Introduction to CMMI: Going Back to the Basics of CMMI

While CMM (capability maturity model) and CMMI (capability maturity model integrated) being both of Software Engineering Institute’s (SEI) most popular examples of a model-based process improvement approach, these models still have distinctive features and capabilities.CMM for instance can be perceived as restricted only to management and software engineering practices, whereas CMMI broadens that of CMM by focusing on systems engineering and integrated product development. Moreover, CMMI is initiated based on certain identified set of process areas, which are separated into several groups with each group in relevance with maturity levels.

Specifically, some benefits achieved by an organization through implementing CMM include enhanced system engineering, personnel inter- and intra-relationship, customer relationship, integrated product development, software acquisition, software quality guarantee, and measurement. However, CMM is also found with some dilemmas, such as contradicting, overlapping, lack of clear and easily grasp interfaces, lack of standardization, and display of diverse levels of information.

In contrast, CMMI which is actually the CMM Integration Project was initiated for following reasons, which are to design and construct a framework that is capable to integrating both current and future models and establish an initial array of integrated models.

Despite having CMMI and CMM manifest distinct characteristics and features, still both function toward the same goals and end results. Although these models have their individual set respective maturity levels and standardizing procedures, still both of these models were designed, developed, and established for almost the same purposes, which are to achieve improved organizational and business processes, likewise, enhanced products and services for valued and prospective customers. Basically, a progressive upward movement in the ladder of maturity level manifests an enhancement and growth of the organization process, as well as products and services offered.

A general introduction to CMMI is an important first step to understand the entire concept and detailed application of SEI-developed process management quality system.  The Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) is an important business tool in order to properly approach the delicate methods of business process implementation.  In fact, CMMI can provide a framework to this optimization through integration of several process areas into a unified organizational capability model.  It is good to know how to optimize a business process but it would be better to understand how several business processes can be intertwined to form an entire management system for ensuring quality organizational process.

The most important lesson that project managers should learn is the determination of the CMMI process areas.  This will introduce them to the entire body of knowledge of the CMMI systems.  After discerning the process areas, managers must have the ability to categorize these processes into distinct corporate initiatives.  Categories of the process areas can be divided into organizational support, project management, process development, and systems engineering.  These categories encompass the overall organizational dynamics of any company.

After categorizing the process areas, the maturity levels for each category must be assigned.  Several maturity levels from the basic Level 2 to the highly advanced level 5 categorizations must be accurately assigned to the process areas.  There are concomitant or associated tasks that are involved when assigning the maturity levels of the business processes.  It is important therefore to determine accurately different levels of business process strength by understanding CMMI principles and framework approaches.