Most organizations are aiming to get CMM or Capability Maturity Model certification. This is a model that provides the organization with the understanding of its processes. CMM is specially made to assess if a certain organization has enough capability or maturity in order to manage its own software process. This is important in proving the worth of one company for becoming a reliable modern organization that uses complex software. But the CMM evaluation is not that easy. One needs to pass five levels which are the Initial, Repeatable, Defined, Managed, and Optimized, respectively.  But, aside from these five basic levels, there is also the CMM KPA or CMM key process areas.

Each of the five CMM assessment levels has KPAs within them. CMM KPA is used for characterizing a certain CMM level. However, the CMM KPA is still using the common five definitions that need to be identified in each level. These are the Goals, Commitment, Ability, Measurement, and Verification. The CMM KPA is needed so that every CMM stage will go to their maturity. Each cluster area is made to identify certain cluster activities. These activities must have the quality that if performed collectively, can achieve one set of goals that is considered necessary and essential in establishing the process of capability in that certain maturity level. An organization will just pass a certain maturity level if all the CMM KPA in the current level and the lower levels were satisfied.

Compared to the CMM KPA, the key process areas used by the CMMI is in greater number. In fact, there are at least 25 KPAs for the CMMI or Capability Maturity Model Integration compared to 5 definitions of CMM KPA. Also, each level of the CMMI KPA has a unique set of identifications unlike with the CMM KPA.

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