Capability Maturity Model (CMM) Process Area (PA) Activities

The Process Area Activities performed include:

  • A software process improvement program is established which empowers the members of the organization to improve the processes of the organization.
  • The group responsible for the organization’s software process activities coordinates the software process improvement activities.
  • The organization develops and maintains a plan for software process improvement according to a documented procedure.
  • The software process improvement activities are performed in accordance with the software process improvement plan.
  • Software process improvement proposals are handled according to a documented procedure.
  • Members of the organization actively participate in teams to develop software process improvements for assigned process areas.
  • Where appropriate, the software process improvements are installed on a pilot basis to determine their benefits and effectiveness before they are introduced into normal practice.
  • When the decision is made to transfer a software process improvement into normal practice, the improvement is implemented according to a documented procedure.
  • Records of software process improvement activities are maintained.
  • Software managers and technical staff receive feedback on the status and results of the software process improvement activities on an event-driven basis.

The primary purpose of periodic reviews by senior management is to provide awareness of, and insight into, software process activities at an appropriate level of abstraction and in a timely manner. The time between reviews should meet the needs of the organization and may be lengthy, as long as adequate mechanisms for exception reporting are available.

The Capability Maturity Model has been criticized in that, that it does not describe how to create an effective software development organization. The traits it measures are in practice very hard to develop in an organization, even though they are very easy to recognize. However, it cannot be denied that the Capability Maturity Model reliably assesses an organization’s sophistication about software development.

The CMM was invented to give military officers a quick way to assess and describe contractors’ abilities to provide correct software on time. It has been a roaring success in this role. So much so that it caused panic-stricken salespeople to clamor for their engineering organizations to “implement CMM” with CMM level 5 being the ultimate.

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