The Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) framework is a process measurement and improvement meta-framework that helps organizations measure their processes’ effectiveness and identify how to improve them over time.
The Department of Defense (DoD) funded and assisted in the development of CMMI, which was the precursor of Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), which has been getting a lot of attention of late as a certification system to certify contractors have the controls to protect sensitive data including Federal Contract Information and Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI).
CMMI is now used the world over, both in software engineering and in ICT service management. Organizations who supply government products or services are often asked to meet CMMI level 3 across their core delivery processes, a level of maturity that requires the use of formal methods of design, development, testing and delivery.
CMMI has five maturity levels:
- Initial: Processes are viewed as unpredictable and reactive. This is the worst stage a business can find itself in — an unpredictable environment that increases risk and inefficiency.
- Managed: There’s a level of project management achieved. Projects are “planned, performed, measured and controlled” at this level, but there are still a lot of issues to address.
- Defined: At this stage, organizations are more proactive than reactive. There’s a set of “organization wide standards” to “provide guidance across projects, programs and portfolios.” Businesses understand their shortcomings, how to address them and what the goal is for improvement.
- Quantitatively managed: This stage is more measured and controlled. The organization is working off quantitative data to determine predictable processes that align with stakeholder needs. The business is ahead of risks, with more data-driven insight into process deficiencies.
- Optimizing: Here, an organization’s processes are stable and flexible. At this final stage, an organization will be in constant state of improving and responding to changes or other opportunities. The organization is stable, which allows for more “agility and innovation,” in a predictable environment.
Once organizations hit Levels 4 and 5, they are considered high maturity, where they are “continuously evolving, adapting and growing to meet the needs of stakeholders and customers.”
That is the goal of the CMMI: To create reliable environments, where products, services and departments are proactive, efficient and productive.
Learn more in a CMMI Training course by Tonex.
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