Capability Maturity Model (CMM): Its Role in Evaluating and Improving Processes

5 Min Read
Capability Maturity Model (CMM): Its Role in Evaluating and Improving Processes

Quality is a critical factor in the success of any organisation. Any enterprise that fails to satisfy customer needs can trace its problems back to a quality issue. Its this understanding that made it necessary to have a framework that helps to improve development processes and overall increase business performance. 

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What is Capability Maturity Model?

The capability maturity model often referred to by the acronym CMM was established to make it easy for organisations to streamline process enhancement and develop behaviours that decrease risks. It aims to create an environment that minimises risks in product, software and service development. 

The Capability Maturity Model framework can help companies to meet their functionality, product quality and cost objectives. Laying foundations for successive continuous process improvements.

Before implementing CMM, however, enterprises should learn how the model works and what benefits it offers.

History of Capability Maturity Model (CMM)

The framework was developed in the 1980s to ensure that government contractors delivered as required. It was a creation of the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon University. SEI was established to implement methodologies and protocols in software development to help the United States get a competitive advantage in software engineering. 

The Capability Maturity Model (CMM) was among its first projects. SEI was searching for mature processes to improve software development. Over the years, CMM evolved to CMMI, capability maturity model integration.

What are the 5 levels of CMM?

The quality improvement system incorporates five levels that lay out the best practices for improving software processes. They are:

Initial: This stage is the starting point and, thereby is chaotic. Processes are unstable because they are always changing. The environment is unpredictable, which increases risks. You can’t measure progress during the initial stage due to a broad variation in the functionality, cost, schedule and quality goals. An organisation will find that processes are often over budget.

Managed: Although a company still has various challenges to address at this stage, there is project management. It is possible to track progress. Processes are easier to understand and generate consistent results. For this reason, they are repeatable, meaning that you can replicate success.

Defined: Enterprises typically have standards in place to guide employees. At this point, a company has already learned its weaknesses and has solutions. Measures are in place to mitigate risks. Additionally, process improvement is a standard.

Quantitatively Managed: Organisations exercise better control at this stage. Processes are already in use and improving. An enterprise is also ready to test process sustainability in different environments. Qualitative data is available, and the company uses it to identify process deficiencies.

Optimising: The primary objective of CMM is to reach the optimising level where processes are stable and flexible. A company is at a point of continuous improvement. It monitors processes and develops new ones. Because the enterprise is stable, it has room for more innovation. Here, you can detect the cause of defects early and eliminate them.

How does Capability Maturity Model Work?

If a company is to get on board about implementing CMM, it should be clear about the value that the framework offers. One obvious advantage is reducing risk. If an organisation can boost the quality of its development processes, it decreases the chances of products failing to meet the required standards.

Each level within the CMM is defined by using KPA or key process area to understand whether implementation is effective, lasting and constantly repeatable.

With CMM, a business creates standard procedures for development. Therefore, employees have a blueprint or checklist to follow when developing certain products. This knowledge enhances efficiency and productivity.

Continuous process improvement increases customer satisfaction. CMM helps you to come up with solutions that satisfy different consumer demands. Consequently, customers come to rely on the top quality of your products.

What is CMMI?

Capability maturity model integration or CMMI, is a model which merges several business maturity frameworks. CMMI is a process and behavioural model that aims to help businesses streamline process improvement and encourage greater productivity and reduce risks.

CMMI also accounts for some of the shortcomings of CMM. In its original form, CMM was designed for software engineering. Now companies have a more generalised version that they can use for software, hardware and service development. CMM is suitable for various industries.

The competitive world that businesses operate in requires them to have an edge. Good quality software development provides that. The capability maturity model seeks to help business performance improvement and development, delivery and implementation of reliable software.

Capability Maturity Model Benefits?

There are many benefits to business:

Productivity: Each process should be highly refined to produce the best possible results. 

Consistency:  Predictability and consistency of capabilities and results from completing the project.

Reduce Costs: Reduce costs before the process has been designed to remove problems that can be costly

Identify & Reduce Errors: Identify defects and errors in the process development and operations.

Process Improvement: Continuous process improvement ensures the business has documented best practices. Documenting them means they are captured for the future so they can be shared and adopted by everyone within the business. 

Holding onto business tacit knowledge so critical business information won’t be taken away when people move on to new jobs.

Types of Businesses Using CMM

Help streamline processes and increase productivity, and reduce risks of errors in software, product and service development.

Created as a software development process to understand maturity level. Software Development CMM is a great way to evaluate, optimise, improve and refine the software development process.

Cybersecurity Capability Maturity Model a great tool for improving your cyber security performance.

CMM Project Management can provide businesses with a way of quantitatively assessing both the performance and maturity of the project.

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