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Apr 24

How to Prepare for an Appraisal – Completing the PIID

by Kevin Cotherman, Blog, No Comments

Apr 24

How to Prepare for an Appraisal – Completing the PIID

To continue with preparing for an appraisal, after planning (my previous blog), and assuming you are conducting a verification appraisal, you will need to complete the PIID (Practice Implementation Indicator Description).  In all my years working with the CMM/CMMI, completing the PIID is the most dreaded activity.  It is truly a four letter word.

A PIID is an Excel spreadsheet that has a row for each of the practices of the CMMI – there are 356 practices at level 3.  For each practice, you will need to identify the process that describes how to do this practice, and an artifact demonstrating implementation of that process for each project that will be part of the appraisal.

The PIID is used by the lead appraiser in conducting reviews, and for the appraisal team in conducting the appraisal.  So if you want to spend less time and money on the reviews and appraisal then it is important to complete the PIID correctly.  I tell companies to specify exactly what they want me to review.  Don’t just give the process document, give the section and paragraph number.  This way there is no confusion as to what the company wants me to review.  So if there is a gap, then they know what to address.  They won’t say, “You should have looked at another section”.  This would only take more time and cost more money reviewing another section.

While you are completing the PIID, you should have the processes and project artifacts easily accessible for an appraiser and team to access and review.  The time spent looking for documents is a waste and cost more money.

You can get a PIID from your lead appraiser, or I can send you one.  Email me at

The problem with completing the PIID is that it is typically a labor intensive, frustrating experience that takes project personnel away from their project work.  One organization said they spent 400 hours completing their PIID.  I was giving training at a SPIN once and a guy said they spend 600 hours completing theirs.  Why does it take so long?

If you have an appraisal and there are just three projects in scope for the appraisal, then you will have to complete 976 entries in the PIID.  That’s just identifying and documenting them in the PIID.  Then you have to organize these processes and project artifacts so the appraisal team can access them.

Can you now see why people get so frustrated with completing their PIID?

Is there a better way?  Just so happens there is.

I worked with Mike Kramer to develop a tool that has the PIID incorporated in the tool.  So once you have customized your processes and uploaded them to the tool, then your PIID is complete.  We call this tool CMMI Live.

Using CMMI Live not only completes your PIID, but also populates the project artifacts to the PIID.  In other words, just by completing your projects, the artifacts are automatically populating the PIID.

So if you don’t want to spend hundreds of hours completing your PIID for your appraisal, and going through this exercise for every appraisal, then you should review CMMI Live. at

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