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Borland adds CMM with TeraQuest acquisition

SCOTTS VALLEY, CA--The evolution of Borland Software’s product and services strategy is a conceptual alphabet soup. First there was ALM, then SDO, now, with the company’s acquisition earlier this month of TeraQuest Metrics, add CMM to the bowl.

Austin-based TeraQuest is a consulting firm that specializes in helping companies to improve their software development processes. The firm has been at the forefront of CMM—the Capability Maturity Model—almost from its inception. TeraQuest’s co-founder and chief scientist, Dr. Bill Curtis, co-authored version 1.0 and 1.1 of the CMM, along with Charles V. Weber, Mark C. Paulk, and Mary Beth Chrissis.

CMM is a methodology for developing and refining an organization’s software development process. Developed by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI), an R&D center sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense, it describes a five-level path of increasingly organized and systematically more mature processes.

The seeds of CMM were planted by Watts Humphrey in 1989 in his book “Managing Software Process.” Curtis calls Humphrey “the father of CMM.” “He formulated the framework and the ideas,” Curtis told eADT, “and then in 1991, he wanted to step back and retire. At that point he had his book and his framework, but there wasn’t a defined model with practices.” Humphrey asked Curtis to take over the directorship of the software processes program at the SEI, and he put together the project that lead to what became known as Software CMM (also known simply as CMM, and sometimes as SW-CMM). In 2000, the SEI upgraded the CMMI to the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI), which includes multiple process models.

Curtis, who joined Borland as its first chief process officer, went on to write the People CMM, which applies the same framework and process thinking to the process of building a strategic workforce. Curtis founded TeraQuest with Don Oxley and Dr. Joyce Statz. The company has gone on to develop “maturity models” for business processes, applying the engineering process principles to the challenge of growing the capabilities of an organization.

Borland unveiled its Software Delivery Optimization (SDO) strategy at its annual user conference last September. The Scotts Valley, CA-based company, best known for popular software development tools such as JBuilder and Delphi, began about two-and-a-half years ago to integrate its tools and technologies with acquired products to create environments equipped to handle all aspects of application development, from the planning and requirements-gathering stages, through development and testing—the application life cycle, or ALM. SDO was the next step, designed to “transform software development from an unpredictable art form into a manageable and repeatable business process,” according to Boz Elloy, Borland’s SVP of software.

The TeraQuest acquisition will add serious firepower to Borland’s growing services organization, says Chris Barbin, SVP of Borland’s worldwide services group. In fact, it’s part of the company’s plan to nearly double annual revenues derived from global services, Barbin says.

TeraQuest comes to Borland with a few tangible assets, including more than 30 courses that the company plans to launch through its Borland University. It also brings numerous reusable templates, tools, and processes, which Borland plans to add to an implementation framework and methodology called Borland Accelerate.

But don’t get the idea that Borland is getting into the CMM business. “That’s not the case,” Barbin says. “We are trying to evolve software as a business process, and to provide process consulting solutions to our customers in the context of software as a managed business process.”

“It’s not that we’re good at CMM, Curtis adds, “it’s that we’re good at helping people to apply a process that allows them to realize the full business benefit from their investment in their technology.”

For more information on the CMMI, go to the SEI Web site: http://www.sei.cmu.edu/sei-home.html .

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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