search menu icon-carat-right cmu-wordmark

Evaluating Artifact Quality from an Appraisal Perspective

November 2009 Technical Note
Emanuel R. Baker, Matt Fisher, Charlene Gross

This report explores the lack of agreement among SCAMPI Lead Appraisers about what “artifact quality” means in the SCAMPI process context.


Software Engineering Institute

CMU/SEI Report Number


DOI (Digital Object Identifier):


A question currently being argued throughout the appraisal community concerns evaluation of artifact quality during Standard CMMI Appraisal Method for Process Improvement (SCAMPI) appraisals. Different, conflicting opinions on whether evaluation of artifact quality during a SCAMPI is appropriate run from an extremely vigorous “no” to an equally vigorous “yes!” In other words, some lead appraisers and teams believe artifact quality is totally outside the scope of a SCAMPI appraisal. Other appraisers and teams believe that evaluating artifact quality is an integral part of the SCAMPI.  

This technical note examines the various opinions in an attempt to resolve the confusion. 

The main issue appears to be linked to word definitions—specifically, a lack of agreement among SCAMPI lead appraisers about what “quality” means in the SCAMPI context. This report notes that earlier writings on the subject focus on the problem of defining the attributes of artifact quality in appraisals. Three attributes—appropriate, adequate, and reasonable—are recognized throughout the community as applicable to the quality of artifacts. However, these attributes are not defined, creating the opportunity to apply subjective rules where objectivity is critical. With this information in hand, we can initiate an effort to provide more clear-cut, succinct guidance on the application of quality attributes to appraisal artifacts. This effort will enable Lead Appraisers and team members to inject greater objectivity into appraisals.