Self Assessment and the CMMI-AM

A Guide for Government Program Managers



Use of capability maturity models has become commonplace among software development organizations, especially defense contractors. Government program offices, however, have lagged behind contractors in implementing their own process improvement programs. The difference in relative maturity between program offices and contractors sometimes makes it difficult for program offices to gauge the state of their programs. In 2004, the Office of the Secretary of Defense announced the creation of the CMMIR Acquisition Module (CMMI-AM), Version 1.0. The module aids program offices in developing a level of parity with their suppliers in terms of process maturity. Version 1.1, released in 2005, is an incremental refinement.

The first step in any process improvement endeavor is to determine the baseline state. A program office can undergo an external appraisal, but that is not a cost-effective solution for an organization that is still a novice in process improvement. For organizations with little process improvement experience, a better choice is to begin with a self-assessment.

This guide provides program managers with general information about the CMMI-AM, details about the self-assessment technique, and the questions used in a self-assessment. After reading this guide, program managers can evaluate whether a self-assessment fits their needs, and if so, conduct one.