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.

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founder of sync resource

About Author

Sunita Verma, Founder and President of Sync Resource started the company in 2009 with a vision to provide management consulting to small & medium size businesses around the country.
Sunita holds a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio, Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering(India) with prestigious gold medal by then President of India and renowned Scientist Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
As an active philanthropist she believes in pay it forward and is a contributing member of charitable organizations like St. Jude’s Foundation and North Fulton Charities.


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