Enabling the enabler: how to ensure your MuleSoft C4E is successful

07.01.2020

Following on from my last article, this post will explore how MuleSoft users can ensure their C4E (Centre for Enablement) is implemented successfully by using the CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration) framework.

Centre for Enablement: why does it matter?


A C4E is an organisational practice to drive reuse and make development teams more agile. It consists of a cross-functional team designed to align technology and business strategy, enable IT to become more productive, and prove the ROI for technology projects.

What is CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration)?

According to the CMMI Institute, the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI)® is a proven set of global best practices that drives business performance through building and benchmarking key capabilities.

CMMI best practices focus on what needs to be done to improve performance and align operations to business goals. Designed to be understandable, accessible, flexible, and integrate with other methodologies such as agile, CMMI models help organisations understand their current level of capability and performance and offer a guide to optimise business results.

At WHISHWORKS, we use CMMI to uncover important elements required for our customers to get the most out of their ecosystem of data, applications and devices. We then define realistic goals according to their maturity level with respect to processes and capabilities around integration. With this understanding, we work together with our customers to advance their C4E, and establish, standardise and promote best practices across the organisation.

Now, this is certainly not a practice we coined, the framework has been present for some time and is used by MuleSoft themselves to assess the state of affairs of an organisation – predominantly in the integration space.

So, what makes our CMMI assessment different? For starters, our assessment looks to measure maturity across the business rather than being positioned in just the integration department.

The very nature of C4E, centralised or federated, is intended to provide best practise, one voice and standardisation for the business at all levels. However, in order to do this successfully, there first needs to be an understanding of departmental capabilities, desires to improve, and overall perception of MuleSoft.

Here’s an example: we have company A who has delivered one, perhaps two projects successfully. They feel they are reaching a stage of maturity with the MuleSoft's Anypoint Platform, as they have learnt from their initial project which in turn has proved project 2 to be more successful. As a result, they feel the time is now to implement C4E or at least begin looking at standardisation for both the integration arm of the business and others.

If company A however, who has successfully delivered two MuleSoft projects assumes the best practises and procedures can filter painlessly through other departments - they will be in for a rude awakening! The challenges of change management are not to be taken lightly!

CMMI pic

An old bike with two wheels, a handlebar, seat and pedals is better than a super speed trials carbon fibre race bike without one wheel, missing a seat and pedals.

Most organisations realise the need to improve to successfully manage change, but don't know how. They do one of two things. Either spend very little on process improvement, because they are unsure how best to proceed, or spend a lot on a number of parallel and unfocused efforts, to little or no avail.

How to ensure success...

At WHISHWORKS we have been applying CMMI for many years across MuleSoft implementations, being strong advocates of the benefits a C4E can have across an organisation.  It is vital to understand your journey and set appropriate targets and measures to be the best version of yourself, as soon as possible.

Focus effort on what is attainable now or in the near future, rather than just on long term dreams:

  • Long game intent/big picture thinking is great
  • (Incremental), logical and organic development of C4E as an organisation enabler

Address resistance to change by providing an effective and proven method for an organisation to gradually gain control over and improve its change processes. Such models provide the following benefits:

  • They describe the practices that any organisation must apply in order to improve its processes;
  • They provide a yard stick against which to periodically measure improvement
  • They constitute a proven framework within which to manage the improvement efforts
  • They organise the various practices into levels, each level representing an increased
  • Ability to control and manage the environment.

Final thoughts

CMMI assesses an organisation's ability to execute in the area concerned, and the practices on which the organisation needs to focus in order to see the greatest improvement and the highest return on investment.

And although in theory setting up a C4E may be fairly straightforward, you need to remember: the best practises, understanding and appreciation of MuleSoft’s API-led approach to integration is often gained in isolation. Other departments may not have gone through the pain points and the wins that you or the original developers have experienced. You must not only promote best practice across the organisation but build the culture around it.

We have just touched on CMMI, we are having multiple conversations with customers around how we can assist in enabling them to become more productive, advance reusability and prove ROI for their integration projects.
 

If you would like to find out how to successfully implement your C4E using a CMMI model, we can help, give us a call on +44 (0)203 475 7980 or email us at marketing@whishworks.com.

Other useful links:

"Hindsight is 2020" - how Mule's future will be guided by it's past

MuleSoft Managed Services

MuleSoft Centre of Excellence

 

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