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Introduction to CMMI for Development: Guidelines for Process Integration and Product Improvement, 3rd Edition

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This chapter introduces CMMI for Development (CMMI-DEV), which consists of best practices that address development activities applied to products and services. It addresses practices that cover the product's lifecycle from conception through delivery and maintenance. The emphasis is on the work necessary to build and maintain the total product.
This chapter is from the book

Now more than ever, companies want to deliver products and services better, faster, and cheaper. At the same time, in the high-technology environment of the twenty-first century, nearly all organizations have found themselves building increasingly complex products and services. It is unusual today for a single organization to develop all the components that compose a complex product or service. More commonly, some components are built in-house and some are acquired; then all the components are integrated into the final product or service. Organizations must be able to manage and control this complex development and maintenance process.

The problems these organizations address today involve enterprise-wide solutions that require an integrated approach. Effective management of organizational assets is critical to business success. In essence, these organizations are product and service developers that need a way to manage their development activities as part of achieving their business objectives.

In the current marketplace, maturity models, standards, methodologies, and guidelines exist that can help an organization improve the way it does business. However, most available improvement approaches focus on a specific part of the business and do not take a systemic approach to the problems that most organizations are facing. By focusing on improving one area of a business, these models have unfortunately perpetuated the stovepipes and barriers that exist in organizations.

CMMI for Development (CMMI-DEV) provides an opportunity to avoid or eliminate these stovepipes and barriers. CMMI for Development consists of best practices that address development activities applied to products and services. It addresses practices that cover the product's lifecycle from conception through delivery and maintenance. The emphasis is on the work necessary to build and maintain the total product.

CMMI-DEV contains 22 process areas. Of those process areas, 16 are core process areas, 1 is a shared process area, and 5 are development specific process areas.1

All CMMI-DEV model practices focus on the activities of the developer organization. Five process areas focus on practices specific to development: addressing requirements development, technical solution, product integration, verification, and validation.

About Process Improvement

In its research to help organizations to develop and maintain quality products and services, the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) has found several dimensions that an organization can focus on to improve its business. Figure 1.1 illustrates the three critical dimensions that organizations typically focus on: people, procedures and methods, and tools and equipment.

Figure 1.1

Figure 1.1 The Three Critical Dimensions

What holds everything together? It is the processes used in your organization. Processes allow you to align the way you do business. They allow you to address scalability and provide a way to incorporate knowledge of how to do things better. Processes allow you to leverage your resources and to examine business trends.

This is not to say that people and technology are not important. We are living in a world where technology is changing at an incredible speed. Similarly, people typically work for many companies throughout their careers. We live in a dynamic world. A focus on process provides the infrastructure and stability necessary to deal with an ever-changing world and to maximize the productivity of people and the use of technology to be competitive.

Manufacturing has long recognized the importance of process effectiveness and efficiency. Today, many organizations in manufacturing and service industries recognize the importance of quality processes. Process helps an organization's workforce to meet business objectives by helping them to work smarter, not harder, and with improved consistency. Effective processes also provide a vehicle for introducing and using new technology in a way that best meets the business objectives of the organization.

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