The Toolbox

The Toolbox

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2371-0.ch009
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Maturity Models

The development of Capability Maturity Model (CMM) by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) of the Carnegie Mellon University dates back to 1986. Intended to improve the process in the software industry by elaborating on the maturity framework, the CMM provides organizations with more effective guidance in developing process improvement programs (Paulk, Curtis, Chrissis, & Weber, 1993). It provides a roadmap for continuous process improvement, but not a quick fix for projects in trouble. The CMM staged structure grew out of principles of product quality that have existed since the early 1930s, from Walter Shewhart's work on statistical quality control. Later in the 1980s, Edwards Deming and Joseph Juran further developed and successfully demonstrated the applications (Paulk et al., 1993). The SEI incorporated such principles for continuous process improvement into the maturity framework, thus establishing a project management and engineering foundation for quantitative control of software processes. The staged framework has been widely used in other industries.

The CMM is a five-level ordinal scale for measuring the maturity of an organization. The levels would help an organization to prioritize its improvement effort. Each maturity level provides a layer for continuous process improvement, with objectives for improvement corresponding to the levels. Achieving objectives at each level of maturity improvement increases the process capability of the organization. Paulk et al. (1993) describe the characteristics of each level of maturity:

  • 1.

    Initial: The (software) process is characterized as ad hoc, and occasionally even chaotic. Few processes are defined, and success depends on individual effort.

  • 2.

    Repeatable: Basic project management processes are established to track cost, schedule, and functionality. The necessary process discipline is in place to repeat earlier successes on projects with similar applications.

  • 3.

    Defined: The (software) process for both management and engineering activities is documented, standardized, and integrated into a standard (software) process for the organization. All projects use an approved, tailored version of the organization’s standard (software) process for developing and maintaining (software).

  • 4.

    Managed: Detailed measures of the (software) process and product quality are collected. Both the (software) process and products are quantitatively understood and controlled.

  • 5.

    Optimizing: Continuous process improvement is enabled by quantitative feedback from the process and from piloting innovative ideas and technologies. (Paulk et al., 1993, pp. 8-9)

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