Maturity Model Integration
Survey of the SEI/Carnegie
Mellon CMMI framework
Capability Maturity Model Integration(CMMI)
Of the many standards and practices implemented across organizations, CMMI differentiates itself as a comprehensive approach to process improvement through a systems view of documented methods for managing quality, costs, and time for projects. Where a standards based approach lends a minimum standard level of quality, the CMMI approach offers a continuous improvement model. For large scale organizations managing large military projects to small scale teams, CMMI can be leveraged to reduced costs of quality, while reducing the variances in project completion time and costs. In this paper, I will explore the structure of CMMI framework, what types of organizations implement and common paths to implementation, and then discuss the types of outcomes that can be expected as a result of implementation.
CMMI Model Overview:
stands for Capability Maturity Model Integration. It represents a set of best practices
identified within an organization’s existing procedural framework that are used
to continuously improve upon business processes. It is based on the widely held assumption
that the quality of the process has a direct correlation to the quality of the
product. While many business quality
standards and initiatives tend to focus on the product, it is widely held that
“The quality of a system is highly influenced by the quality of the process
used to acquire, develop, and maintain it.”
CMMI is an evolving model; at its core is a systems approach to process improvement designed to accommodate various industries, as well as the changing needs and refinement of business practices over time. It is not a certification or a standard, but a model that once implemented, is assessed by CMMI trained auditors. It should be noted that while standards such as ISO offer base levels of attainment, CMMI is a systemic framework tailored to a line of business with the goal of continuous and measured improvement over time. There are three different branches of CMMI that are known as constellations, and are uniquely tailored to the business area of interest; development, acquisition, and services. They are all based on a similar core set of activities or template, called the CMF; the CMMI Model Framework. These activities are identified as process areas identified to be the core foundations in which to build a model upon to evaluate and improve business processes. The CMMI process can be utilized by and scaled across an organization, or scoped to the team, project, or division level. There are five levels of maturity(figure 1) organizations can achieve as they model their processes after one of the constellations.
Figure 1 Five Levels of CMMI Maturity
The level attained correlates to the degree of adherence to the adherence to the goals outlined in the key process areas under each maturity level. Level 1 is the base maturity level and represents the immature business, as it relates to the control of the business as applied to process management. The key process areas are goals which an organization formulates a framework around, based on the CMF, and acts as a template for which to design documentation outlining the practices, training, and validation requirements to achieve. Key process areas defined at each maturity level are assessed and the ratings are aggregated to determine the maturity level. Companies then have the option of publishing their results on SEI’s published appraisals.
appraisal process consists of internal or external appraisers trained in
administering the Standard CMMI Appraisal Method for Process Improvement (SCAMPI).
Figure 2 Maturity level 5 appraisal for Northrup Grumman’s GMD Systems program:
Characteristics of companies that implement CMMI:
of maturity level 5 can be an expensive and time consuming prospect. While it is possible to adapt the model to
smaller organizations, due to the high level of documentation, training, and associated
expense, larger organizations with a history of well documented practices are
more likely to implement CMMI. Based on
appraisals on the SEI website, most companies listed are larger multi-national
organizations, and those involved with government and the military industry.
While it tends to be the case that
larger companies are more likely to implement CMMI, the improvements CMMI adds
to software quality and productivity in smaller companies in emerging nations
is surprisingly greater than larger companies.
many paths to implementation depending on the line of business and level of
maturity sought. SEI outlines three
broad steps to implementation: 1) determine current state as compared to CMMI
process improvement goals, 2)identify gaps between the
current state and the CMMI maturity level(s) desired, 3) perform appraisal. SEI
trains and certifies appraisers to use the SCAMPI appraisal process.
success of implementation is also shown to vary based on the level of support
across the organization as well as the existing culture of the organization. Four
factors influence potential for implementation of level 5 CMMI to improve software
development quality, cost, and timeliness.
businesses in some governmental sectors find it a necessity to have CMMI
maturity level appraisals in order to negotiate and win contracts, other
businesses realize economic and other benefits as a result. SEI touts that benefits of implementation
include decreased costs, improved on-time delivery, productivity, quality, customer
satisfaction and increased return on investment. I will
examine the ways in which research supports these assertions.
The first example supports the
reduction in cost variance as maturity level increases.
Success is often measured by the
amount of money that is saved or gained.
As it is demonstrated that successful CMMI implementation is dependent
on upper management level support, it is often necessary to quantify the gains
realized based on financial terms. Some
· Lowest ROI 1.7 : 1
· Median ROI 4 : 1
· Highest ROI 27.7 : 1
· 6:1 ROI in a CMMI level 3 organization Raytheon Corporation had a
· 5:1 ROI for quality activities (Accenture)
· 13:1 ROI calculated as defects avoided per hour spent in training and defect prevention (Northrop Grumman Defense Enterprise Systems)
According to SEI, 65% of costs associated with software projects are simply to address quality issues. Implementation of CMMI stands to reduce the level of quality issues. Improvements in quality will then serve to leverage the reclaimed resources previously expended resolving quality issues to re-allocate to further the goals of the organization in other ways more productive. Decreasing cost of quality not only results in the increased productivity, but also a higher demand for the higher quality product in the market, both factors increasing the organization’s leverage in the marketplace as in figure 4.
to the notion that more processes in an organization means more work for
employees and less satisfaction in the workplace, Adler’s study of Computer Science
Corporation’s level 5 CMMI attainment
CMMI has a
proven track record and wide level of acceptance across many industries. While it is a complicated and often
burdensome task to achieve implementation, the returns for this investment are demonstrated
to outweigh the expense of implementing, when implemented correctly. This is shown to be the case for large and
small organizations, as well as for organizations in developed and developing
countries. Research shows that when
implemented correctly, managers and the managed agree that there are improvements
in the quality, time, and costs associated with completing projects. The process of formulating the maturity
level’s key processes and goals, identifying and integrating industry proven
best practices into the procedures and culture of organizations can
differentiate mature organizations from the rest, while making the organization
more productive with its resources. One noteworthy study used a metaphor for the
comparison of the business organization to the human and the health of the
organization similar to the mind, body and spirit as it relates to the
implementation of CMMI.
Adler, P., McGarry, F., Irion-Talbot, W., & Binney, D. (2005). ENABLING PROCESS DISCIPLINE: Lessons From the Journey to CMM Level 5. MIS Quarterly Journal , 4 (1).
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Carnegie Mellon. (2012). CMMI Appraisals. Retrieved 11 11, 2012, from SEI: http://www.sei.cmu.edu/cmmi/solutions/appraisals/
Carnegie Mellon. (2012). CMMI Benefits. Retrieved 11 11, 2012, from SEI: http://www.sei.cmu.edu/cmmi/why/benefits/
Carnegie Mellon. (2007, March). Library-Abstracts. Retrieved 11 11, 2012, from SEI: http://www.sei.cmu.edu/library/abstracts/reports/07tr004.cfm
Carnegie Mellon. (2012). Published Appraisal Results. Retrieved 11 11, 2012, from SEI: https://sas.sei.cmu.edu/pars/pars.aspx
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