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Software Engineering Institute Capability Maturity Model (SEICMM)

The Capability Maturity Model (CMM) is a procedure used to develop and refine an organization's software development process.

The model defines a five-level evolutionary stage of increasingly organized and consistently more mature processes.

CMM was developed and is promoted by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI), a research and development center promote by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).

Capability Maturity Model is used as a benchmark to measure the maturity of an organization's software process.

Methods of SEICMM

There are two methods of SEICMM:

Software Engineering Institute Capability Maturity Model (SEICMM)

Capability Evaluation: Capability evaluation provides a way to assess the software process capability of an organization. The results of capability evaluation indicate the likely contractor performance if the contractor is awarded a work. Therefore, the results of the software process capability assessment can be used to select a contractor.

Software Process Assessment: Software process assessment is used by an organization to improve its process capability. Thus, this type of evaluation is for purely internal use.

SEI CMM categorized software development industries into the following five maturity levels. The various levels of SEI CMM have been designed so that it is easy for an organization to build its quality system starting from scratch slowly.

Software Engineering Institute Capability Maturity Model (SEICMM)

Level 1: Initial

Ad hoc activities characterize a software development organization at this level. Very few or no processes are described and followed. Since software production processes are not limited, different engineers follow their process and as a result, development efforts become chaotic. Therefore, it is also called a chaotic level.

Level 2: Repeatable

At this level, the fundamental project management practices like tracking cost and schedule are established. Size and cost estimation methods, like function point analysis, COCOMO, etc. are used.

Level 3: Defined

At this level, the methods for both management and development activities are defined and documented. There is a common organization-wide understanding of operations, roles, and responsibilities. The ways through defined, the process and product qualities are not measured. ISO 9000 goals at achieving this level.

Level 4: Managed

At this level, the focus is on software metrics. Two kinds of metrics are composed.

Product metrics measure the features of the product being developed, such as its size, reliability, time complexity, understandability, etc.

Process metrics follow the effectiveness of the process being used, such as average defect correction time, productivity, the average number of defects found per hour inspection, the average number of failures detected during testing per LOC, etc. The software process and product quality are measured, and quantitative quality requirements for the product are met. Various tools like Pareto charts, fishbone diagrams, etc. are used to measure the product and process quality. The process metrics are used to analyze if a project performed satisfactorily. Thus, the outcome of process measurements is used to calculate project performance rather than improve the process.

Level 5: Optimizing

At this phase, process and product metrics are collected. Process and product measurement data are evaluated for continuous process improvement.

Key Process Areas (KPA) of a software organization

Except for SEI CMM level 1, each maturity level is featured by several Key Process Areas (KPAs) that contains the areas an organization should focus on improving its software process to the next level. The focus of each level and the corresponding key process areas are shown in the fig.

Software Engineering Institute Capability Maturity Model (SEICMM)

SEI CMM provides a series of key areas on which to focus to take an organization from one level of maturity to the next. Thus, it provides a method for gradual quality improvement over various stages. Each step has been carefully designed such that one step enhances the capability already built up.

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