All about Tailoring




Is this tailoring..?

Definitely not.. tailoring is not a way to escape from a difficult task.

Tailoring enables one to execute the task via an alternate mechanism instead of the usual procedure. Tailoring doent mean to simply skip the current procedure/process. If the process is difficult , then one must find  some other simpler mechanisms to execute the task so that end results are fruitful.

Where is Tailoring mentioned in the CMMI?

CMMI GP 3.1 Establish a defined  Process talks about ‘Establishing the defined process by tailoring the selected processes according to the organization’s tailoring guidelines’.

CMMI  ML3 Process Area- OPD talks about ‘Establishing tailroing criteria and guidelines’.

CMMI  ML3 Process Area- IPM talks about ‘Establishing Projects defined Process by tailoring the Organization’s Set of Standard Processes (OSSP) according to tailoring guidelines’.

CMMI  ML3 is the defined level where in which process are standardised across the organization. ‘Standardised’ means there is a consistency across the organization so that organizational standards and objectives are properly addressed, and metric data and lessons learned can be shared.

Tailoring is a critical activity that allows controlled changes to processes due to the specific needs of a project team or a part of the organization. Processes and process elements that are directly related to critical business objectives should usually be defined as mandatory, but processes and process elements that are less critical or only indirectly affect business objectives may allow for more tailoring.

Tailoring Criteria and Guidelines

Standardization should not be a bottleneck in front of wide variety of projects. And hence there need to be some flexibility to address contextual variables such as the domain, nature of the customer, size, complexity, cost, schedule, expertise index of the resources etc. i.e. we need a tailoring guideline to classify the processes as mandatory and optional based on certain defined criteria. Tailoring criteria and guidelines allow for using a standard process “as is,” with no tailoring. In short, based on the criteria like domain, size, schedule, nature of development etc. tailoring guideline defines some of the processes as mandatory and others as optional.

Tailoring Statement in a project

Scope of the project is an important aspect while defining the tailoring statement. For example, E.g. If a project has low level design document as input and project starts with source code implementation, then it is not required to tailor as ‘user needs are not available’.

Also the tailoring documentation must contain answers to the below questions

  • What process is tailored?
  • Why is the process tailored?
  • What is the standard process?
  • What is the suggested alternate mechanism?
  • Associated parameter for analysing the effectiveness of tailored process.
  • Etc.

Also once the tailored process is completed, the effectiveness of tailored process should be measured and analysed.

Approval of tailoring

Referring the tailoring guidelines and other organizational process assets project starts defining their process. No two projects can ever be the same and hence no single process really fit new projects as they come along.  Then the project team goes further and tailor the selected processes to better fit the needs of each specific project (definitely not skipping the process!!). This tailoring needs to be approved by Engineering Process Group in the organization. Engineering Process Group will be evaluating the submitted tailoring by project team. If the tailoring is a hindrance to organization’s objectives or shared vision, Engineering Process Group can disapprove the tailoring and ask/help the project team to have some other workarounds.   Engineering Process Group is responsible for analyzing the tailoring on a periodical basis, say on a quarterly mode or so. They can check what percentagee of projects are using the current organization’s set of standard processes (or tailored version of same). If a particular process is found as tailored frequently, a deeper analysis can be triggered by Engineering Process Group on the same to check whether that alternate process needs to be taken to the OSSP. There has to be goal to continually improve the policies and standard processes and thus creating an efficient tailoring process. High maturity organizations use quantitative management to improve their process assets.


The author is a Quality Assurance professional by experience. Part Quantitative data analyst, part consultant for quality and information security practices, part software tester, she is a writer by passion and blogs at and

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