Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Is CMMI still popular?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser – We've been discussing adopting a process model to help guide us while improving our software development organization's performance. Is the CMMI still popular among large organizations, and would this be the best framework for what we are trying to do? ~ Sanjam S.

Hey, Sanjam, thank you for your questions! The answer to both is “Yes!”

Yes, the CMMI is still extremely popular among companies of all sizes. CMMI adoption continues to expand, both in the USA and worldwide. Check out the new data released by the CMMI Institute:

The CMMI Institute's 2017 Annual Report to Partners analyzes the worldwide market to determine the adoption of the CMMI. As you can see, the 2,632 appraisals conducted in 2017 represents a new high water mark. Adoption continues to increase, 17% overall and 3% in the United States.

2017 was a great year for CMMI. More organizations than ever got CMMI appraisals, and satisfaction has strengthened with end-users giving CMMI a world-class Net Promoter Score of +44, up three points from 2013.

Another interesting statistic from the Report, as it pertains to your goal of becoming a Fortune 500 company:

The Report states that an examination of the recent list by Fortune magazine of the 500 largest companies in the world revealed that 34 Fortune 500 companies have received CMMI appraisals. In addition, 14 of the Top 50 Most Admired companies by Forbes have active CMMI appraisals.

Those 14 companies are: Microsoft, General Electric, Honeywell, IBM, Boeing, General Dynamics, Northrump Grummond, Lockheed Martin, Booz Allen Hamilton, McKesson, Raytheon, Cognizant, Aetna, and Insight.

To answer your second question, based on what you’ve shared here, yes, an evidence-based model like the CMMI is the best framework for what you are trying to do.  It's both broad and deep, and assuming you don't over-do it, it should fit your need quite nicely.

I appreciate your comment that you are considering achieving a CMMI Maturity Level in the spirit of trying to do the right things to improve. It’s also useful to keep in mind that this discussion is also about risk management. The way you do things – the way you drive software process improvement in your firm, for example – is in itself, a risk-avoidance technique. You can keep items off your risk list by learning to adopt an evidence-based model like the CMMI to guide the behaviors of the people who are doing the work.

Going forward, I would say that the adoption of CMMI by organizations like yours is the trajectory the industry is on. It’s all part of a widespread movement by companies large and small in North America to put themselves on the path to greatness and compete in the global market.

The CMMI supports your intention to do things the right way by keeping you focused on the right behaviors. Not only will you achieve CMMI Level 2 or CMMI Level 3 (the most common CMMI maturity levels) as a natural result … not only will you drive the software process improvement results you are looking for … but you’ll be on the path to greatness, whether you ultimately make the Fortune 500 list or not.

Now that’s what I call doing things the right way!

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 training classes and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students

Visit for more information about engineering strategy, performance innovation, software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.

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