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SEI capability maturity model's impact on contractors

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2 Author(s)
Saiedian, H. ; Dept. of Comput. Sci., Nebraska Univ., Omaha, NE, USA ; Kuzara, R.

The Software Engineering Institute's Capability Maturity Model measures software development companies' ability to produce quality software within budget and on schedule. The CMM rates software development companies and government agencies at one of five maturity levels. Two key features are assessments and evaluations. Assessments represent a company's or government agency's voluntary, internal efforts to identify its current CMM maturity level and areas needing improvement. Evaluations represent an independent assessor's examination of a company's maturity level. Industry responses to the model vary. Some companies have reported that savings significantly offset the costs of achieving and maintaining a maturity level. Others have attacked the CMM on many fronts, such as its failure to incorporate Total Quality Management principles. Nevertheless, either enthusiastically or reluctantly companies are attempting to achieve higher CMM levels. The authors present both favorable and unfavorable reactions to the model as well as insight gained through discussions with various companies. They conclude that since no approach that enforces improvements will be universally acceptable in all aspects to all concerned, the CMM, on balance, can be considered a very successful model, particularly when combined with TQM principles. There may be uncertainty as to whether the costs of attaining and maintaining a CMM level will be recouped through reduced software production costs and more efficient software engineering practices (as published studies report). But with continued strong DoD sponsorship, there will likely be an increasing number of companies that base their software process improvement efforts on the CMM

Published in:

Computer  (Volume:28 ,  Issue: 1 )