What are Representations in the CMMI?
A “Representation” in CMMI is a way of looking at the data in the CMMI model and using it to evaluate performance.
Currently, there are two such “representations.” Staged and Continuous.
The “Staged Representation” organizes the twenty-plus process areas in the model by “Maturity Level.” In other words, there is a pre-defined set of process areas that go together for each maturity level, starting with 2 and going through 5 (no, there isn’t a Level 1 in the Staged Representation).
If a company wishes to improve using the guidance from Maturity Level Two, there are seven Process Areas to choose from in CMMI-DEV, and 8 in CMMI-SVC, and an associated set of 10 “Generic Practices,” which you can think of as the “secret sauce” required for successful implementation. After that, the number of Process Areas and Generic Practices increases (the number is dependent on which version of CMMI you are using).
Using the Staged Representation allows an organization to achieve a “Maturity Level.”
The “Continuous Representation” doesn’t have Maturity Levels, and in this version the Process Areas are organized within categories (Project Management, for instance) instead of Maturity Levels. You can pick and choose the ones you want, and if you want to “get a level” you can do it in one (or more) process areas by coupling it with the Generic Practices.
Using the Continuous Representation allows an organization to achieve a “Capability Level” in one or more areas.
So the difference between the two is simply in 1) how they are listed in the book and 2) how you can “get a level.” Simple!
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