Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) In Software Engineering

By
INFOPRO

Many people may not know what Capability Maturity Model (CMMI) is. It is very often being confused or wrongly associated with the ISO9001 standard. In definition, CMMI is a collection of best practices that provides organizations with a process improvement approach. A company may apply all these best practices to achieve business excellence and high performance.

Unlike ISO9001, CMMI is applicable across projects, divisions, or an entire organization. It is not a generic quality standard for any organization in any industry. In fact, CMMI is more relevant to software companies or departments that focus on software engineering, project, and service management.

Why Do CMMI Matters in Software Engineering

When it comes to CMMI, the company can be recognized on 5 different maturity levels.

Source: tutorialpoint. Explanation of the CMMI maturity levels.
Source: tutorialpoint. Explanation of the CMMI maturity levels.

Level 1: Initial

This level could be the worst stage for a business, where processes are unpredictable and reactive. The completion of works will often be delayed and out of budget. As a result, it potentially increases the risk and inefficiency.

Level 2: Managed

There is a level of project management achieved in the company. However, there are still issues to be addressed.

Level 3: Defined

The company at this stage is more proactive than reactive. The company will apply a set of “organization-wide standards” in their business. The company will be able to identify its shortcomings and goal setting.

Level 4: Quantitatively Managed

The company that is at this stage is more measured and controlled. Quantitative data will be used to determine predictable processes that align with business development. In other words, the company will have more control over the potential risks with data-driven insights.

Level 5: Optimizing

This is the highest level in the CMMI model. For a company that obtains this stage, it means that this company is stable and flexible. The stability allows agility and innovation in a predictable environment. Therefore, it gives the company room for constant improvement and responds to changes and opportunities.

Supposed you are looking for a partner in developing your business. The global trend of Industry 4.0 has motivated many organizations to transform and adopt a more agile and innovative way to run their businesses. Technology and software become the fundamental means to help organizations realize this vision. A company that has CMMI level 5 maturity will surely be your first choice.

Looking at INFOPRO as an example of a CMMI level 5 maturity company, its continuous effort in creating stability and flexibility in managing all the processes, services, and products, as well as project implementation, will ensure your business development’s best outcome. The capabilities in responding to changes and constants improvement allow you to have more time managing other business aspects.

Development of CMMI

Let’s have a look at the development of CMMI. It all started in the mid-80s when the Department of Defense (DoD) in the United States needed badly a way to ensure contractors developed the software on time and within budget according to specifications. Hence, Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute (SEI) came up with a Capability Maturity Model (CMM) to help DoD and US Government assess and describe the quality of its software development.

In the 90s, CMM extended to other process areas and improvement model for software engineering. Additional models were also developed by different entities/associations. This led to confusion and redundancies, which triggered a need to streamline and amalgamate all these variations into an integrated framework. As a result, CMMI’s first version was born in 2000.

CMMI started to gain popularity in the software development industry and became a world-renowned prestigious standard. Several versions have been released over the past 20 years.

In 2013, the CMMI Suite administration was transferred from SEI to CMMI Institute, a newly created organization at Carnegie Mellonthen. In 2016, CMMI Institute was acquired by ISACA.

Today, CMMI V1.3 has been sunset and replaced with the latest generation CMMI V2.0, which is more generalized and agile oriented, allowing it to be applied to hardware, software, and service development across every industry.

CMMI V2.0 Model

The latest CMMI V2.0 Model categorizes all the best practices into four big actionable objectives. Each objective is cascaded down to more granular capability areas followed by related practice areas to formulate necessary guidelines. The below structure illustrates the CMMI V2.0 Model’s framework, comprising all the capability areas and practice areas relevant to software engineering.

CMMI V2.0 Model

This generic structure can derive context-specific guidelines tailored to different industries or needs (referred to as “view”),” such as:

  • Development View (DEV) – Software engineering best practices that focus on developing quality software products that meet customer needs.
  • Services View (SVC) – Best practices that focus on delivering quality, efficient and effective services that meet market and customer needs.
  • Supplier Management View (SPM) – Best practices that focus on managing suppliers and vendors that maximize supply chain efficiency and reduce its risk.

Other domains related to security, safety, and people management are also available in CMMI V2.0 Product Suite.

CMMI Benefits & Value

The new CMMI V2.0 model fits very well into this market need and enables businesses to react more rapidly to market changes, offer products and services more efficiently in a continuous improvement manner aligned with business objectives.

#1: Emphasis on business needs concerning how performance impacts business.

It focuses on ROI achieved from software engineering activities aligned to business goals more explicitly. With CMMI V2.0 expanding the scope and visibility into the product lifecycle’s software engineering activities more in-depth, we can ensure the output deliverables meet, if not exceed, customer expectations with measurable results. Lessons learned in practice areas such as measurement, risk management, supplier management, etc., are now incorporated in this new model so that software projects can avoid repeating past mistakes.

#2: Fully supports the popular methodologies in line with today’s industry trend.

The capability of being fast to respond to changes in today’s industry trends, such as Agile with Scrum, DevOps, Kanban, Lean Six Sigma, COBIT, ISO, ITIL, etc., is essential.

Successful institutionalization of the CMMI framework into software engineering will undoubtedly bring about tremendous value to businesses. These include increasing customer satisfaction, improving customers’ and stakeholders’ confidence level, securing more customers and retaining them, creating more profits for the business through better productivity and efficiency, and decreasing the risk of failure for software projects.

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