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CMMI: Definition, Compliance Tools, Complete Guide

Table of Contents

CMMI: Definition, Compliance Tools, Complete Guide

Introduction

If you’re in charge of developing software, products, or services, you need to know about CMMI. CMMI is a process and behavioral model that can help your organization improve performance by streamlining process improvement and encouraging productive, efficient behavior. CMMI is widely used in the business world and has been shown to be effective in increasing productivity and reducing risks. In this blog post, we’ll give you a comprehensive overview of CMMI – what it is, how to comply with it, and some of the benefits of using CMMI for process improvement.

What is CMMI?

CMMI, or the Capability Maturity Model Integration, is a process and behavioral model designed to help organizations improve performance. CMMI can be used to tackle the logistics of improving performance by developing measurable benchmarks, but CMMI is also useful for creating a structure that encourages productive, efficient behavior throughout the organization.

CMMI was developed by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon University and is based on their experience with process improvement in software development. CMMI has been shown to be effective in increasing productivity and reducing risks in software development, product development, and service development.

CMMI Maturity Levels

There are five CMMI maturity levels: Initial, Performed, Managed, Defined, and Optimizing. The maturity level of an organization is determined by how well they meet the requirements for each CMMI process area.

  1. Initial: The organization does not yet have a process in place for the CMMI process area. They may be ad-hoc or use immature processes.
  2. Performed: The organization has a basic process in place for the CMMI process area. They are generally reactive and do not plan or track their work.
  3. Managed: The organization has a managed process in place for the CMMI process area. They plan and track their work, and they use data to make decisions about process improvement.
  4. Defined: The organization has a defined process in place for the CMMI process area. They have written documentation for their processes, and they use data to track compliance and measure performance.
  5. Optimizing: The organization continuously improves its process for the CMMI process area. They use data to drive decisions about process improvement, and they continually strive to improve their performance.

Organizations can achieve multiple CMMI maturity levels for different CMMI process areas. For example, an organization may be at the Managed level for Software Development and at the Defined level for Configuration Management.

CMMI Capability Levels

In turn, CMMI Model considers 6 capability levels, measurable for each process:

  • CMMI Capability Level 0 (Incomplete): partially performed. One or more Specific Objectives of the Process Area are not fulfilled.
  • CMMI Capability Level 1 (Performed): It is an Incomplete process that satisfies all Specific Objectives in the Process Area.
  • CMMI Capability Level 2 (Managed): It is a Performed process, that possesses the needed infrastructure to support the process, so that the process is performed according to what is planned and defined in the organization’s policies, employing skilled people who possess the required knowledge, involving all relevant stakeholders, and monitoring, controlling and reviewing the process.
  • CMMI Capability Level 3 (Defined): It is a Managed process that is tailored from the organization’s set of standard processes according to its tailor guides, and that contributes products, measures, etc. to the organization’s improvement.
  • CMMI Capability Level 4 (Quantitatively Managed): It is a Defined process that is controlled using statistical techniques.
  • CMMI Capability Level 5 (Optimizing): It is a Quantitatively Managed process that is improved through a quantitative understanding of the causes of variation common to the process. Capability levels are cumulative.

Organizations can achieve multiple CMMI capability levels for different CMMI process areas. For example, an organization may be at Capability Level 2 for Software Development and at Capability Level 3 for Configuration Management.

CMMI Process Areas

There are 22 CMMI process areas: Acquisition and Supply Chain Management, Architecture, Business Intelligence, CMMI Product Suite, Configuration Management, Decision Management, Design, Evaluation, Handbook Mapping for CMMI Process Areas, Integration, Measurement and Analysis, Organization Process Focus, Performance Management, Project Planning, Requirements Management, Risk Management, Service Establishment, Service Delivery, Service Transition, Software Engineering.

The CMMI process areas are divided into three categories: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced.

Basic CMMI Process Areas: The basic CMMI process areas are the foundation for all CMMI models. They cover essential activities such as project planning and requirements management.

Intermediate CMMI Process Areas: The intermediate CMMI process areas build on the foundation of the basic CMMI process areas. They cover activities such as design and integration.

Advanced CMMI Process Areas: The advanced CMMI process areas build on the foundation of the basic and intermediate CMMI process areas. They cover activities such as decision management and performance management.

