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Software capability evaluations (SCEs) were the prototype for what's now the standard CMMI appraisal method for process improvement. SCEs used 85 yes/no questions to determine organizations' maturity levels. This was an astonishingly sparse data set from which to assign a label that could bar an organization from bidding on federal contracts. CMMI is our current best answer for what are the set of necessary, but not sufficient, constraints we need to impose for the truly important software systems. We know we can usefully employ certain carefully selected manufacturing-based concepts, as well as well-established software measures. CMMI thus isn't in opposition to effective use of creativity in a project. Instead, it's a collection of reasonable practices that enable and encourage closer attention to the less quantifiable aspects of project success that require much more than just process adherence.
Date of Publication: Sept.-Oct. 2009