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Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI)

Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) is a process improvement approach that provides organizations with the essential elements of effective processes that ultimately improve their performance. CMMI can be used to guide process improvement across a project, a division, or an entire organization. It helps integrate traditionally separate organizational functions, set process improvement goals and priorities, provide guidance for quality processes, and provide a point of reference for appraising current processes.

CMMI currently addresses three areas of interest:
(1) Product and service development — CMMI for Development (CMMI-DEV),
(2) Service establishment, management, and delivery — CMMI for Services (CMMI-SVC), and
(3) Product and service acquisition — CMMI for Acquisition (CMMI-ACQ).

CMMI best practices are published in documents called models, each of which addresses a different area of interest.
– CMMI for Development (CMMI-DEV), v1.2 was released in August 2006. It addresses product and service development processes.
– CMMI for Acquisition (CMMI-ACQ), v1.2 was released in November 2007. It addresses supply chain management, acquisition, and outsourcing processes in government and industry.
– CMMI for Services (CMMI-SVC), v1.2 was released in February 2009. It addresses guidance for delivering services within an organization and to external customers.
– CMMI Product Suite (includes Development, Acquisition, and Services), v1.3 is expected to be released in 2010. CMMI Version 1.3—Plans for the Next Version.
Regardless of which model an organization chooses, CMMI best practices should be adapted by an organization according to its business objectives.

The benefits you can expect from using CMMI include the following:
– Your organization’s activities are explicitly linked to your business objectives.
– Your visibility into the organization’s activities is increased to help you ensure that your product or service meets the customer’s expectations.
– You learn from new areas of best practice (e.g., measurement, risk).

An organization cannot be certified in CMMI; instead, an organization is appraised. Depending on the type of appraisal, the organization can be awarded a maturity level rating (1-5) or a capability level achievement profile. Many organizations find value in measuring their progress by conducting an appraisal. Appraisals are typically conducted for one or more of the following reasons:
– To determine how well the organization’s processes compare to CMMI best practices, and to identify areas where improvement can be made.
– To inform external customers and suppliers of how well the organization’s processes compare to CMMI best practices.
– To meet the contractual requirements of one or more customers.

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