Why Mellon Left the SPC
Mellon Financial Corp. has chosen not to renew membership in the Software Productivity Consortium. Its decision reflects the difficulties SPC has had in attracting corporate members outside its traditional coterie of technology services firms, government agencies and federal contractors.
The $4 billion bank joined three years ago when its software development group decided to embrace the Capability Maturity Model (CMM), a five-level set of standards for building software as efficiently, predictably and error-free as possible. (CMM comprises a cornerstone of the 18-year-old, nonprofit SPC.)
Membership was a way to network with other companies also doing CMM work. But Mellon found the consortium geared more toward government agencies than corporate entities, says Andy Wasser, director of the project office at Mellon in Pittsburgh.
While SPC ideas for, say, improving software testing methods do cut across industry borders, many issues carried a defense and aerospace bent, Wasser says. One example: "Every year they poll [member] needs. Last year, one of General Dynamics' needs was, 'What impact [will] IEEE 12207 [a standard for development of software life cycles used primarily by defense contractors] have on my compliance practice?' Well, IEEE is not relevant to a bank."
Having achieved CMM Level 3 compliance (on a scale of one to five), Mellon decided to leave the SPC and spend the $60,000 it would have spent on a one-year membership on more tailored consulting instead, Wasser says.
"There was no bad blood whatsoever," he adds. "It was purely a business decision."