CMMI: A New Transition



Mike Phillips

This library item is related to the following area(s) of work:

Process Improvement

This article was originally published in News at SEI on: January 1, 2007

This is one of those challenging periods in which we make the transition from one version of CMMI to the next and work on new variants to expand CMMI coverage. In this column, I'll cover each element of the CMMI Product Suite, including the models, the appraisal method, and the training elements across the product lifecycle as we phase out Version 1.1, phase in Version 1.2, and prepare products for release in 2007.

First, the Models...

We are phasing out... CMMI-SE/SW/IPPD/SS, V1.1, and its eight model variations. The models have been in use since 2002. The sunset of the model, as defined by the last acceptable appraisal, is scheduled for the end of August 2007. By that time, we expect that approximately 60,000 people will have been trained around the world and about 2,000 appraisals will have been conducted.

We are phasing in... CMMI for Development (CMMI-DEV), V1.2, a single book with an embedded model variant for IPPD. Minor distinctions that characterize the two appraisal options (staged or continuous) are included in the same book. Complexity has been reduced, but some new features have been added. A second edition of the CMMI book, CMMI: Guidelines for Process Integration and Product Improvement, 2nd Edition, published by Addison-Wesley, is available; it includes new features (e.g., hints and tips) not found in the earlier version. The elimination of legacy approaches from source models and the restructuring of IPPD practices have saved about 15% in model size.

We are developing... two new focus areas for CMMI process improvement. An architectural improvement early in the V1.2 development has allowed consideration of these new areas. Both areas are closely related to the development lifecycle. One area includes acquisition processes during development and the other area includes service delivery processes after development is complete. In progress now for release in 2007 are a constellation for acquisition and another for services. Each maintains at least 75% commonality with the development constellation to ease training and appraisals. All of the common elements of these new constellations will be marked to show the full reuse of best practices for project management, process management, and support.

CMMI for Acquisition (CMMI-ACQ) is already available in an initial draft form on the SEI Web site, and piloting has shown some areas that can be improved before the planned release this spring. Work has also begun on a CMMI constellation for service delivery, (CMMI-SVC). Process areas focused on service delivery activities have been initially drafted and will be scheduled for piloting and refinement after the release of CMMI-ACQ.

The expansion of the scope of CMMI has suggested the need for other documents. A master glossary, for example, may be a useful compilation of key terms from the growing number of constellations along with those critical to understanding the SCAMPISM appraisal method. It may also prove useful to publish separately the process improvement foundation material that we are calling the CMMI Model Foundation (CMF), which consists of the model elements common to all CMMI constellations.

Second, Appraisals...

We are phasing out... appraisals based on the use of the SCAMPI V1.1 Method Definition Document and its associated training. This document and training can continue to be used through August 2007 to give sufficient time for current lead appraisers to receive upgrade training and pass an upgrade test. Appraisers can use either Version 1.1 or 1.2 of the model, as determined in appraisal planning with the organization. The result will be characterized in the SEI database as a V1.1 appraisal. The appraisal results will have the same three-year lifetime associated with V1.2. The modifications to the Appraisal Disclosure Statement that resulted from the V1.2 revision and the use of the new SCAMPI Appraisal System for reporting appraisals are both available for either version during the transition period.

We are phasing in... the SCAMPI V1.2 Method Definition Document and its associated training. While the changes to the Method Definition Document are primarily clarifications of elements of the method, these changes are designed to increase confidence in appraisal results. The changes to SCAMPI V1.2 are at least as significant as the model revisions. One of these changes is the need to sample appraisal input from across different projects so that institutionalization across the appraised organizational unit can be assured.

