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.

The Must-Know Basics of CMMI and The 5 Levels Of Maturity

The Must-Know Basics of CMMI and The 5 Levels Of Maturity

Companies around the world have realized that their core business processes could do with some improvement. The question they’re usually presented with is how to go about making that improvement in a planned, logical fashion. The Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) was designed as a way for businesses who want to improve their processes. CIO mentions that CMMI is focused on helping companies to streamline their process improvement methodologies. Before a company can implement CMMI however, it needs to understand how the model functions.

A Breakdown of CMMI

If you’re interested in implementing CMMI as a means of improving your business, then you should consult us to help you understand how it can lead to significant improvement in your company’s processes. These are:

  • Staged:

The staged component delineates the process into five distinct maturity levels

  • Continuous:

The continuous model deals with capability levels and applies the metric to each area of the organization
There is a distinct difference between these models, even though the content contained therein is the same. They exist to offer different perspectives on the same problem. Carnegie Mellon UniversityCarnegie Mellon University mentions that these perspectives allow various organizations to inspect their processes along different lines.

Breaking Down Staged Maturity Levels

We covered the critical steps for capability maturity implementation previously but never outlined the maturity levels that we employ to help businesses improve. The maturity levels in question are as follows:

Maturity Level 1: Initial

Firms at this maturity level lack planning that can inform their decisions. They tend to lack processes that help them to account for current spending or future financial planning. Their lack of foresight usually leads to poor sustainability planning.

Maturity Level 2: Managed

Companies within this heading can accomplish specific goals, with proper planning, management, and execution. These organizations also have feedback mechanisms in place to monitor and improve their processes going forward.

Maturity Level 3: Defined

At this level, a business can accomplish goals set forward in Levels 2 and 3. Their processes are well-documented and understood. Companies who fall into this category can explain what each of their processes do. They are also well-aware of the scope of those processes and the standards they conform to. The procedures are proactive in trying to ensure that the business is continually improving in its efforts.

Maturity Level 4: Quantitatively Managed

At this level, the business is managed using statistical data and techniques that utilize the information to improve them in a manner that affects those metrics. Companies at Level 4 achieve the goals outlined in the previous three levels as well as this one. At Level 3, only the quality of the improvements can be predicted accurately. At Level 4, the exact value of the development can be determined precisely.

Maturity Level 5: Optimizing

This maturity level focuses on constant improvement. By focusing on the quantitative methodology established at the previous level, a business can innovate to optimize their current processes. This innovation is the core of the improvement process at maturity level 5. Feedback from the previous standard can help the business be aware of whether it’s hitting its goals or if something needs to change. Companies at Level 5 also can achieve all the goals outlined in the previous levels.

Skipping Levels

While some businesses might be inclined to skip levels or aim for a maturity level far off from their current location, this isn’t recommended. It leads to complications with the system and can set a business back further rather than helping it to move forward. We outlined the major process areas that could benefit from CMMI in a previous post. If you’d like to have help with your CMMI solution, feel free to contact us at your earliest convenience. Our goal is to help all client businesses be the best that they can be.