CMMI-development. What is it all about?

Lillian Hellman said- “Things start out as hopes and end up as habits”. CMMI promises to show organizations the path of such a workspace conversion-where hopes become repeatable habits!

CMM- Capability Maturity Model was developed by Software Engineering Institute at  Carnegie Mellon University as commissioned by the US, Department of Defence. Later in 2010, CMM-Integrated was launched with separation of concerns such as Development, Services and Acquisition. The major changes were better description and marriage of cmmi with agile method(to end their made up cold war).

CMMI models are a set of practices which when followed thoroughly, can  improve  processes and their management.  CMMI makes life easy  by making the customer trust the organization  more, by helping to add value to the stocks and by giving a better recognition overall.

The CMMI document divides development into 22 core process areas such as Decision analysis and resolution, product integration etc.. Each area has components which are classified as required-MUST be visible in the organization, expected-important to achieve and  informative. Each process area is governed by a set of goals–  both SPECIFIC to the the  area and GENERIC. Achieving these goals is possible by following a detailed set of specific and generic practices given in the document. There are examples, subpractices and elaborations that give details about the implementation of practices. Click here to see the entire CMMIv1.3- development report. A generic goal is explained below as described in the document.

GG 3:Generic goal is “Institutionalise a Defined Process ”

Generic practices to be followed are

  1. Establish a Defined Process.
  2. Collect Improvement Information

 Subpractices are

  1. Store process and product measures in the organization’s measurement repository
  2. Submit documentation for inclusion in the organization’s process asset library
  3. Document lessons learned from the process for inclusion in the organization’s process asset library.
  4. Propose improvements to the organizational process assets

Examples of process related experiences for Product Integration area:

  • Records of the receipt of product components, exception reports, confirmation of configuration status, and results of readiness checking.
  • Percentage of total development effort spent in product integration (actual to date plus estimate to complete)
  • Defects found in the product and test environment during product integration
  • Problem reports resulting from product integration

CMMI can be applied for a team, workgroup etc. In a world of rating everything, from your personality to the pen that you use, why should software organizations be left behind. A provision for applying for appraisal and getting a rating according to the relevant maturity level is possible.


Continuous Representation for process area. CAPABILITY Levels

Staged Representation for organisation. MATURITY Levels

Level 0 Incomplete– process partially performed              –
Level 1 Performed– needed work done to satisfy specific goals Initial- chaotic environment. Depends on heroics
Level 2 Managed- Planned and executed process as per policy Managed- planned execution
Level 3 Defined- standard practice according to tailored guidelines Defined-process standardization
Level 4            – Quantitatively Managed- quality management
Level 5            – Optimizing- innovation and deployment

Standard CMMI Appraisal Method for Process Improvement (SCAMPI)provides 3 classes of improvement to be applied at different levels. Class C is for few process areas and done within 3-5 days by Appraisal team member. Class B focuses on Deployment and a certified Lead appraiser is called in. Class A is stringent and is the basis for the final rating and focuses on institutionalisation and is done by a Lead Appraiser with a team. Example: Click here to see a sampling summary as published by SEI for Aricent.

The CMMI results published by SEI can be viewed by clicking here

Current research being carried out by SEI post CMMIv1.3 is

  • Tuning to process requirements in multi model environment
  • Studies of CMMI’s effect on Performance.
  • Mapping CMMI standards with IEEE,ISO etc to set a global standard.
  • tuning for improvement in small organization


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