The greater appraisal-related changes relate to authorized lead appraisers. Lead appraisers have at least two and possibly three steps for V1.2 qualification. The first two steps are required for all lead appraisers: (1) attend one of the face-to-face meetings held with the CMMI Appraisal Team at conferences or other locations to assure understanding of the Code of Conduct and expectations for appraisals, and (2) pass a test on the changes and on key areas of concern. Both of these requirements must be met before current V1.1 lead appraisers can conduct a V1.2 SCAMPI appraisal. A third requirement applies to lead appraisers who conduct high-maturity appraisals--those appraisals addressing either maturity or capability levels 4 and 5. Lead appraisers wishing to lead these types of appraisals must also pass an oral exam administered by examiners familiar with the necessary elements of high maturity in organizations. The oral exam enables the SEI to provide an interim certification, but has confirmed the need for a full certification approach for lead appraisers in the future.

We are developing... We are beginning our planned work on a Lead Appraiser Body of Knowledge that will be the basis for continuously improving the competency of those who are lead appraisers for CMMI products. By October, we plan to have a full certification program in place to replace the interim approach we have today. While the interim approach focuses on high maturity, future certification will apply to all lead appraisers and therefore all aspects of appraisals, not simply the high-maturity elements.

Finally, Training...

We are phasing out... Version 1.1 training courses. A sufficient number of instructors have become qualified to assure that all courses delivered in 2007 and beyond can be V1.2 courses. These new courses reflect the reduction of the model by three process areas, so the courses now more effectively use their allotted time. Explanations about common features and advanced practices are no longer necessary. However, these improvements do create a difference between V1.1 and V1.2 training that must be addressed during the transition period, because some organizations train their appraisal team members immediately before the appraisal. So those organizations performing V1.1 appraisals through August must provide these team members with material that was in V1.1 but not in V1.2. We are working with these organizations to address this transition-specific issue.

We are phasing in... Version 1.2 training courses. Most of the authorized instructors have completed the upgrade, and our Partners have not indicated any difficulties with the transition thus far. With V1.2, we will allow use of either the SEI technical report or the recently released Addison-Wesley textbook. Each choice has its proponents, so we will leave the choice to the Partner delivering the course.

Our experience using Internet-based training courses for transition has built confidence in greater use of these tools in the future. We expect use of the Internet-based CMMI Upgrade course by instructors and lead appraisers will end this summer. We will, however, continue to offer the upgrade course for appraisal team members since we need to assure that experienced V1.1 appraisal team members can be easily upgraded to V1.2 team members without having to retake the Introduction to CMMI course.

We also have converted the Intermediate Concepts of CMMI course and the Instructor Training course to V1.2 capability so that all future candidates can teach the V1.2 material.

We are developing... a strategy for teaching future CMMI courses most effectively. The creation of two new constellations that have significant commonality with CMMI-DEV is causing us to carefully consider the best strategies for providing CMMI courses in the future. Our current thinking is that initially the new constellations will consist of modules that build on those of the existing CMMI-DEV course. However, over time we feel that a restructuring of the existing Introduction to CMMI course material may allow a more tailored approach, substituting modules for development, acquisition, or services as necessary. Final determination of the most effective approach awaits better definition of the two new constellations.


The transition to V1.2 was more challenging because of the significant increase in users and Partners since the transition from V1.0 to V1.1. Version 1.2 includes a number of improvements across the product suite to make this process-improvement tool more useful and to improve confidence in the results of CMMI-based process improvement. Transition periods always present both known and unexpected challenges. We appreciate how well our Partners and the community of CMMI users have helped us make the transition as rapid and effective as possible.

About the Author

As the director of special projects at the Software Engineering Institute, Mike Phillips leads the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) project for the SEI. He was previously responsible for transition-enabling activities at the SEI. Prior to his retirement as a colonel from the Air Force, he managed the $36B development program for the B-2 in the B-2 SPO and commanded the 4950th Test Wing at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. In addition to his bachelor’s degree in astronautical engineering from the U.S. Air Force Academy, Phillips has master’s degrees in nuclear engineering from Georgia Tech, in systems management from the University of Southern California, and in international affairs from Salve Regina College and the Naval War College.

Please note that current and future CMMI research, training, and information has been transitioned to the CMMI Institute, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Carnegie Mellon University.

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