Capability Maturity Model

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The Capability Maturity Model (CMM) is a service mark owned by Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and refers to a development model elicited from actual data. The data was collected from organizations that contracted with the U.S. Department of Defense, who funded the research, and became the foundation from which CMU created the Software Engineering Institute (SEI). Like any model, it is an abstraction of an existing system.

When it is applied to an existing organization's software development processes, it allows an effective approach toward improving them. Eventually it became clear that the model could be applied to other processes. This gave rise to a more general concept that is applied to business processes and to developing people.



The Capability Maturity Model (CMM) was originally developed as a tool for objectively assessing the ability of government contractors' processes to perform a contracted software project. The CMM is based on the process maturity framework first described in the 1989 book Managing the Software Process by Watts Humphrey. It was later published in a report in 1993 (Technical Report CMU/SEI-93-TR-024 ESC-TR-93-177 February 1993, Capability Maturity Model SM for Software, Version 1.1) and as a book by the same authors in 1995.

Though the CMM comes from the field of software development, it is used as a general model to aid in improving organizational business processes in diverse areas; for example in software engineering, system engineering, project management, software maintenance, risk management, system acquisition, information technology (IT), services, business processes generally, and human capital management. The CMM has been used extensively worldwide in government offices, commerce, industry and software development organizations.


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