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The Capability Maturity Model - Guidelines for Improving the Software Process

Carnegie Mellon SEI
Addison-Wesley, 1995
ISBN 0-201-54664-7

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This is the standard reference work on the Capability Maturity Model (CMM), the landmark software development process guideline compiled by Carnegie Mellon's Software Engineering Institute. The CMM was developed to provide a framework for the continuous improvement of software quality. The framework presents guidelines for planning, engineering, and managing software development and maintenance. The CMM Version 1.1 presented in this book expands upon the software process maturity framework proposed in Watts Humphrey's 1989 landmark book Managing the Software Process.

Table of Contents:

Part One: The Capability Maturity Model for Software: Background, Concepts, Structure, and Usage

  1. Introducing Software Process Maturity
  2. The Software Process Maturity Framework
  3. The Structure of the Capability Maturity Model
  4. Interpreting the CMM
  5. Using the CMM
  6. A High-Maturity Example: Space Shuttle Onboard Software

Part Two: The Key Practices of the Capability Maturity Model for Software

  1. The Key Areas for Level 2: Repeatable
  2. The Key Process areas for Level 3: Defined
  3. The Key Process Areas for Level 4: Managed
  4. The Key Process Areas for Level 5: Optimizing

Appendices: References, Acronyms, Glossary, Abridged Version of the Key Practices, Mapping the Key Practices to Goals, Comparing ISO 9001 and the CMM, An Overview of ISO's SPICE Project, Change History of the CMM, Change Request Form

Anyone involved in developing or managing the development of software should read Chapter 1 and 2. Chapter 1 introduces the concept of process maturity and motivates us to assess our own development processes (or indeed, the lack of one). Chapter 2 introduces the process maturity levels and helps us to make an informal assessment of the maturity levels of our own organizations. A summary of the levels is also given in the Appendix.

It is difficult to have a discussion about software development process and improving software quality without including the SEI's Capability Maturity Model. The CMM's key terms have become part of the vocabulary of software development process improvement. Its evolution from the actual practices of development organizations gives the CMM a "standards"-like legitimacy (the CMM is fueling a standards effort with ISO). Though the CMM has critics and the Version 1.1 baseline is aging fast in this rapidly changing area, a knowledge of the CMM will have value for anyone concerned with software quality and software development process improvement. And for those organizations that are serious about process improvement, the CMM provides a rich sources of templates, procedures, and guidelines with which to construct a process improvement effort tailored to a particular development organization's needs.

Contributed by Warren Craycroft, ProjectConnections Staff

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