Sometimes we are asked why a small company like Rite-Solutions is a Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) and International Organization for Standards (ISO) certified organization. Obtaining certification requires time and resources—two things small businesses don’t have an abundance of. For three primary reasons, we find it worth the investment and something that all companies should consider.
Certification makes us a better organization
Instead of scrambling from one project to the next, the rigorous CMMI and ISO programs make us more disciplined. We have clearly defined practices that are institutionalized across the organization. In the short term, it can be challenging. In the long term, it actually saves us time and money. For example, as part of our practices, we have a Continuous Process Improvement Plan that identifies objectives to improve and actions on how to achieve those objectives. For us, getting better isn’t a “one and done” event or a knee-jerk reaction to some problem. It is something that continuously occurs throughout our organization. Standardized practices also allow us to move people around as project requirements and needs ebb and flow. Everyone understands our processes and practices, so they can pick up right where someone else left off. Similarly, standardization simplifies the workforce training that’s needed. This structure also gives us a disciplined approach to making improvements. When you have clearly stated practices, you can improve on them. If you don’t, you can’t. We go beyond being on time and on budget. After each project, we look for ways to do things a bit better and a bit faster next time.
Certification improves quality, saves time and money
Of course, project management practices give us better quality controls, which enable us to improve the quality of our services and solutions. Certification also enables us to improve the time to market. Instead of simply forging ahead and potentially overlooking something, our processes include checks and balances that help us anticipate issues and “do things right the first time.” It may seem counter-intuitive, but the extra time invested in the beginning actually saves time and money in the end.
Certification gives customers more business value
Sometimes in big, established companies, things are done because “We’ve always done it that way.” Reports are generated that no one reads, and meaningless review meetings are scheduled… because the process says so. These kinds of activities don’t always add value to the finished product. In fact, they may cause delays, compromise quality, and increase costs! Our processes force us to look closely at our practices and consider the business value they give to the customer. We actively search for recurring problems, redundancies, and new ways to improve quality or reduce cost. If there’s no value, we don’t change the process! A wonderful byproduct of this kind of self-analysis is that the people who are using the process have a say in improving it. It’s not just something that’s forced upon them. The folks closest to projects have skin in the game and make useful suggestions.
Rite-Solutions has been a CMMI Level-3 appraised organization for six years and we will continue investing in these programs. Currently, we are in the process of obtaining certification for CMMI Level-3 version 2.0, which puts greater emphasis on delivering business value. Also, in February we were awarded ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certifications.
Yes, these certifications represent a tremendous amount of work. But, they drive positive changes within organizations that pay dividends later. Certification also gives your company a competitive advantage. Potential customers will recognize the rigor and discipline required to achieve and maintain certifications like CMMI and ISO, and will become more confident in your organization’s ability to meet their needs.