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Monday, May 24, 2010

Misconceptions of the Capability Maturity Model (CMM)

CMM is the most widely used Software Process Improvement model. It was developed by Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute (SEI). A maturity level is a well-defined evolutionary plateau toward achieving a mature software process. Each maturity level provides a layer in the foundation for continuous process improvement.
In CMMI models with a staged representation, there are five maturity levels designated by the numbers 1 through 5.
- Initial
- Managed/Repeatable
- Defined
- Quantitatively Managed
- Optimizing

Misconceptions About Maturity Levels
- If you are at Level 1, you are pond scum.
Being Level 1 does not mean that the members of a software organization are barely breathing. It does mean that the organization's projects are likely to have less predictability, more rework, more defects, and more schedule slippage than those in a higher maturity organization.
- Level 2 is mostly about software engineering activities, such as requirements analysis, design, coding, and testing.
- You have to perform all of the activities and practices defined at some maturity level in order to achieve that level.
- Software measurement is not required until you are approaching Level 4.
- The SEI certifies an organization at a specific maturity level.
- The CMM requires that you use specific software development practices, tools, and methodologies.
- The CMM mandates a waterfall life cycle model.
- The Software Quality Assurance KPA is mostly about testing.
- The CMM requires that you perform software inspections to achieve Level 3.
- Having a "tailorable" process really means that you can do whatever you want.
- Requirements management is the same thing as requirements engineering.
- You cannot work on improving KPAs more than one maturity level higher than your current level.
- The CMM mandates bureaucracy and wasteful paperwork.
- The CMM is a quick fix for short-term problems.
- CMMI is proprietary for the US military use.
- CMMI is the next release of CMM.
- Everyone uses the Staged Representation.
- You cannot use CMMI if you already use some other improvement model.
- CMMI is not suitable for small organizations.
- CMMI is used only to get an appraisal rating.
- CMMI is not suitable for companies using Agile methods.
- CMMI implementation takes long and is expensive and does not pay off.
- CMMI is a process model.

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