a rapid deployment of high-performance
CMMI practices—the Team Software Process (TSP), tailored SCAMPI appraisals, and elements of Six Sigma—as the core technologies of an approach that addresses maturity levels 2 and 3, and provides significant support for the higher maturity levels. This approach builds upon field experience by SEI staff, client organizations, and others that have recognized the potential in using these technologies together.

CMMI provides an organizational “what-to-do” viewpoint, while the other practices bring organizational, project team, and individual “how-to-do-it” viewpoints as well as critical feedback, with the following features:

• The approach allows more rapid implementation than CMMI norms, hence “Accelerated Improvement Method,” or “AIM.” The nominal AIM timeframe for a small-to-medium-sized development organization to achieve CMMI maturity level 3 is 18 months, or less than half the time normally attributed to the IDEAL-based improvement approach.

• The AIM approach achieves excellent results in terms of measureable project performance improvements, beginning with the first project. Predictable schedule and costs with a 30% improvement in productivity and 80% fewer delivered defects are common results. Initial pilot projects can begin within weeks of a decision to proceed.

• CMMI implementation proceeds on a project-by-project basis, rather than using a maturity level (ML) or process area (PA) approach, although certain groupings of PAs are naturally addressed by AIM. The project-by-project approach assures constrained, identifiable, and incremental costs, with measureable results that justify those costs.

• AIM provides a path to sustain and improve upon excellent—and in some cases, world-class— results, while building the internal capability to support the new way of working. AIM thus addresses the ongoing debate in the CMMI community of performance vs. compliance.

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