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

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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.

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