Organizations can achieve multiple CMMI process area levels for different CMMI process areas. For example, an organization may be at Level 2 for Software Development and at Level 3 for Configuration Management.

CMMI Scales 

There are four CMMI scales: Organizational, Project, Process, and Product. The CMMI scale of an organization is determined by how well they meet the requirements for each CMMI process area.

  1. Organizational Scale: The organizational scale covers the entire organization. It includes all CMMI process areas and all projects.
  2. Project Scale: The project scale covers a single project. It includes all CMMI process areas for that project.
  3. Process Scale: The process scale covers a single process. It includes all CMMI process areas for that process.
  4. Product Scale: The product scale covers a single product. It includes all CMMI process areas for that product.

How to Comply With CMMI?

If you’re interested in using CMMI for process improvement in your organization, there are a few compliance tools you’ll need to be familiar with. First, you’ll need a CMMI Process Compliance Checklist. This checklist will help you ensure that your organization is following CMMI best practices.

Next, you’ll need a CMMI Process Assessment Methodology (PAM). The PAM is a tool for assessing whether an organization’s processes are aligned with CMMI best practices.

Finally, you’ll need a CMMI Process Improvement Plan (PIP). The PIP is a tool for tracking progress and ensuring that CMMI best practices are being followed.

Using these compliance tools, you can assess your organization’s current state, develop goals for improvement, and track progress over time.

Benefits of CMMI

There are many benefits to using CMMI for process improvement. CMMI can help you:

  • Improve productivity
  • Reduce risks
  • Encourage efficient behavior
  • Streamline process improvement
  • Develop measurable benchmarks

CMMI is an effective tool for improving performance in software development, product development, and service development. If you’re looking for a way to improve performance in your organization, CMMI is a great place to start.

Visure Requirements ALM Platform

Visure Requirements shares with CMMI this approach: requirements management is closely linked with requirements development. A Requirements Engineering process supported by Visure Requirements includes not only activities specific to requirements management, such as the unambiguous identification of requirements, versioning, traceability, etc. but also others such as the definition of business models and interfaces, and the identification of functionalities of the system to be developed. The management of these activities within the same tool is a significant advantage as it helps participants in the project to maintain an overall, integrated vision of all activities as part of a cyclic and iterative process.

Additionally, the use of Visure Requirements as a support for the implementation of CMMI has many benefits as it allows to automate part of the processes, ensuring fulfillment of processes even in moments of stress, such as it is required in the description of CMMI level 2 (Managed).

In fact, already in CMMI for Development Level 2, among the resources considered necessary to support the activities, as one of the “typical work products”, it is recommended to use a tool to monitor and trace requirements. The reason for this is that manual maintenance is so costly that the risk of abandoning best practices is very high if such a tool is not available.

For maturity level 3 (Defined), the organization must have general processes defined, which will be tailored to the different projects as needed. Also, these processes must be properly characterized, understood, and described in standards, processes, tools, and methods, providing templates to support process standardization. Here, the use of Visure Requirements facilitates the implementation of requirements processes at level 3, as it helps to standardize and harmonize the application of processes along the company.

For maturity levels 4 (Quantitatively Managed) and 5 (Optimizing), it is necessary to identify the sub-processes that make the most significant contribution to the general process, to be checked and managed using a set of statistical and quantitative techniques, which make it possible to improve the definition and implementation of processes in the organization. It is also of interest here the use of a tool, as quantitative management is not possible without the storage of data that can subsequently be exploited for the calculation of metrics and the development of performance models or process behavioral models.

Conclusion

CMMI is a process and behavioral model that helps organizations streamline process improvement and encourage productive, efficient behaviors that decrease risks in software, product, and service development. CMMI is an effective tool for improving performance in software development, product development, and service development. If you’re looking for a way to improve performance in your organization, CMMI is a great place to start.

Using a requirement management tool to support CMMI can have many benefits, including the ability to automate part of the CMMI processes, ensure fulfillment of processes even in moments of stress, and standardize and harmonize the application of CMMI processes across the organization.

Visure Requirements is a requirement management tool that can help support your organization’s implementation of CMMI. To know more about CMMI and how Visure helps implement it, check out the complete whitepaper where we thoroughly explained everything you need.

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