CMMC Certification: Vital Information That Businesses Should Know

CMMC Certification: Vital Information That Businesses Should Know

As Tripwire reports, the Department of Defense has rolled out the CMMC Certification (Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification) in January of this year. These guidelines were brought forward as a means of tightening the security of defense contractors and ensuring that national secrets aren’t leaked. Contractors with a vested interest in securing the Department of Defense’s contracts need to be both aware and compliant with the CMMC standard and all it entails. As this certification becomes more crucial for businesses, businesses in this sector should keep in mind a few things.

CMMC Is Still Being Rolled Out

While the CMMC standards are already in place, the standard’s rollout will be gradual. The DOD knows that it’s unfeasible to try to make the CMMC retroactive. As a result, any ongoing contracts with the DOD won’t be subject to CMMC qualification. However, all future agreements will depend upon the certification to determine whether the contractor is fit enough to carry out work. If you’re a DOD contractor, the chances are that the CMMC will apply to your company’s status sooner or later. Seeking the certification new puts you ahead of the curve.

The CMMC-AB is Responsible For Accrediting Third Party Assessors

CMMC third-party assessor organizations (C3PAO) are the companies that have the responsibility of ensuring that companies are certified under the guidelines of the CMMC. The CMMC Accreditation board (CMMC-AB) deals with assessing the C3PAOs and ensuring that they conform to their assessment standards. The CMMC-AB itself is authorized by the Department of Defense, according to its website. The aim is to have enough assessors present so that any contractor can apply for and achieve the certification without too much fuss.

Level 1 Certification Is Things Your Business Should Already be Doing

The CMMC certification is based on standards that businesses should already be following at level 1. At higher levels, the CMMC aims to ensure that there is no possibility of the company accidentally running afoul of any legal stipulations regarding the saving and sharing sensitive governmental data. However, the first level of certification is built on accepted cybersecurity doctrine. Most Department of Defense contractors are required to meet this basic standard as part of their acceptance. However, whether they maintain this standard is what the DOD wants to ensure. Third-party assessments are a part of this certification precisely because the Department of Defense believes this stipulation to be too important to leave to self-verification.

NIST 800-171 and the CMMC are Very Similar In Many Ways

When the Department of Defense was drafting the CMMC, they delved into existing cybersecurity standards and used those as a guideline for their own. The NIST 800-171 is a standard that the CMMC relied on heavily, and it shows. When you compare both sets of standards head-to-head, the requirements to meet certification levels are similar in many cases. If you are looking for a reliable roadmap for CMMC certification up to level 3, at least, the NIST 800-171 is a great guideline. If your business is expected to be at least level 4 or 5 certifications, you would need to institute even stricter policies than the NIST 800-171.

Certification Will Become A Standard

Already the DOD is looking instituting the CMMC certification standard in some of their current offerings. Businesses who intend to work alongside the Department of Defense would be well advised to seek certification from now. With each day that passes, the chance of landing a contract becomes smaller without this certification. As masters of the NIST 800-171, we stand ready to guide you to level 3 CMMC and even beyond. Contact us today to learn more about the packages we offer for CMMC certification for your business.

How To Get CMMI Level Certification: The 5 Maturity Levels and the Amazing Road to Process Improvement

How To Get CMMI Level Certification: The 5 Maturity Levels and the Amazing Road to Process Improvement

Finding how to get CMMI level certification is one of the ways that companies can improve their development processes. As CIO explains, CMMI encourages behaviors that decrease potential risks in service and product development. The CMMI system rates a business’s capability in managing its development processes in Maturity Levels. Thus, a company with a Maturity Level of 0 is a business that knows nothing about its procedures, whereas a company with a Maturity Level of 5 has defined and analyzed its processes and is working on optimizing them through constant iteration. This article will explore how to get CMMI level certification and how a company should approach climbing through the levels of CMMI certification.

