Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University
Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University

Accelerated Improvement Method (AIM)

Get What You Need From Process Improvement

To thrive in today's economy, organizations need high-performance software engineering practices that reduce costs and improve productivity. The challenge is to implement practices leading to consistent, cost effective performance while demonstrating rapid benefits and payback.

Implementing the Accelerated Improvement Method (AIM) combines CMMI, TSP, and Six Sigma measurement and analysis techniques and improvement methods to enable superior implementations. Each component in AIM has proven to help organizations reduce costs and improve quality and schedule predictability. Early pilots have shown that organizations implementing these components together achieve accelerated and predictable process improvement and are better able to sustain cost and quality improvements over time.

Payoff for New and Ongoing Projects

With the AIM approach, members of software development projects learn to work in self-managed teams using highly efficient, cost-saving techniques. At the same time, teams create the artifacts needed to succeed in CMMI maturity appraisals and to demonstrate process capability, often needed to land lucrative contracts.

For new projects, AIM provides a way to quickly convene high performing teams that are productive and cost effective from the start. For projects already underway, AIM augments a team’s efforts, helping them get maximum performance and quality.

The Approach

Project team benefits
At the project level, staff members learn and follow the Team Software Process to develop software and systems better, faster, and smarter. Engineers collect data about how they work and use that data to monitor quality. Project members pool their individual data to manage the project team and create accurate schedules. Six Sigma and other analysis techniques are applied to project data to help managers understand where the project stands at all times and implement improvements. Information is rolled up so supervisors can track project status up to the day, coordinate with other projects, use improvement methods to intervene as needed, and plan future work. Because it’s focused at the project level, AIM can benefit small organizations as well as large.

Organizational benefits
As engineers develop high-quality software, they also create the precise artifacts needed for the Standard CMMI Appraisal method for Process Improvement (SCAMPI)—the appraisal method used to determine an organization’s maturity level. Organization can then avoid the time-consuming task of searching for and collecting CMMI-compliant artifacts and preparing for appraisals. Also, engineers won’t require CMMI training: using the AIM approach they will already be following CMMI practices.

Getting Started with AIM

If you are interested in working with the SEI on an AIM implementation, contact Jay Douglass (, 412-268-6834) or Dave Scherb (, 412-268-3946).