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5 Future Directions of the CMM

   Achieving higher levels of software process maturity is incremental and requires a long-term commitment to continuous process improvement. Software organizations may take ten years or more to build the foundation for, and a culture oriented toward, continuous process improvement. Although a decade-long process improvement program is foreign to most U.S. companies, this level of effort is required to produce mature software organizations. This time frame is consistent with experience from other industries, such as the U.S. automotive industry, that have achieved significant gains in process maturity [Gabor90].

5.1 What the CMM Does Not Cover

   The CMM is not a silver bullet [Brooks87] and does not address all of the issues that are important for successful projects. For example, the CMM does not currently address expertise in particular application domains, advocate specific software technologies, or suggest how to select, hire, motivate, and retain competent people. Although these issues are crucial to a project's success, some of these issues have been analyzed in other contexts [Curtis90]. They have not, however, been integrated into the CMM. The CMM was specifically developed to provide an orderly, disciplined framework within which to address software management and engineering process issues.

5.2 Near-Term Activities

   Tutorials and courses on the CMM are being presented at major conferences and seminars throughout the United States to ensure that the software industry has adequate awareness of the CMM and its associated products. CMM-based tools (e.g., the maturity questionnaire), software process assessment training, and software capability evaluation training are being developed and/or revised to incorporate the CMM.

   The near-term focus on CMM development activities will be oriented towards tailored versions of the CMM, such as a CMM for small projects and/or small organizations. CMM v1.1 is expressed in terms of the normative practices of large, government contracting organizations, and these practices must be tailored to the needs of organizations that differ from this template.

5.3 Long-Term Activities

   During the next few years, the CMM will continue to undergo extensive testing through use in software process assessments and software capability evaluations. CMM-based products and training materials will be developed and revised as appropriate. The CMM is a living document that will be improved, but it is anticipated that CMM v1.1 will remain the baseline until at least 1996. This provides an appropriate and realistic balance between the needs for stability and for continued improvement.

   For the next version of the CMM, Version 2, the SEI will turn its attention to improving the overall model. While all levels of the model may be revised, the emphasis will be on Levels 4 and 5. Currently the key process areas for Levels 2 and 3 have been the most completely defined. Since few organizations have been assessed to be at Levels 4 or 5 [Humphrey91a, Kitson92], less is known about the characteristics of such organizations. The practices for these two levels will be refined as the SEI works closely with organizations that are striving to understand and achieve Levels 4 and 5. The CMM may also become multi-dimensional to address technology and human resource issues.

   The SEI is also working with the International Standards Organization (ISO) in its efforts to build international standards for software process assessment, improvement, and capability evaluation. The development of the ISO standards will influence CMM v2, even as the SEI's process work will influence the activities of the ISO.

5.4 Conclusion

   Continuous improvement applies to the maturity model and practices, just as it does to the software process. The potential impact of changes to the CMM on the software community will be carefully considered, but the CMM, the maturity questionnaire, and the software process assessment and software capability evaluation methods will continue to evolve as experience is gained with improving the software process. The SEI intends to work closely with industry, government, and academia in continuing this evolution.

   The CMM provides a conceptual structure for improving the management and development of software products in a disciplined and consistent way. It does not guarantee that software products will be successfully built or that all problems in software engineering will be adequately resolved. The CMM identifies practices for a mature software process and provides examples of the state-of-the-practice (and in some cases, the state-of-the-art), but it is not meant to be either exhaustive or dictatorial. The CMM identifies the characteristics of an effective software process, but the mature organization addresses all issues essential to a successful project, including people and technology, as well as process.


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