What is CMM Process Area (PA) and Key Process Area (KPA)

Previously known as  Key Process Area (KPA)

A process area (PA) contains the goals that must be reached in order to improve a software process. A PA is said to be satisfied when procedures are in place to reach the corresponding goals. A software organization has achieved a specific maturity level once all the corresponding PAs are satisfied. The process areas (PA’s) have the following features:

  1. Identify a cluster of related activities that, when performed collectively, achieve a set of goals considered important for enhancing process capability.
  2. Defined to reside at a single maturity level.
  3. Identify the issues that must be addressed to achieve a maturity level.

The different maturity levels have different  process areas pre-defined as shown in the figure

The different maturity levels have different  process areas pre-defined as shown in the figure above. The SEI CMMI Level 5 has 3 PA’s defined:

  • Process change management: To identify the causes of defects and prevent them from recurring.
  • Technology change management: To identify beneficial new technology and transfer them in an orderly manner
  • Defect prevention: To continually improve the process to improve quality, increase productivity, and decrease development time.

The purpose of Process Change Management is to continually improve the software processes used in the organization with the intent of improving software quality, increasing productivity, and decreasing the cycle time for product development. When software process improvements are approved for normal practice, the organization’s standard software process and the projects’ defined software processes are revised as suited.

The goals sought to achieve are as follows:

  • Continuous process improvement is planned.
  • Participation in the organization’s software process improvement activities is organization wide.
  • The organization’s standard software process and the projects defined software processes are improved continuously.

These defined standards give the organization a commitment to perform because:

  • The organization follows a written policy for implementing software process improvements.
  • Senior management sponsors the organization’s activities for software process improvement.

The ability of the organization to perform transpires because:

  • Adequate resources and funding are provided for software process improvement activities.
  • Software managers receive required training in software process improvement.
  • The managers and technical staff of the software engineering group and other software-related groups receive required training in software process improvement.
  • Senior management receives required training in software process improvement.
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