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The Capability Maturity Model (CMM) is a development model created in 1986 after a study of data collected from organizations that contracted with the
U.S. Department of Defense The United States Department of Defense (DoD, USDOD or DOD) is an executive branch department of the federal government charged with coordinating and supervising all agencies and functions of the government directly related to national secur ...
, who funded the research. The term "maturity" relates to the degree of formality and
optimization Mathematical optimization (alternatively spelled ''optimisation'') or mathematical programming is the selection of a best element, with regard to some criterion, from some set of available alternatives. Optimization problems of sorts arise i ...

optimization
of processes, from ''
ad hoc Ad hoc is a Latin phrase __NOTOC__ This is a list of Wikipedia articles of Latin phrases and their translation into English. To view all phrases on a single, lengthy document, see: * List of Latin phrases (full) The list also is divided alpha ...

ad hoc
'' practices, to formally defined steps, to managed result metrics, to active optimization of the processes. The model's aim is to improve existing
software development Software development is the process of conceiving, specifying, designing, programming, documenting, testing, and bug fixing involved in creating and maintaining applications Application may refer to: Mathematics and computing * Application ...
processes, but it can also be applied to other processes. In 2006, the Software Engineering Institute at
Carnegie Mellon University Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence ...
developed the
Capability Maturity Model Integration Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) is a process level improvement training and appraisal program. Administered by the CMMI Institute, a subsidiary A subsidiary, subsidiary company or daughter company is a company (law), company owned ...
, which has largely superseded the CMM and addresses some of its drawbacks.


Overview

The Capability Maturity Model was originally developed as a tool for objectively assessing the ability of government contractors' ''processes'' to implement a contracted software project. The model is based on the process maturity framework first described in ''
IEEE Software ''IEEE Software'' is a bimonthly peer-reviewed Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work ( peers). It functions as a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a ...
'' and, later, in the 1989 book ''Managing the Software Process'' by Watts Humphrey. It was later published in a report in 1993 and as a book by the same authors in 1995. Though the model comes from the field of
software development Software development is the process of conceiving, specifying, designing, programming, documenting, testing, and bug fixing involved in creating and maintaining applications Application may refer to: Mathematics and computing * Application ...
, it is also used as a model to aid in business processes generally, and has also been used extensively worldwide in government offices, commerce, and industry.


History


Prior need for software processes

In the 1980s, the use of computers grew more widespread, more flexible and less costly. Organizations began to adopt computerized information systems, and the demand for
software development Software development is the process of conceiving, specifying, designing, programming, documenting, testing, and bug fixing involved in creating and maintaining applications Application may refer to: Mathematics and computing * Application ...
grew significantly. Many processes for software development were in their infancy, with few standard or "
best practice A best practice is a method or technique that has been generally accepted as superior to any alternatives because it produces results that are superior to those achieved by other means or because it has become a standard way of doing things, e.g., a ...
" approaches defined. As a result, the growth was accompanied by growing pains: project failure was common, the field of
computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorithms and the architectures of its computation as well as practical techniques for their application. Computer science is the study of computation, automation, a ...
was still in its early years, and the ambitions for project scale and complexity exceeded the market capability to deliver adequate products within a planned budget. Individuals such as
Edward Yourdon Edward Nash Yourdon (April 30, 1944 – January 20, 2016) was an American software engineer, computer consultant, author and lecturer, and software engineering methodology pioneer. He was one of the lead developers of the structured analysis te ...
,
Larry Constantine Larry LeRoy Constantine (pronounced ''Constanteen''; born 1943) is an American software engineer A software engineer is a person who applies the principles of software engineering to the design, development, maintenance, testing, and evaluation ...

Larry Constantine
, Gerald Weinberg,
Tom DeMarco Tom DeMarco (born August 20, 1940) is an American software engineer, author, and consultant on software engineering topics. He was an early developer of structured analysis in the 1970s. Early life and education Tom DeMarco was born in Hazleton ...
, and
David Parnas David Lorge Parnas (born February 10, 1941) is a Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and territories of Ca ...

David Parnas
began to publish articles and books with research results in an attempt to professionalize the software-development processes. In the 1980s, several US military projects involving software subcontractors ran over-budget and were completed far later than planned, if at all. In an effort to determine why this was occurring, the
United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that together compose about 0.043391% of the atmosph ...

United States Air Force
funded a study at the Software Engineering Institute (SEI).


Precursor

The first application of a staged maturity model to IT was not by CMU/SEI, but rather by Richard L. Nolan, who, in 1973 published the stages of growth model for IT organizations. Watts Humphrey began developing his process maturity concepts during the later stages of his 27-year career at IBM.


