ACQUISITION PROCESS APPRAISALS
Many organizations today do little themselves in the way of development, maintenance, production,
or services. These are often outsourced to an outside organization: either to an outside provider or to
another organization within their corporate or governmental structure, but which is not under their direct
supervision. For example, a development organization may define the requirements for the software
components of a system, but subcontract for the design, development, and production to an outside
contractor. Or, a telecom company may outsource customer service to another company. Whether this works
out well depends a great deal on the process used to define what the supplier should do, the preparation
of the RFP/RFQ/RFT, the source selection process, and the management of the resultant contract.
The same is true for capital acquisition programs. Whether an organization is acquiring products or services primarily
through outsourcing or acquiring capital equipment, the same principles apply. The requirements for the
acquisition must be defined, and this includes not only the functional and performance requirements, but
also the non-technical requirements, such as industry standards or government regulations. A procurement
package must be developed, i.e., a request for proposal, quote, or tenders (RFP/RFQ/RFT). It should be peer reviewed
to ensure that the package is correct. Qualified vendors or subcontractors must be determined for the
pending acquisition to ensure that a qualified vendor is selected. Proposals, quotations, or tenders
must be evaluated by qualified reviewers. Criteria must be established for the evaluation of the
proposal, quote, or tenders. And finally, the resultant contract must be properly managed by the
procuring organization. Best practices that characterize how this is all performed effectively and
efficiently are contained in the Software Engineering Institute's (SEI) Capability Maturity Model
Integration for Acquisition (CMMI-ACQ).
A process appraisal is a catalyst for initiating meaningful process improvement that can help your
organization establish and maintain effective acquisition processes. It will allow you to
establish and focus a process improvement program that will result in:
Better quality in acquired products or services
Lower acquisition costs
Reduced cycle time
WHAT IS A PROCESS APPRAISAL?
An acquisition process appraisal is an objective
evaluation of an organization's acquisition capability. We utilize the Standard CMMI
Appraisal Method for Process Improvement (SCAMPI) methodology.
It is based on the SEI's widely-accepted model for acquisition process improvement: the CMMI-ACQ, which
characterizes how an organization matures, or improves, in its ability to acquire products and services
(see figure) and serves
as a framework for helping an organization become more effective in their acquisition practices.
The appraisal is structured to ensure that aspects of the acquisition process that are unique to your
organization or industry are addressed. For example, an appraisal in an organization that acquires
equipment for delivery to a customer in a government-regulated industry might require more rigorous
practices than one which acquires equipment for internal use only. The appraisal methodology takes that
We conduct an appraisal as a collaborative effort, involving your organization's professionals in all
appraisal activities so that all participants gain a common understanding of the current state-of-the-
process and reach consensus on the critical process issues.
After conducting training in the CMMI-ACQ and the appraisal methodology, we will lead your appraisal team
through an intense period of fact-finding, analysis and review of issues, and presentation of findings to
senior management and participants.
SECI consultants are certified SCAMPI Lead Appraisers and have been providing SEI appraisal services
since 1990. The assessments are performed through an affiliated company,
Process Strategies, Inc., an SEI Partner organization.
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT FROM A SYSTEMS/SOFTWARE PROCESS APPRAISAL?
At the completion of an appraisal, you will
Objective findings that identify the strengths and weaknesses of the current acquisition process.
A profile of the current process relative to the CMMI-ACQ.
An SEI maturity level rating.
A sound basis for developing a strategic improvement plan.
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