The Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) — What Is It?

Published: December 11, 2019Updated: May 06, 2022
3 min to read
The Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) — What Is It?

CMMI is a behavioral model which improves a business culture, encourages productivity and reduces risks when developing products, software or services. CMMI is also a process model that provides tools for organization to implement projects.

How Does It Work?

CMMI works by evaluating these key areas:

  • Process Development
  • Service Development
  • Service Establishment
  • Service Management
  • Product/Service Acquisition

In addition it helps develop measurement tools, and structures that help maintain the efficiency of the development process from start to finish.

How CMMI Evolved

The Capability Maturity Model Integration incorporated many business maturity models under one umbrella framework. The CMM model was developed over a course of iterations and with each one it became more generalized until CMMI evolved. The most up-to-date version can be applied across businesses and is more user friendly making it both simple and cost effective to use. The tool encourages organizations to establish benchmarks that focus on quality rather than quantity, minimize risk and encourage the kind of business culture that will support CMMI.

Standard CMMI Appraisal Method for Process Improvement (SCAMPI)

The CMMI institute developed SCAMPI as their official appraisal method. In their documentation they outline how to use the SCAMPI Method by looking at three classes of appraisal:

  • SCAMPI A: Provides bechmarks for businesses and gives an official rating. This is an in-depth and vigorous appraisal that must be carried out by a certified lead appraiser.
  • SCAMPI B: This is a less formal type of appraisal designed to set CMMI maturity level targets. It is helpful to predict the likelihood of success in certain practices and also helps a business see how well they are progressing along the maturity process.
  • SCAMPI C: This is the cheapest, shortest and most flexible appraisal class and can quickly look at how well existing business practices will fit into CMMI. Although it is more cost-effective, it is also more risky than class A or B.

CMMI Maturity Levels

When a business decides to implement CMMI the main goal is to work their way through the 5 maturity levels until they achieve Level 5. At this point implementation is complete and the focus changes to maintaining and improving their performance. Each of the 5 maturity levels have their own desired outcome:

  1. Initial: This is the basic, and worst, stage of maturity characterized by processes that allow work to be completed but it always comes in over budget. It is risky and inefficient.
  2. Managed: An element of control has been achieved through good project management, but there are still issues that need to be ironed out.
  3. Defined: This is the stage where an organization has set its own standards and are starting to become more proactive. They understand the areas of concern, have set goals and know how they are going to make improvements.
  4. Quantitatively managed: During this stage the organization uses quantitative data in order to predict, measure and control processes. Instead of catching up with risks, the company is finally ahead.
  5. Optimizing: This is the final stage where an organization has solid, flexible processes in place and can respond to change appropriately. It leads to a more innovative and agile environment and increases predictability.

Levels 4 and 5 are considered levels of high maturity and that is the main goal of CMMI: That there is a reliable and predictable environment where organizations are proactive, productive and efficient.

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