Wednesday, July 27, 2011

When can we advertise that we have achieved CMMI Certification?

Dear Jeff,

Our company just went through the CMMI Certification process and achieved Maturity Level Three.  Our Lead Appraiser said we have to wait before we can announce our CMMI Certification for at least a month. What the heck?  Why can't we announce it now?  ~Paul


hmmm . . . . you can never announce that you have achieved "CMMI Certification!"  Why?  Because "CMMI Certification" doesn't exist!  That's right. All that hard work and "poof!" no certification.  Sounds like a real bummer!

What you can say is that you have been "Appraised at CMMI Maturity Level Three" or that you have "achieved CMMI ML3."

The reason you have to wait +- 30 days to announce the results is that the SEI is busy trying to uncover defects and problems with the appraisal results - and this is more about Lead Appraiser performance than it is about your performance.  Once they have "ok'd" the results, you can go ahead and announce it.

The longest I have ever waited for approval is 27 days.  So they're pretty much right on target.

The CMMI has no provision for a certification, and the SEI doesn't certify companies.  They do, however, certify SCAMPI Lead Appraisers and CMMI Instructors (yours truly is both of these).

As a matter of fact, there are a number of things you "can't do" related to announcing your appraisal results.  This is from the SEI's recently released guideline on this subject:

Do not announce your appraisal result
before it has been accepted by the SEI.

Do not name Carnegie Mellon University
as your appraiser.

If your appraisal covers only a subgroup
within your organization, do not
announce that your entire organization
was appraised.

Do not use the following words to refer
to your appraisal: certified, certification,
accredited, or accreditation.

And be prepared for 50 lashes with a wet-noodle if you violate these rules! More likely you'll get a friendly call from SEI Legal asking you to change your behavior.....

You can read the entire document here

So, don't forget: no "CMMI Certification" and wait until the SEI has approved it!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, Candidate SCAMPI Appraiser Observer, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations.  Jeff has taught thousands of students and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Learn more about CMMI Training at

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