What is CMMI?
The Capability Maturity Model Integration, or CMMI, is a process model that provides a clear definition of what an organization should do to promote behaviors that lead to improved performance. With five “Maturity Levels” or three “Capability Levels,” the CMMI defines the most important elements that are required to build great products, or deliver great services, and wraps them all up in a comprehensive model.
The CMMI helps us understand the answer to the question “how do we know?”
The CMMI also helps us identify and achieve measurable business goals, build better products, keep customers happier, and ensure that we are working as efficiently as possible.
CMMI is comprised of a set of “Process Areas.” Each Process Area is intended be adapted to the culture and behaviors of your own company. The CMMI is not a process, it is a book of “whats” not a book of “hows,” and does not define how your company should behave. More accurately, it defines what behaviors need to be defined. In this way, CMMI is a “behavioral model” and well as a “process model.”
Organizations can be “Rated” at a Capability or Maturity Level based on over 300 discreet “Specific” and “Generic” Practices. Intended to be broadly interpreted, the CMMI is not a “Standard” (ala ISO), so achieving a “Level” of CMMI is not a certification, but a “rating.”
The CMMI was developed at the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University with representation from defense, industry, government, and academia, and is now operated and maintained by the CMMI Institute, an operating unit of CMU. It is the successor of the popular Software CMM, or SW-CMM. The are multiple “flavors” of the CMMI, called “Constellations,” that include CMMI for Development (CMMI-DEV), CMMI for Services (CMMI-SVC), and CMMI for Acquisition (CMMI-ACQ). The three Constellations share a core set of sixteen Process Areas. There is also a “People CMM,” or P-CMM, that exists outside of the three CMMI Constellations.
There are three different types of appraisals, called “Classes” and they are SCAMPI A, SCAMPI B, or SCAMPI C. The SCAMPI A is the only appraisal method that results in a Maturity or Capability Level Rating. A SCAMPI C is typically used as a gap analysis and data collection tool, and the SCAMPI B is often employed as a User Acceptance or “test” appraisal. The results of a SCAMPI A Appraisal are published on the CMMI Institute Website known as “PARS” and is available for viewing by the public.
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