Understanding CMMI’s Background

CMMI evolved from an older system known as Software CMM. Although it was initially designed specifically for software-related applications, other industries quickly realized how useful the system could be in structuring a business’s development. The CMMI Institute notes that their new CMMI V2.0 offers several benefits to companies deciding to take on CMMI certification. Some of these include:

  • Improved business performance
  • Accelerated adoption of new technologies and practices
  • Aid in instituting industry best-practices within the company’s internal processes
  • A decrease in the time taken for benchmarking and an increase in the consistency and reliability of those metrics
  • The building of agile resiliency and scale

The Road to Learning How to get CMMI Level Certification

In a previous post, we covered the three areas that industrial CMMI certification can be pursued:

  • CMMI – DEV deals primarily with software products and services
  • CMMI – ACQ is the certification that companies that deal with acquisitions should be looking at
  • CMMI – SVC helps companies within the delivery services industry, helping with the establishment and management of those companies

To learn how to get CMMI certification, an organization needs to do three things in order:

The Business Must Understand its Current Situation

Companies that are only now setting off on their journey to CMMI certification are likely to be uncertain about their processes and systems. Businesses at Level 1, the initial level, must accept that their operations are primarily unpredictable, heavily reactive, and are only marginally controlled by operators. As businesses move up the maturity level scale, they become more aware of their internal processes and how they can affect them to be more proactive.

From levels 2 to 5 of the CMMI Level scale, businesses can consistently perform “gap analyses” to figure out where “holes” exist within processes, giving companies a starting point for their improvement suggestions.

The Business Must Adapt the CMMI System For Their Industry

The CMMI is a great tool, but should be used as a guideline instead of a hard-and-fast manual of processes. What we mean by this is that the CMMI will only fit specific businesses or industries perfectly. In most cases, it will need to be adapted to a particular company. Luckily, companies can break down their adoption into two specific categories:

Define Specific Goals:

Here, companies can address what they intend to achieve as they understand how to get CMMI level certification. The CMMI already defines specific goals for each process area, but businesses will need to refine these to fit the context of their organization.

Define Generic Goals:

Here is where the CMMI system’s real power comes out as it helps businesses understand how they can rise through the maturity levels on their goal to become CMMI certified. Generic goals provide the organization with objective assessments of if a company is ready to shift gears from one maturity level to another.

  • At Maturity Level 2, the business has consistency within teams, but those teams are largely independent within the organization
  • At Maturity Level 3, both the individual units and the entire organization as a whole operate on the same constant principles
  • At Maturity Level 4, the company utilizes process performance data to develop predictive methodologies for performance outcomes using quantitative measures
  • At Maturity Level 5, the organization can determine process defects proactively, and seek to repair them before they even arise

The Business Must Understand the Role of Constant Appraisal

CMMI certification isn’t over once a business gets certified. Certification is valid for three years. The organization must then submit to an appraisal to ensure that it has managed to retain the standards set up in its initial certification application.

To ensure that a company maintains this standard, it’s crucial to have a series of periodic internal assessments to ensure that the company keeps up with its certification obligations. Most third-party appraisal contractors offer clients an Appraisal Disclosure Statement (ADS) that can be passed on to clients who request it. This statement outlines what parts of the business were appraised for the client’s peace of mind.

How to get CMMI Level Certification for Your Company

A business that demonstrates its dedication to improving would be well served by getting CMMI certification. At Sync Resource, we’ve helped numerous organizations acquire and maintain the high standards of CMMI certification over the years. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help your business achieve and keep this critical certification.

5 Remarkable CMMI Strategies to Hack Your Way Up On CMMI Levels

5 Remarkable CMMI Strategies to Hack Your Way Up On CMMI Levels

By now, most are aware of the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) and what a business can use CMMI strategies for. For those who aren’t mindful, CMMI a methodology for refining processes within a system, as the Project Management Institute informs us.

In a previous post, we covered the maturity levels of CMMI and what they entailed. Generally, maturity levels should progress naturally. Trying to hustle the process by skipping levels could cause the entire CMMI system to become undone.

However, there is a way around the tedious processes that are required to achieve each CMMI maturity level. It’s important to note that these methods don’t require you to skip levels. Instead, they put things in place so that the business can start preparing to undertake the next level while still at this one. It’s not pre-empting the system, but instead operating intelligently to accomplish more in a shorter space of time. As we mentioned previously, the levels that exist in a CMMI system are:

  • Level 1: Initial: The business is mostly unaware of its process inefficiencies and cannot improve them
  • Level 2: Managed: The systems are in place to understand how the company can improve its processes
  • Level 3: Defined: the industry starts using proactive methods to determine where problems may occur and pre-empting them
  • Level 4: Quantitatively Managed: The company has an overview of all of its processes along with measurable metrics to determine their level of efficiency
  • Level 5: Optimization: The organization is in an iterative state where it can develop new improvements backed by data from its quantitative methods

How To Hack the System

Hacking maturity levels is not nearly as complicated as it initially sounds. Hacking each level can be done as follows:

Hack Level 1

Level 1 teams depend heavily on people and opinions to get things done. While this might be useful for a company that doesn’t maintain standards, any business that wants to implement CMMI strategies to improve itself can’t depend on these subjective analyses. The alternative is to shift focus away from a person-centric model and put more faith in proven standards. These standards need to be rigorously outlined to ensure that there is no mistake in their implementation.

