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Attaining Level 5 in CMM Process Maturity
November/December 2002 (vol. 19 no. 6)
pp. 87-96

In November 1998, the CSC SEAS Center became the sixth organization in the world ever to have attained the rating of Capability Maturity Model (CMM) CMM Level 5. This achievement was the culmination of an aggressive process improvement initiative which began in mid-1994. The Software Engineering Institute (SEI) CMM (Reference 1) is a worldwide recognized benchmark for software organizations, used to assess the maturity and quality of an organization's software process. The SEAS Center has twice reaffirmed its high maturity performance by independent assessments. Since the start of the focused improvement program in 1994, detailed records of cost, impacts, activities and overall approach have been captured, tracked, and analyzed so that other CSC programs could capitalize on the SEAS efforts and experiences. This paper is a direct result of the collection and analysis of that process experience data.

After a brief overview of the SEAS organization and its aggressive process improvement approach, this paper describes the coordination of improvement initiatives, the role of goals and industry benchmarks, the organizational strategy, and the use of key documents in measuring improvements. Additional discussion covers the investment and benefits of an improvement program. Finally, based on the SEAS experience, the paper presents seven key recommendations for any organization planning to initiate a process improvement program.

Index Terms:
process improvement, SEI CMM, ISO 9001, process measurement
Citation:
Frank McGarry, Bill Decker, "Attaining Level 5 in CMM Process Maturity," IEEE Software, vol. 19, no. 6, pp. 87-96, Nov.-Dec. 2002, doi:10.1109/MS.2002.1049397
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