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A single model for process improvement

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The FAA has spent many years evaluating and combining models and methods to establish and monitor IT process improvement. In 1997, it released the integrated Capability Maturity Model (iCMM), which blended three of the Capability Maturity Models - software, systems engineering, and software acquisition - developed by Carnegie Mellon University's Software Engineering Institute. iCMM version 2, released in 2001, updated and expanded version 1's set of engineering disciplines to better accommodate the IT processes associated with the agency's air-traffic-control business, as well as IT system deployment, transition, operation, maintenance, and retirement. It also included some processes that govern IT, such as leadership, strategic planning, and investment decision-making. With this breadth of coverage, we believe the iCMM is the most comprehensive model available for improving the performance of an organization that relies on complex IT systems to provide services. The iCMM also has a flexible structure that lets organizations use it to benchmark processes from other process improvement models in terms of either maturity or capability level. Finally, the model offers various appraisal methods so that organizations can understand current practice in relation to iCMM's best practices or measure process performance characteristics. Lessons have come from many years of iCMM application at FAA, and many have broad application to the IT community. Overall, using one model to cover processes that span many disciplines has clear advantages.

Published in:

IT Professional  (Volume:6 ,  Issue: 3 )