SINCE ITS INTRODUCTION JUST OVER 15 YEARS AGO, THE CAPABILITY MATURITY MODEL HAS QUICKLY become a major player in the IT world of process improvement and quality management. Today, it runs second only to its more established relative, the ISO 9001 program, in acceptance and use around the world. And in terms of momentum, CMM is probably leading. It is being adopted as the preferred IT quality standard by more and more businesses, organizations, and government agencies. With ISO and Six Sigma, it has taken its place as one of a trio of quality management options the executive world is looking to. Its rising popularity can be attributed to many factors. It is relatively compact. It is specifically shaped to the needs of technology development. And it is a public-domain specification, free to anyone who wants to use it.
Perhaps more important, the CMM framework has been proven to work. Its benefits have been demonstrated both quantitatively and qualitatively. The corporations that have adopted its recommendations and consciously applied them within their technology development projects have seen measurable performance improvements. Planning estimates and projections have become more accurate. Work paths have become more established. Efficiencies have increased. Defect rates and rework have dropped.
And so, CMM's potential for impact makes it a worthwhile model that should be at least tangentially understood by IT management across corporate America. For that reason, I'll now take a look at what the Capability Maturity Model is all about.
I'll do that in this section by presenting an overview of the most current version of the Capability Maturity Model, the CMMI-DEV. The "I" in the model's name stands for "integration." As we'll see, CMMI is an extension of the CMM. It both expands and refines the CMM by incorporating generic approaches for software engineering, systems engineering, and integrated process and product development together into a single framework. And it does this while allowing for greater flexibility in reaching the model's goals. The "Dev" stands for Development. The CMMI-Dev (version 1.2) is the model useful for technology organizations that have to develop products, processes, or both for their customers. (There is also a CMMI-ACQ model for Acquisitions, but discussion of this model is not in the scope of this book.)
But before we look at the components that make up the Capability Maturity Model Integration, let's take a brief look at the history of the model and its parent organization, the Software Engineering Institute.