SEI CMMI Maturity Levels - SEI Capability Maturity Model Implementation (SEI CMMI)

What is SEI CMMI Maturity Levels?

A maturity level is a precisely-defined evolutionary plateau for establishing a mature software process. Every maturity level facilitates a layer in the basis for continuous process improvement.

CMMI models with staged representation, consists of five maturity levels representsted by the numbers 1 to 5. They are:

  • Initial
  • Managed
  • Defined
  • Quantitatively Managed
  • Optimizing

CMMI Staged Representation Maturity Levels

The below diagram shows the maturity levels in a CMMI staged representation.

SEI CMMI - Maturity Levels

Now we will study the details of every maturity level. Upcoming section will list down all the process areas associated to these maturity levels.

Maturity Level Details

Maturity levels maintain a set of predefined process areas. The maturity levels are measured by the accomplishment of the generic and specific goals that applies to every predefined set of process areas.

The below sections define the features of every maturity level in brief.

Maturity Level 1 Initial

Initially at maturity level 1, processes are normally ad hoc and chaotic. The organization normally does not facilitate a balanced environment. Progress in these organizations merely rely on the capability and heroics of the individuals in the organization and not on the usage of proven processes.

Maturity level 1 organizations requently procure products and services that work; however, they often overeach the budget and deadlines of their projects.Maturity level 1 organizations are described by a tendency to over promise, leave processes in the time of disaster, and not be capable to replay their past successes.

Maturity Level 2 Managed

At maturity level 2, an organization has accomplished all the generic and specific goals of the maturity level 2 process areas. Strictly speaking, the projects of the organization have assured that requirements are well managed and that processes are planned, performed, measured, and controlled.

The process discipline mirrored by maturity level 2 assists to assure that current practices are retained when times of stress. When these practices are in position, projects are done and managed as per their documented plans.At maturity level 2, requirements, work products, processes and services are managed. The state of the work products and the delivery of services can be visible to higher management at defined points.

Commitments are inaugarated between relevant stakeholders and are revised as required. Work products are analysed with stakeholders and are controlled.

The work products and services meet their defined requirements, standards, and objectives.

Maturity Level 3 Defined

At maturity level 3, an organization has achieved all the specific and generic goals of the process areas assigned to maturity levels 2 and 3, processes are well understood and characterized , and are described in standards, procedures, tools, and methods.

A critical distinction between CMMI level 2 and 3 is nothing but the process descriptions, scope of standards, and procedures.At maturity level 3, the standards, process descriptions, and procedures for a project are tailored from the organization's set of standard processes to suit a particular project or organizational unit.

The organization's standard processes includes the processes addressed at both levels 2 and 3. As a result, the processes that are performed across the organization are consistent except for the differences allowed by the tailoring guidelines.Another important distinction is that at CMMI level 3, processes are typically described in more detail and more rigorously than at maturity level 2.

At maturity level 3, processes are managed more proactively using an understanding of the interrelationships of the process activities and detailed measures of the process, its work products, and its services.

Maturity Level 4 Quantitatively Managed

At CMMI level 4, an organization should be achieving all the specific goals of the processed areas which are assigned to CMMI levels 2, 3, and 4 and all the generic goals assigned to maturity levels 2 and 3.

At CMMI Level 4, sub-processes are selected which significantly contribute to the whole process performance. These sub-processes are managed using statistical and other quantitative techniques.

Quantitative objectives for process and quality performance got established and used as main criteria in managing these processes. Quantitative objectives are the needs of the customer, organization, end users, and process implementers. Process and Quality performance are learnt in statistical terms and are managed throughout the life of the processes.

To know about these processes, a detailed measure of process performance are known, collected and statistically analyzed. Special causes of process variation are identified and, where appropriate, the sources of special causes are corrected to prevent future occurrences.

Quality and process performance measures are incorporated into the organization's measurement repository to support fact-based decision making in the future.

A critical distinction between CMMI level 3 and CMMI level 4 is the predictability of process performance. At maturity level 4, the performance of processes is controlled using statistical and other quantitative techniques, and is quantitatively predictable. At level 3, processes are only qualitatively predictable.

Maturity Level 5 Optimizing

At CMMI Level 5, an organization has achieved all the specific goalsof the process areas assigned to maturity levels 2, 3, 4, and 5 and the generic goals assigned to maturity levels 2 and 3.

Here, processes need to be continually improved as long as the quantitative understanding of the common causes of variation inherent is in processes.

This CMMI level mainly focuses on continually improving process performance through both innovative and incremental technological improvements.

The quantitative process-improvement objectives for the organization are continually revised, established to reflect changing business objectives, and used as criteria in managing process improvement.

The effects of deployed process improvements are measured and evaluated against the quantitative process-improvement objectives. Both the defined processes and the organization's set of standard processes are targets of measurable improvement activities.

Optimizing processes that are agile and innovative, depends on the participation of an empowered workforce aligned with the business values and objectives of the organization. The organization's ability to rapidly respond to changes and opportunities is enhanced by finding ways to accelerate and share learning. Improvement of the processes is inherently a role that everybody has to play, resulting in a cycle of continual improvement.

A critical difference between level 4 and level 5 is the type of process variation addressed. At level 4, all the processes are concerned with addressing of special reasons of process variation and managing statistical predictability of these results. Though, these processes may produce predictable results, the results may be insufficient to achieve the established objectives.

At level 5, processes are concerned with addressing common causes of process variation and changing the process (that is, shifting the means of the process performance) to improve process performanceto achieve the established quantitative process-improvement objectives.

Maturity Levels Should Not be Skipped

Each maturity level allocates required foundation for efficient implementation of processes at the higher level.

  • Next level processes will have few chances of success without the discipline facilitated by lower levels.
  • The effect of innovation may be confusing in a noisy process.

Higher maturity level processes might be done by organizations at lower maturity levels, with the risk of not being consistently applied in any emergency.

Maturity Levels and Process Areas

Below table listed of all the corresponding process areas which are described for a software organization. These process areas can be vary for several organizations.

This section explains us the names of the related process areas. To know more information on these Process Areas then, go through the CMMI Process Areas Chapter.

Level

Focus

Key Process Area

Result

5

Optimizing

Continuous Process Improvement

Organizational Innovation and Deployment

Causal Analysis and Resolution

Highest Quality / Lowest Risk

4

Quantitatively Managed

Quantitatively Managed

Organizational Process Performance

Quantitative Project Management

Higher Quality / Lower Risk

3

Defined

Defined

Process Standardization

Requirements Development

Technical Solution

Product Integration

Verification

Validation

Organizational Process Focus

Organizational Process Definition

Organizational Training

Integrated Project Mgmt (with IPPD extras)

Risk Management

Decision Analysis and Resolution

Integrated Teaming (IPPD only)

Org. Environment for Integration (IPPD only)

Integrated Supplier Management (SS only)

Requirements Development

Technical Solution

Product Integration

Verification

Validation

Organizational Process Focus

Organizational Process Definition

Organizational Training

Integrated Project Mgmt (with IPPD extras)

Risk Management

Decision Analysis and Resolution

Integrated Teaming (IPPD only)

Org. Environment for Integration (IPPD only)

Integrated Supplier Management (SS only)

2

Managed

Basic Project Management

Requirements Management

Project Planning

Project Monitoring and Control

Supplier Agreement Management

Measurement and Analysis

Process and Product Quality Assurance

Configuration Management

Low Quality / High Risk

1

Initial

Process is informal and Adhoc

Lowest Quality / Highest Risk

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