Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What is CMMI Certification?

What is CMMI Certification? Please give details.


What a great question!

Sometimes we get so buried in process areas, practices, and software process improvement that we forget that there are new people coming into the fold everyday. Thanks!

To begin with, the SEI discourages the word "certification" and instead likes us to refer to a company as having "achieved CMMI Level 2" (or 3/4/5). Organizations achieve CMMI, people do not. Many people use to the word "certification" so you often see it in the metatags of sites (like this one, Broadsword's, and the SEI's). You "achieve" a level of CMMI by building, deploying, and managing a process within your engineering and project management organizations that refelects the best-practices identified in the process areas of the CMMI model, and then, once institutionalization is apparent, having an SEI authorized SCAMPI Lead Appraiser lead you through a SCAMPI Appraisal.

Depending on the appraisal type you select, it will result in either a gap analysis or a set of formal findings that identify your company as having achieved (or not achieved) Level X. You can visit our website at hppt://www.broadswordsolutions.com/resources.php to learn more or go the the SEI's site at http://www.sei.cmu.edu/CMMI. Wikipedia also has a good description of the CMMI as well.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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Cris said...
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Anonymous said...

Every wonder why the SEI discourages the use of the word "certification"? It's because certification implies that you have proven your ability do achieve a result, which a CMMI rating sadly does not do. In this regard the SEI is very careful not to make any legal representations in this regard, lest their entire house of cards come tumbling down.

That said, going for a CMMI rating is probably the least effective way possible to improve software development processes, if results are what you are looking for. If what you really want is a "ticket to the dance" so you can bid on some lucrative government contracts, then CMMI may be for you.

Jeff Dalton said...

Interesting. Well, since you didn't post your name I'm not sure who am I addressing, but I' guessing young, engineer, and DOD contractor. Am I right?

I used to wonder this also, but after being heavily involved with the CMMI for many years I've come to some conclusions. First of all, the SEI is not a governing body, and has no authority or interest in getting into the certification business. That's because they never intended the CMMI to be a "requirement" or a badge, they intended for it to be a way for companies to adopt process improvement. It was the DOD (and subsequently corporations) that insisted on "requiring it." This, obviously, drove the wrong behavior, and still does.

I'm not sure what you mean about the 'house comes tumbling down," but the SEI is a think-tank, not an agency, and they have never been in the business of ensuring that companies perform well. They lay out the model, and the SCAMPI Method, and they say "use it to make yourself better." There has been some abuse of ratings, and the SEI has tried to get involved, but they usually can't take it too far.

They derive their power from copyrights, not from government authority, so there is nothing to "come tumbling down."

I agree with you that a RATING is not necessarily something that gets you better performance, but the CMMI, if used as a tool to make your company better, is extremely powerful and, if done right, will give you a "ticket to the dance" with or without a Rating - by virtue of setting you above your competition.

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of bad examples - you sound like one who may have experienced that - but there are many great examples of success also.

Don't write-off the rating completely. Appraisals are powerful tools when used as a "User Acceptance Test" to determine the capabilities of your process.

Deepak Malik said...

Please guide me with a pathway to be an independent CMMI appraiser.

Regds
Deepak

Jeff Dalton said...

Deepak, you can find a list of certified CMMI SCAMPI Lead Appraisers at www.cmmiinstitute.com

You can also reach one at www.broadswordsolutions.com or at info@broadswordsolutions.com