Capability Maturity Model

Watts S. Humphrey, sometimes called 'the Deming of India', founded the Software Process Program of the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon University. He is a Fellow of the Institute and is a research scientist on its staff. From 1959 to 1986 he was associated with IBM Corporation where he was director of programming quality and process.

His publications include many technical papers and nine books. His most recent books are "Managing the Software Process" (1989), "A Discipline for Software Engineering" (1995), "Managing Technical People" (1996), "Introduction to the Personal Software Process" (1997), and "Introduction to the Team Software Process" (2000).

Mr. Humprhey is the primary author of the software Capability Maturity Model. In 2000, the Watts Humphrey Software Quality Institute was named in his honor in Chennai, India.

Software Engineering Institute:

The Software Engineering Institute (SEI) is a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense and operated by Carnegie Mellon University.

A Summary of the Model:

The following summary of the Capability Maturity Model is from SEI. The link above will take you to the SEI web site and extensive additional information about CMM.

Steps on the CMM ladder.


The Capability Maturity Model for Software describes the principles and practices underlying software process maturity and is intended to help software organizations improve the maturity of their software processes in terms of an evolutionary path from ad hoc, chaotic processes to mature, disciplined software processes. The CMM is organized into five maturity levels:

1) Initial. The software process is characterized as ad hoc, and occasionally even chaotic. Few processes are defined, and success depends on individual effort and heroics.

2) Repeatable. Basic project management processes are established to track cost, schedule, and functionality. The necessary process discipline is in place to repeat earlier successes on projects with similar applications.

3) Defined. The software process for both management and engineering activities is documented, standardized, and integrated into a standard software process for the organization. All projects use an approved, tailored version of the organization's standard software process for developing and maintaining software.

4) Managed. Detailed measures of the software process and product quality are collected. Both the software process and products are quantitatively understood and controlled.

5) Optimizing. Continuous process improvement is enabled by quantitative feedback from the process and from piloting innovative ideas and technologies.