Development at Software Engineering Institute

Active development of the model by the US Department of Defense Software Engineering Institute (SEI) began in 1986 when Humphrey joined the
Software Engineering Institute The Software Engineering Institute (SEI) is an American research and development center headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Its activities cover cybersecurity, software assurance, software engineering and acquisition, and component capabil ...

Software Engineering Institute
located at Carnegie Mellon University in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Pittsburgh ( ) is a city in the Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions ...

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
after retiring from IBM. At the request of the U.S. Air Force he began formalizing his Process Maturity Framework to aid the U.S. Department of Defense in evaluating the capability of software contractors as part of awarding contracts. The result of the Air Force study was a model for the military to use as an objective evaluation of software subcontractors' process capability maturity. Humphrey based this framework on the earlier
Quality Management Maturity GridThe Quality Management Maturity Grid (QMMG) is an organizational maturity matrix conceived by Philip B. Crosby first published in his book ''Quality is Free'' in 1979. The QMMG is used by a business or organization as a benchmark of how mature their ...
developed by
Philip B. Crosby Philip Bayard "Phil" Crosby, (June 18, 1926 – August 18, 2001) was a businessman and author who contributed to management theory and quality management practices. Crosby initiated the Zero Defects program at the Martin Company. As the quali ...
in his book "Quality is Free". Humphrey's approach differed because of his unique insight that organizations mature their processes in stages based on solving process problems in a specific order. Humphrey based his approach on the staged evolution of a system of software development practices within an organization, rather than measuring the maturity of each separate development process independently. The CMM has thus been used by different organizations as a general and powerful tool for understanding and then improving general business process performance. Watts Humphrey's Capability Maturity Model (CMM) was published in 1988 and as a book in 1989, in ''Managing the Software Process''. Organizations were originally assessed using a process maturity questionnaire and a Software Capability Evaluation method devised by Humphrey and his colleagues at the Software Engineering Institute. The full representation of the Capability Maturity Model as a set of defined process areas and practices at each of the five maturity levels was initiated in 1991, with Version 1.1 being completed in January 1993. The CMM was published as a book in 1995 by its primary authors, Mark C. Paulk, Charles V. Weber,
Bill Curtis Bill Curtis (born 1948) is a software engineer best known for leading the development of the Capability Maturity ModelThe Capability Maturity Model (CMM) is a development model created in 1986 after a study of data collected from organizations t ...
, and Mary Beth Chrissis. United States of America New York, USA.


Capability Maturity Model Integration

The CMM model's application in software development has sometimes been problematic. Applying multiple models that are not integrated within and across an organization could be costly in training, appraisals, and improvement activities. The
Capability Maturity Model Integration Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) is a process level improvement training and appraisal program. Administered by the CMMI Institute, a subsidiary A subsidiary, subsidiary company or daughter company is a company (law), company owned ...
(CMMI) project was formed to sort out the problem of using multiple models for software development processes, thus the CMMI model has superseded the CMM model, though the CMM model continues to be a general theoretical process capability model used in the public domain.


Adapted to other processes

The CMM was originally intended as a tool to evaluate the ability of government contractors to perform a contracted software project. Though it comes from the area of software development, it can be, has been, and continues to be widely applied as a general model of the maturity of ''process'' (e.g.,
IT service management Information technology service management (ITSM) are the activities that are performed by an organization to design, build, deliver, operate and control information technology (IT) services offered to customers. Differing from more technology- ...
processes) in IS/IT (and other) organizations.


Model topics


Maturity models

A can be viewed as a set of structured levels that describe how well the behaviors, practices and processes of an organization can reliably and sustainably produce required outcomes. A maturity model can be used as a benchmark for comparison and as an aid to understanding - for example, for comparative assessment of different organizations where there is something in common that can be used as a basis for comparison. In the case of the CMM, for example, the basis for comparison would be the organizations' software development processes.


Structure

The model involves five aspects: * ''Maturity Levels:'' a 5-level process maturity continuum - where the uppermost (5th) level is a notional ideal state where processes would be systematically managed by a combination of process optimization and continuous process improvement. * ''Key Process Areas:'' a Key Process Area identifies a cluster of related activities that, when performed together, achieve a set of goals considered important. * ''Goals:'' the goals of a key process area summarize the states that must exist for that key process area to have been implemented in an effective and lasting way. The extent to which the goals have been accomplished is an indicator of how much capability the organization has established at that maturity level. The goals signify the scope, boundaries, and intent of each key process area. * ''Common Features:'' common features include practices that implement and institutionalize a key process area. There are five types of common features: commitment to perform, ability to perform, activities performed, measurement and analysis, and verifying implementation. * ''Key Practices:'' The key practices describe the elements of infrastructure and practice that contribute most effectively to the implementation and institutionalization of the area.


