ISO and CMM – Differentiated

If there are two terms that are closely associated with quality and process improvement, these are ISO or International Organization for Standardization and CMM or Capability Maturity Model. These two are often compared with each other, especially in the field of software development and engineering. Most likely ISO and CMM have the same goals but use different methods to achieve it.

ISO is known to be the world’s largest developer of standards. Indeed, these standards have known to be very useful to business organizations and industries, to customers and suppliers of goods and services in both the private and public sectors, to professionals doing conformity assessment, to government and regulation bodies, and lastly, to end users or customers. This only goes to show that ISO standards also have important social and economic repercussions, thus making a positive difference to the society.

ISO has developed a family of standards, with each having its own designation. ISO 9001, for example, targets the manufacturing process and this includes software development, a focus area of CMM. CMM is the one that provides the framework describing the key elements of an effective software process. Thus, CMM covers planning, engineering and managing software development. Following the recommendations of CMM leads to improvement of an organization’s ability to meet their goals in terms of cost, schedule, product quality and functionality.

Indeed, these two terms have something to do with software development. It is just that ISO’s approach is more from the manufacturer’s standpoint, while CMM is from a development standpoint. Therefore, CMM sees to it that the software developed is error-free whereas ISO is designed to put quality standards into the manufacturing process.