Hack Level 2

At Leve 2, a company is working to ensure that its processes are adequately controlled and managed. In this step, the way to create a foundation for speeding up level 3 is to think proactively about how to improve these processes. Level 2’s self-contained methodology seeks to get the company aware of its own capabilities. This hack requires the personnel within the business to understand that they should be thinking about how to make processes more efficient.

Hack Level 3

This point is where proactive changes start happening. However, these changes are mostly just thrown out without regard to how the company can judge its effectiveness. By determining the metrics necessary to judge the success or failure of these changes, a company starts moving towards a quantitative analysis methodology and away from a qualitative analysis paradigm.

Hack Level 4

This stage uses data, infrastructure, and feedback mechanisms to determine how and where the business can improve based on data. If you put things in place at Level 3 as suggested through the hack, you can potentially spend very little time in Level 4 before graduating to Level 5. The framework for using data to make decisions is already in place from Level 3, so it’s just a matter of changing how the company uses it.

Hack Level 5

The lessons learned in Levels 1 to 4 offers a lot of insight into how the business functions, allowing the company always to be aware of how it can further optimize its processes.

Constant Improvement For CMMI Strategies

Level 5 deals solely with optimizing how the business collects, processes, and utilizes data to be better. At this stage, the company has successfully achieved the CMMI strategies to Level 5, but this stage is continuous and ongoing. If you’re in a hurry to get to Level 5, there’s no way you can skip the other four steps. They are crucial to overall development. Let us guide you to achieving a Level 5 rating in short a time as possible.

What is CMMI?

What is CMMI?

When looking at what is CMMI – Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) – we realize this model was designed to aid businesses to improve in a variety of areas. But what is CMMI really? At the heart, the model focuses on streamlining process improvements and encouraging efficient, productive behaviors. These behaviors are critical in decreasing risks in product, service, and software development. The development of the CMMI comes from the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie-Mellon University. Initially, they designed the model as a development tool for organizations, projects, or divisions. Eventually, the US Department of Defense adopted the model, and this forms a significant factor in attaining software contracts from the DoD today.

What is CMMI And Who Benefits from It?

So when you have answered the question, what is CMMI, the next question you probably have is, “how can my organization benefit from this?”
In its first iteration, software development firms formed the model’s primary audience. Its latest releases are more abstract. This innovation lends it to be employed in a variety of industries, not just for software development.

How Does a Business Become CMMI Compliant?

The CMMI process contains five different maturity levels. These are:

  • Initial: At this stage, no processes within the business are predictable. They usually occur in reaction to some other stimulus. The guiding principle of business within this stage of development is that work does get done, but it’s typically delivered late/over budget. This position is untenable and is by far the worst situation a business can find itself in.
  • Managed: This stage offers a certain level of project management. Several issues still exist, but the basic framework for a company’s project management is already in place.
  • Defined: Instead of reacting to situations, the business has planned how it intends to implement specific projects in great detail. The company implements organization-wide guidelines that can help the business establish the basic requirements for projects, portfolios, and programs. At this stage, the company becomes aware of its shortcomings and how to address them.
  • Quantitatively Managed: This stage uses data to improve the organization’s efficiency and ability to deal with issues before they arise. The use of data enables quantitative prediction that aligns with the needs of each stakeholder in the process. The predictive methodology keeps the business ahead of the potential pitfalls and allows it to react in a more agile fashion.
  • Optimizing: A business at this level demonstrates stable and flexible processes. The company that attains this stage doesn’t come to the end of its development process. Instead, they will optimize their operations to adapt to change and any opportunities that may present themselves. The predictable environment is ripe for innovation.

Where Can a Business Access CMMI Tools?

But what is CMMI and how can a business access its tools? CMMI itself isn’t a certification, but it is a way for businesses to improve their efficiency. At the managed or defined maturity levels, the company will understand its needs and identify the tools that it needs to achieve its development. As CMMI consultants, we help clients along their journey by helping them to grasp the needs of their businesses as far as tools and utilities. Among the tools our clients regularly need at this stage are:

  • Integration applications
  • Tools to define and measure metrics
  • Analytics and decision-making software
  • Design management tools
  • Estimation
  • Improvement and Issue Tracking
  • Project and Document Management
  • The utilities a business needs to guide them depends on the needs of a particular company.