Levels

There are five levels defined along the continuum of the model and, according to the SEI: "Predictability, effectiveness, and control of an organization's software processes are believed to improve as the organization moves up these five levels. While not rigorous, the empirical evidence to date supports this belief". # ''Initial'' (chaotic, ad hoc, individual heroics) - the starting point for use of a new or undocumented repeat process. # ''Repeatable'' - the process is at least documented sufficiently such that repeating the same steps may be attempted. # ''Defined'' - the process is defined/confirmed as a standard
business process A business process, business method or business function is a collection of related, structured activities or tasks Task may refer to: * Task (project management), an activity that needs to be accomplished within a defined period of time or by a ...
# ''Capable'' - the process is quantitatively managed in accordance with agreed-upon metrics. # ''Efficient'' - process management includes deliberate process optimization/improvement. Within each of these maturity levels are Key Process Areas which characterise that level, and for each such area there are five factors: goals, commitment, ability, measurement, and verification. These are not necessarily unique to CMM, representing — as they do — the stages that organizations must go through on the way to becoming mature. The model provides a theoretical continuum along which process maturity can be developed incrementally from one level to the next. Skipping levels is not allowed/feasible. ; Level 1 - ''Initial'': It is characteristic of processes at this level that they are (typically) undocumented and in a state of dynamic change, tending to be driven in an ''ad hoc'', uncontrolled and reactive manner by users or events. This provides a chaotic or unstable environment for the processes. (Example - a surgeon performing a new operation a small number of times - the levels of negative outcome are not known). ; Level 2 - ''Repeatable'': It is characteristic of this level of maturity that some processes are repeatable, possibly with consistent results. Process discipline is unlikely to be rigorous, but where it exists it may help to ensure that existing processes are maintained during times of stress. ; Level 3 - ''Defined'': It is characteristic of processes at this level that there are sets of defined and documented standard processes established and subject to some degree of improvement over time. These standard processes are in place. The processes may not have been systematically or repeatedly used - sufficient for the users to become competent or the process to be validated in a range of situations. This could be considered a developmental stage - with use in a wider range of conditions and user competence development the process can develop to next level of maturity. ; Level 4 - ''Managed (Capable)'': It is characteristic of processes at this level that, using process metrics, effective achievement of the process objectives can be evidenced across a range of operational conditions. The suitability of the process in multiple environments has been tested and the process refined and adapted. Process users have experienced the process in multiple and varied conditions, and are able to demonstrate competence. The process maturity enables adaptions to particular projects without measurable losses of quality or deviations from specifications. Process Capability is established from this level. (Example - surgeon performing an operation hundreds of times with levels of negative outcome approaching zero). ; Level 5 - ''Optimizing (Efficient)'':It is a characteristic of processes at this level that the focus is on continually improving process performance through both incremental and innovative technological changes/improvements. At maturity level 5, processes are concerned with addressing statistical ''common causes'' of process variation and changing the process (for example, to shift the mean of the process performance) to improve process performance. This would be done at the same time as maintaining the likelihood of achieving the established quantitative process-improvement objectives. Between 2008 and 2019, about 12% of appraisals given were at maturity levels 4 and 5.


Critique

The model was originally intended to evaluate the ability of government contractors to perform a software project. It has been used for and may be suited to that purpose, but critics pointed out that process maturity according to the CMM was not necessarily mandatory for successful software development.


Software process framework

The software process framework documented is intended to guide those wishing to assess an organization's or project's consistency with the Key Process Areas. For each maturity level there are five checklist types: :


See also

*
Capability Immaturity Model Capability Immaturity Model (CIMM) in software engineering is a parody acronym, a semi-serious effort to provide a contrast to the Capability Maturity Model (CMM). The Capability Maturity Model is a five point scale of capability in an organization, ...
*
Capability Maturity Model Integration Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) is a process level improvement training and appraisal program. Administered by the CMMI Institute, a subsidiary A subsidiary, subsidiary company or daughter company is a company (law), company owned ...
*
People Capability Maturity Model People Capability Maturity Model (short names: People CMM, PCMM, P-CMM) is a maturity framework that focuses on continuously improving the management and development of the Human capital, human assets of an organization. It describes an evolutionar ...
* Testing Maturity Model


References


External links


CMMI Institute
*

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{{Authority control Software development process Maturity models Information technology management