Using the CMMI, an organization can plan and execute a process improvement strategy based on industry best practices and a proven approach. The staged representation of the CMMI provides five levels of process maturity:
Maturity level 1: Initial
Maturity level 2: Managed
Maturity level 3: Defined
Maturity level 4: Quantitatively Managed
Maturity level 5: Optimizing
In the staged representation, maturity levels 2 and higher consist of a series of process areas that form evolutionary plateaus of process improvement and performance. For example, the maturity level 2 process areas are:
The determination of an organization's maturity level is accomplished by conducting a formal assessment such as the CMM-Based Appraisal for Internal Process Improvement (CBA IPI), Software Capability Evaluation (SCE), or Standard CMMI Appraisal Method for Process Improvement.
The Standard CMMI Appraisal Method for Process Improvement (SCAMPI) is designed to provide benchmark quality ratings relative to Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) models. It is applicable to a wide range of appraisal usage models, including both internal process improvement and external capability determinations. SCAMPI satisfies all of the Appraisal Requirements for CMMI (ARC) requirements for a Class A appraisal method and can support the conduct of ISO/IEC 15504 assessments.
SCAMPI v1.1 enables a sponsor to do the following:
 Standard CMMI Appraisal Method for Process Improvement (SCAMPI), Version 1.1: Method Definition
When conducting a SCAMPI, a lead assessor authorized by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon University works with a trained assessment team to gather and examine objective evidence and relate it to the CMMI. Data is gathered from questionnaires, organizational and project documents, interviews with organizational personnel, and presentations.
Based on the evidence, observations are written for each CMMI practice in the scope of the assessment. The ultimate objective for data gathering at the practice level is to characterize the extent to which each practice, or a satisfactory alternative practice, is implemented in the organization, and how well that implementation supports the associated process area goal. As data gathering continues, evidence is captured at the project or group level and then aggregated to the organizational level. After sufficient evidence has been obtained and evaluated, the assessment team characterizes organization-level implementation for each practice in the scope of the assessment according to this scale:
After the assessment team has characterized the implementation status of each practice, preliminary findings are generated. The preliminary findings are presented to the interview participants such that the findings can be confirmed or countermanding evidence can be gathered. Separate presentation sessions may be conducted for managers, project managers, and practitioners in order to encourage open communication, and thereby gather data with higher integrity.
Presentations of the preliminary findings are typically the assessment's last activity in the data-gathering phase prior to rating process area goals and determining the maturity level. Using the data gathered throughout the assessment, the team exercises professional judgment in determining whether the goals associated with each process area are satisfied. The goal ratings determine the organization's maturity level. The organization's maturity level is the highest level at which all goals are satisfied, and all goals at lower levels are also satisfied. In other words, in order for an organization to achieve CMMI maturity level 3, the organization must have satisfied all of the goals associated with the level 2 and level 3 process areas.
What Is Software Quality?
Software Development Process Models
Fundamentals of Measurement Theory
Software Quality Metrics Overview
Applying the Seven Basic Quality Tools in Software Development
Defect Removal Effectiveness
The Rayleigh Model
Exponential Distribution and Reliability Growth Models
Quality Management Models
In-Process Metrics for Software Testing
Complexity Metrics and Models
Metrics and Lessons Learned for Object-Oriented Projects
Measuring and Analyzing Customer Satisfaction
Conducting In-Process Quality Assessments
Conducting Software Project Assessments
Dos and Donts of Software Process Improvement
Using Function Point Metrics to Measure Software Process Improvements
A Project Assessment Questionnaire