    Why Should a Business Look at CMMI?

    Businesses stand to gain a lot from implementing CMMI. Firstly, CMMI helps a business be more efficient with its resources. Overtime, the cost benefits to the company can add up. Additionally, CMMI implementation improves productivity for the business by maintaining a predictable environment. This predictable environment also ensures that the company’s products maintain their level of quality.

    When Should a Business Consider CMMI?

    The critical need for CMMI occurs with companies that have never considered project management but need it to compete. CMMI can help a business move from a state of constant chaos to a controlled, predictable environment. Continuous iteration and improvement help the business respond to changes in the market as they occur. Regardless of the level at which a company finds itself in, they should look at CMMI as a possible way of improving their processes and being more efficient.

3 Reliable Benefits of Implementing CMMI for Your Business

3 Reliable Benefits of Implementing CMMI for Your Business

You probably know that one of the benefits of implementing CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration) is that getting US Government contracts is easier once you’re appraised.

The creation of CMMI (derived from CMM) was sponsored by the US Department of Defense to measure the quality and skill of software engineers.

But since the creation of the standard, CMMI has grown beyond software engineering and the DoD. Implementing CMMI means adopting a set standard of global best practices. You improve your performance by focusing on your process.

You build. You benchmark. You improve.

Looking to implement CMMI in your business?

Top Benefits of Implementing CMMI

According to the CMMI Institute, over 10,000 companies have adopted the models in over 100 countries. Those numbers indicate the benefits of implementing CMMI outweigh the costs.

So, what are those benefits?

Here are the Top 3 Benefits of Implementing CMMI.

Save Money

Maybe you’ve found your why in life. You’re in a field of work that feels meaningful to you.

Finding your purpose is great. Making money from pursuing your dreams is even better. Making even more money is the best. That’s where CMMI comes in.

The Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Melon University published a report in 2006 studying large, medium, and small organizations. They found one of the most obvious benefits of implementing CMMI is that the models reduced the cost of doing business. Here are a few systems that allow organizations to see a return on investment in under a year:

  • Earlier detection of errors
  • Improved productivity
  • Less Reworking
  • Fewer Redundancies

Lower costs to you mean savings you can pass onto the consumer, undercutting the competition. These decreased costs coupled with new service delivery strategies and project management practices will also allow you to acquire new customer cheaper.

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Implementing CMMI Makes Projects More Predictable

We all know that project plans are more like guesses. You try to account for as many factors as you can, but your projections are always off.

While implementing CMMI won’t make your plans perfect, projects will become more predictable. After implementing CMMI, General Motors saw an increase in on-time milestone from 50% to 95%. Northrup Grumman Defense Enterprise System had 25 milestones in a row on time after implementation.

Imagine never having to tell another customer or executive that projects are delayed.

Improved Quality

You need to get the best product you can to your customer. Implementing CMMI allows you to improve the quality of your product, allowing you to retain clients and easily gain new ones.

Having a well-defined process reduces the opportunity for error. Thoughtful supervision of your supplier ensures high quality. Clear and strategic management helps teams reach their full potential. All of these strategies together give you a clear path to continual improvement.

Implementing CMMI Improves Productivity

What usually stops your organization from reaching milestones on time?

  • One half or your staff seems to speak a completely different language than the other half.
  • The miscommunication leads three people to do the same job, none of them well.
  • Your staff has gaps in skills that no one is able to identify because oversight is limited.

Implementing CMMI will help teams collaborate more efficiently. Having a standardized way to manage projects will reduce redundancies.

Siemens Information Systems Inc. saw a 25% improvement in productivity over a 3-year period. They learned how to eliminate these routine problems by implementing CMMI.

All the problems you have are common and solvable.

Capability Maturity Model Integration [CMMI] Implementation Steps

Capability Maturity Model Integration [CMMI] Implementation Steps

Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) implementation can be a daunting journey for many companies that tends to apply CMMI for the very first time. However, the usage of a few tips and tricks can land any organization to its desired goal in less time and more efficiently making the likelihood of achieving success more realistic.

Trailblazing Action Plan for CMMI Implementation

Enlisted below are major ten concrete action points for implementation of CMMI.

