Capability Maturity Model

Jan 2




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The Capability Maturity Model (CMM) is a methodology used to develop and refine an organization's software development process. The model describes a five-level evolutionary path of increasingly organized and systematically more mature processes.


CMM was developed and is promoted by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI), Capability Maturity Model Articles a research and development center sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense. SEI was founded in 1984 to address software engineering issues and, in a broad sense, to advance software engineering methodologies. More specifically, SEI was established to optimize the process of developing, acquiring, and maintaining heavily software-reliant systems for the DoD. Because the processes involved are equally applicable to the software industry as a whole, SEI advocates industry-wide adoption of the CMM.

The CMM is similar to ISO 9001, one of the ISO 9000 series of standards specified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The ISO 9000 standards specify an effective quality system for manufacturing and service industries; ISO 9001 deals specifically with software development and maintenance. The main difference between the two systems lies in their respective purposes: ISO 9001 specifies a minimal acceptable quality level for software processes, while the CMM establishes a framework for continuous process improvement and is more explicit than the ISO standard in defining the means to be employed to that end.

Levels of the CMM:

Maturity Level 1 - Initial

Maturity Level 2 - Repeatable           

•   Requirements Management           

•    Software Project Planning           

•    Software Project Tracking and Oversight                       

•    Software Subcontractor Management           

•    Software Quality Assurance           

•   Software Configuration Management

Maturity Level 3 - Defined           

•   Organization Process Focus           

•   Organization Process Definition           

•   Training Program           

•   Integrated Software Management           

•   Software Product Engineering           

•   Intergroup Coordination           

•   Peer Reviews

Maturity Level 4 - Managed           

•   Quantitative process management           

•   Software quality management

Maturity Level 5 - Optimizing           

•    Defect prevention           

•    Technology change management           

•    Process change management           

•    Structure of CMM           

•    Maturity Levels

Framework of Capability Maturity Model: A layered framework providing a progression to the discipline needed to engage in continuous improvement (It is important to state here that an organization develops the ability to assess the impact of a new practice, technology, or tool on their activity. Hence it is not a matter of adopting these; rather it is a matter of determining how innovative efforts influence existing practices. This really empowers projects, teams, and organizations by giving them the foundation to support reasoned choice.)

Key Process Areas Key process area (KPA) identifies a cluster of related activities that, when performed collectively, achieve a set of goals considered important.

Goals The goals of a key process area summarize the states that must exist for that key process area to have been implemented in an effective and lasting way. The extent to which the goals have been accomplished is an indicator of how much capability the organization has established at that maturity level. The goals signify the scope, boundaries, and intent of each key process area.

Common Features Common features include practices that implement and institutionalize a key process area. These five types of common features include: Commitment to Perform, Ability to Perform, Activities Performed, Measurement and Analysis, and Verifying Implementation.

Key Practices The key practices describe the elements of infrastructure and practice that contribute most effectively to the implementation and institutionalization of the key process areas.