Capability Maturity Model Integration is a process that aims to improve the performance of an organization. The CMMI model accomplishes this task by lowering the costs associated with production, delivery and sourcing of a product. It provides process solutions to the organization and does not provide specific how-to guides. Part of the CMMI operation involves an appraisal of how effectively the organization has applied the process. The appraisal may award the organization a certification level based on this performance. There are five total certification levels. A CMMI level 3 certification is the mid-level certification and indicates that the organization has implemented CMMI successfully.
What CMMI Is
CMMI integrates several different capability maturity models. It is a framework designed for business process improvement. Depending on the specific organization's needs, the methods may include developing engineered solutions, acquiring goods and services or delivering specific services. Typically, software and system engineering organizations use CMMI.
Why Use CMMI
Companies that no longer are effective or have never been effective generally can benefit from CMMI. Through this process, ineffective companies can assess company potential. Specifically, companies that cannot obtain, satisfy or retain customers benefit from CMMI. Additionally, companies that have difficulty developing successful projects with profitability, timeliness and predictability can benefit from this model.
For an organization to receive a CMMI level 3 certification, it has to receive an appraisal. An organization should request an appraisal only after implementing CMMI practices within the organization. During the appraisal, a lead appraiser will direct a team to quantify the extent that the organization has implemented CMMI practices successfully.
An organization that receives a CMMI level 3 certification has institutionalized CMMI and has established and maintained the description of this process. Institutionalizing CMMI means that it has taken roots within the organization. This doesn't depend on how widespread CMMI is within the organization, but how the organization has applied the process to a specific project or division within the organization. Additionally, to achieve the level 3 certification, the appraiser must determine that the organization has performed, managed and defined the process successfully. Furthermore, the appraiser will consider how the organization measures and controls CMMI, and how the organization continuously works towards improvements.
- "CMMI for Development®"; Mary Beth Chrissis, Mike Konrad and Sandra Shrum; 2011
- "CMMI for Services: Guidelines for Superior Service"; Eileen Forrester, Brandon Buteau and Sandra Shrum; 2011
- Microsoft Developer Network: Background to CMMI