  1. Applying all the Right Reasons to Implement CMMI
  2. Implementation Goals needs to be Realistic
  3. Better to Lean on Senior Management’s Support
  4. Think on What and How of CMMI Implementation
  5. Unveil Long-Lasting Benefits of CMMI
  6. Make the Right Person Responsible for CMMI Implementation
  7. Process Improvement Groups in Action
  8. Analyze Current Status of the Company
  9. Document Organization’s Processes
  10. Ask Help From CMMI Institute Certified Lead Appraiser

Deep Dive In Concrete 10 Pointers Action Plan

Let’s take a deep dive in the action plan for successful CMMI Implementation.

1. Applying all the Right Reasons to Implement CMMI

The implementation of CMMI should not only be limited to the appraisal of maturity levels but towards making your business more worthy, profitable and cost-effective.

Process improvement is what your business should embrace with open wide arms along with ensuring continuous improvement in the processes by reviewing the processes periodically.

It is to be noted that once you get your processes improved through CMMI and its implementation, you can achieve an appraisal towards maturity levels conveniently.

2. Implementation Goals needs to be Realistic

It has been recorded in many research studies that jumping from one maturity level to another normally takes around 12 -18 months.

However, the timings also depend on how easily teams tend to document, get training about CMMI and mastering the CMMI levels. Taking time to achieve CMMI appraisal is natural but making a hassle in such a process can lead to a major loss.

3. Better to Lean on Senior Management’s Support

Leadership must be ensured to come onboard during each and every step of CMMI implementation and during appraisals. The plans of CMMI implementation can be converted into dust and trash in no time if senior management fails to play its part.

4. Think on What and How of CMMI Implementation

Senior management should bring awareness to their peers and teams working under them about the importance of CMMI implementation and should stress on WHY of implementing CMMI approach to the current management system.

Upon realization of the positive impact of the CMMI levels and its implementation, teams will gather their whole energies to put on CMMI implementation target.

5. Unveil Long-Lasting Benefits of CMMI

Bringing new things to the table can get those people really scared who has less ability to adapt to change specifically a positive change. The teams need to be oriented by senior management towards all the benefits of CMMI implementation that it can bring along for the business and for themselves.

Doubts in people’s mind can lead to harsh resistance towards CMMI implementation process and can result in a hurdle in your business improvement.

6. Make the Right Person Responsible for CMMI Implementation

The biggest and the most probable mistakes that companies do is choosing the wrong person for the right project. Talent hunting for the right person is a mandatory job to get done in an accurate manner; otherwise, all the efforts will be wasted within no time.

Choosing the best person is comparatively an easy task but take a deep look into his responsibilities. Ask him/her if he/she is overbooked with other responsibilities.

If yes, then assign other tasks to some other team members of his team, or you can transfer tasks to some other departments if possible.

The assigned person should be able to focus only on CMMI implementation and should possess the ability to get the best out of it so that business can progress on a faster pace.

7. Process Improvement Groups in Action

It is preferable to divide the task into two functional groups so that CMMI implementation cannot be lingered on.

One group’s responsibility should be to improve the company’s profits, and the other group should be made on the executive level, and it should be held responsible for those process improvement decisions that are being taken on the executive level.

8. Analyze Current Status of the Company

Before going towards the implementation of CMMI for the success of your business, it is vital to know where your company exists currently.

One can take help from SEI certified lead appraiser so that you can get insights into the existing situation and for taking advice to build a rock solid strategy to improve processes and the company’s goals.

9. Document Organization’s Processes

Whatever you get in gap analysis practice done as mentioned in the previous point, the next thing to do is making all the processes followed in the organization in the documented form.

Generally, there are three approaches that are being used to document the processes of the organization:

  • The first approach refers to the documentation of all the processes that each individual performs by themselves.
  • The second approach requires one responsible person to interview team members what they normally do so that their tasks can be documented by the interviewer.
  • The third approach is a bit costly one that refers to the purchase of CMMI tool that can be a helping hand to document all your processes that are being followed in the organization by your teammates on daily bases on in special cases.

10. Ask Help From CMMI Institute Certified Lead Appraiser

A CMMI Institute Certified Lead Appraiser can do the tasks that your in-house team cannot do as it requires a special skill set and work experience in the relevant field.

It is best to hire a CMMI Institute Certified Lead Appraiser in early stages of CMMI implementation rather than on eleventh-hour making the whole implementation process risky chaos and hassle for you, your peers and teams working under and for you.

Looking to implement CMMI in your business?

What questions do you have and how can we help?