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3.2 CMMI Objectives

While CMMI has many business-related benefits, the CMMI project as defined by its sponsors was directed toward the development of more efficient and effective process improvement models. It had both initial and longer-term objectives. The initial objective (represented in version 1.1 of the CMMI Product Suite) was to integrate three specific process improvement models: software, systems engineering, and integrated product and process development. This integration was intended to reduce the cost of implementing multidisciplinary model-based process improvement by accomplishing the following tasks:

  • Eliminating inconsistencies
  • Reducing duplication
  • Increasing clarity and understanding
  • Providing common terminology
  • Providing consistent style
  • Establishing uniform construction rules
  • Maintaining common components
  • Assuring consistency with ISO/IEC 15504

In the update to CMMI version 1.2, one objective of the CMMI Team was to improve and simplify the model as it applies to engineering development activities.2 A second objective was to expand the scope of the model beyond the world of development to include both acquisition and the delivery of services.3 Figure 3-1 illustrates these objectives and the product line approach developed by the CMMI Team. It remains to be seen whether in the future other disciplines and constellations4 will be added to the CMMI Product Suite.

Figure 3-1

Figure 3-1 The CMMI concept

To facilitate both current and future model integration, the CMMI Team created an automated, extensible framework that can house model components, training material components, and appraisal materials. Defined rules govern the potential addition of more disciplines into this framework.

From the start, the CMMI project had to find an acceptable balance between competing requirements relating to change. The task of integration, which by its very nature requires change from each of the original single-discipline models, meant that all model users could expect new ways of thinking about process improvement to be needed in a CMMI environment. At the same time, an equally strong requirement called for protecting the investments in process improvement made by former users of those models, which meant controlling the introduction of new materials for each discipline. Judging from the significant rate of adoption throughout the world, we believe the CMMI project has achieved an appropriate balance between old and new.

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