Wednesday, December 9, 2015

What is CMMI and how does it work with Scrum?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser, so that I can assess whether there is a fit with our growing, Virginia-based health care technology company, I need to know exactly what the CMMI is. Please tell me what it helps companies do, and how it works with Scrum, if at all. Thank you. ~ Betsy F.

Hey, Betsy, welcome to the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI)! As a certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser who has worked in the industry for many years – including with several health care technology clients – I’m always thrilled when someone new asks about the Model and whether it works with Scrum. There are so many great ways to use CMMI and Scrum together to put your company (and your career) on the path to greatness!

First, practically speaking, there are three things to know about the CMMI. Here’s what CMMI is:

  • The CMMI is a tool to help solve business problems 
  • The CMMI is a framework and set of guidelines for changing behaviors and changing culture
  • The CMMI is a time-tested, industry-proven model for positive outcomes

And here are just six of many things the CMMI helps you do:

  • The CMMI helps you change and improve requirements churn and volatility, so that you can spend less time and money on requirements
  • The CMMI helps you be on-time and on-budget 
  • The CMMI helps you motivate your staff, and make them better at what they do
  • The CMMI helps you understand and deal with risk, before it hurts you 
  • The CMMI helps you avoid having too many meetings, unhappy customers and unpredictable projects 
  • The CMMI allows you to do what you are already doing, better

As to your question about how the CMMI and Scrum work together, the secret of CMMI and Scrum is that they are more alike than they are different. A lot of folks see CMMI and Scrum as polar opposites. But CMMI and Scrum both exist to solve problems. This makes CMMI and Scrum allies, not adversaries.

To learn how to make CMMI and Scrum work for you, check out our upcoming FREE webinars:

Monday, 12/14: “All About CMMI” -- This is a great place to start. Find out EVERYTHING you need to know about CMMI by signing up for the introductory webinar.

Tuesday, 12/15: “Agile Transformation” – Learn to take advantage of Agile for a lighter, leaner approach to solving business problems incrementally and iteratively.  Check it out!

Wednesday, 12/16: “Scaling and Strengthening Agile" -- By participating in this webinar, you'll come away with an understanding of the work that needs to be done to strengthen Agile in a way that makes sense for your organization, while staying true to Agile methods.

We hope to see you on one, two, or all three webinars ... and good luck!

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

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

Visit for more information about running a successful CMMI and performance improvement program.

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