CMMI® (Capability Maturity Model® Integration) Version 1.3

The basics

CMMI is an internationally recognized process improvement approach that helps organizations to identify where to focus their improvement efforts along an evolutionary maturity path from ad hoc and chaotic to mature disciplined processes.


CMMI is owned and supported by the Carnegie Mellon® Software Engineering Institute (SEI). Version 1.0 of the CMM for Software (SW-CMM) was published in 1991; it was upgraded to CMM Integration (CMMI) in 2000 and the current version is Version 1.3, released in November 2010. An important change in Version 1.3 is the addition of Agile.

CMMI integrates traditionally separate organizational functions, sets process improvement goals and priorities, provides guidance for quality processes, and provides a point of reference for apprais- ing current processes. The CMMI models are collections of best practices that help organizations to improve their processes:

•   The CMMI for Acquisition (CMMI-ACQ) model provides guidance on managing the supply chain to meet the needs of the customer

•   The CMMI for Development (CMMI-DEV) model supports improvements in the effectiveness, efficiency, and quality of product and service development

•   The CMMI for Services (CMMI-SVC) model provides guidance on establishing, managing, and delivering services that meet the needs of customers and end users

•   The People CMM provides guidance on managing and developing the workforce

An organization appraises its processes against the CMMI best practices:

•   To determine how well its processes compare to CMMI best practices, and to identify areas where improvement can be made

•   And/or to inform external customers and suppliers of how well its processes compare to CMMI best practices

•   And/or to meet the contractual requirements of one or more customers


Organizations can use a staged approach to appraisal to identify process maturity levels from 1 to 5 (see Figure). They can also take a more flexible continuous approach to appraisal, measuring capability maturity in individual process areas. The appraisal results can then be used to plan process improvements for the organization.

Target audience

Managers responsible for process improvement programmes, project managers, process improvement specialists, project team members, appraisals teams.

Scope and constraints

•   CMMI applies to teams, work groups, projects, divisions, and entire organizations

•   CMMI works best in combination with Agile, Scrum, ITIL®, Six Sigma, COBIT®, ISO 9001, RUP®, or Lean

•   Provides a common, integrated vision of improvement – or can focus on a specific process area

•   Generic descriptions based on industry best practice

•   Supporting guidance such as roadmaps help to interpret generic models for specific circumstances



•   Aiming for higher maturity levels that will not achieve increased business benefits

•   Rigid adherence to a staged approach – trying to move every project in the organization to the next level of maturity can be costly and time-consuming

•   Failing to interpret the generic descriptions appropriately for the specific needs of the organization