Hey, Neil, what a great question!
The Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) is more popular than ever. Given the increasing rate at which the Model is being adopted, sometimes we find ourselves so deep in conversations about organizational performance innovation and software process improvement that we forget that there are new people coming onboard every day. They hear their bosses tell them to find out about something called “CMMI certification” and go to Google for clues. So, welcome, Neil. The party’s just getting started!
That’s right, I said party! As a certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser who has worked in the industry for many years, I’ve come to think of the CMMI as one big party, and everyone is invited!
Now, to answer your question, to begin with, the CMMI Institute discourages the phrase "CMMI certification" and instead likes us to refer to a company as having "achieved CMMI Level 2" (or Level 3, Level 4, Level 5). Note that organizations achieve CMMI, people do not.
Many people use to the phrase "CMMI certification," so you often see it in the metatags of sites (like this one, Broadsword's, and the CMMI Institute's). But the truth is, you "achieve" a level of CMMI by building, deploying, and managing a process within your engineering and project management organizations that reflects the best-practices identified in the process areas of the CMMI model. Once institutionalization is apparent, you bring in a CMMI Institute-authorized SCAMPI Lead Appraiser to 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) CMMI Level 2, CMMI Level 3, Level 4 or Level 5.
So, while the phrase “CMMI certification” is common on Web sites and conversations throughout the industry, a better question is as follows: “How do we achieve a CMMI level rating?”
Let me repeat for clarity. You achieve a CMMI Rating ("a level") by building, deploying, and managing a process architecture within your engineering and project management organizations and you use the best practices identified in the process areas of the CMMI model to make it better. That's it! Once institutionalization is apparent, you can then engage with a CMMI Institute-certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser to lead you through a SCAMPI Appraisal. For many organizations, it makes sense to work with a CMMI consultant to help you decide when it is best to appraise your organization. There are many certified lead appraiser who can help you as a consultant as well.
But keep in mind: The CMMI is not about getting a CMMI certificate or achieving a CMMI Maturity Level. As I said above, the CMMI is more like a party, an ongoing celebration, a model to help guide you in your quest for becoming a great company … and you’re invited!
For more information, please feel free to visit the Broadsword web site, or check out our webinar, "All about CMMI!"
Webinar: "All about CMMI!"
Date/Time: April 18, 2016 @ noon EDT
Registration: Sign up here.
See you on the webinar!
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 www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information.