23 May, 2007

ITIL and CMMI synergies

CMMI has been developed by the Carnegie Mellon University – Software Engineering Institute. It consists of best practices that address the development and maintenance of products and services covering the product life cycle from conception through delivery and maintenance.

A product can be an airplane, a digital camera, a drug or a software package available from a commercial retailer. It can also be a Service such as those defined into IT Service Management. CMMI integrates bodies of knowledge that are essential when developing products, but that have been addressed separately in the past, such as software engineering, systems engineering, and acquisition.

- Emphasizes the development of processes to improve product development and customer services in organizations.
- Provides a framework from which to organize and prioritize process improvement activities (product, business, people, technology)
- Supports the coordination of multi-disciplined activities that may be required to successfully build a product
- Emphasizes the alignment of process improvement efforts objectives with organizational business objectives

A CCMI model is not a process but describes the characteristics of effective processes. CCMI models should be used in conjunction with a company’s IT processes found in Service Management (ITIL), COBIT, Project Management (SDLC/Prince 2), Enterprise Architecture (TOGAF), Quality (ISO 9000), Security Management (ISO 27001). CMMi allows companies to assess their practices and compare them to those of other companies. The CMMi measures process maturity, progresses through five levels: Level 1 (initial), 2 (managed), 3 (defined), 4 (predictable) and 5 (optimizing).

CMMi is an important component of an IT Governance framework and has to be considered as a project.

Implementing CMMI and ITIL improves the Software Development Process and Software Quality and reduces the Cost Of Quality (COQ). In addition is time to market reduced and precision in estimation of effort and cost enhanced.

ITIL can combine with CMMI to cover all of IT, but doesn't address the development of quality management systems. Also it is not geared to software development processes and its use is highly dependent on interpretation. While CMMi is the de facto quality standard for software development processes, ITIL for many is the tool of choice for the operations and infrastructure side of IT, particularly for IT Services.

ITIL and CMMI best apply to different parts of the IT organization:

- Use CMMI in application development
- Use CMMI in ICT Infrastructure projects
- Use ITIL in IT operations and services

CMMi is very detailed. It is geared specifically to software development organizations, and focuses on continuous improvement, not just on maintaining a certification. It also can be used for self-assessment.

However it doesn't address IT operations issues, such as security, change and configuration management, capacity planning, troubleshooting and service desk functions. This is why ITIL is used. CMMi sets goals, but doesn't say how to meet them. (For example, CMMI says to do requirements analysis but doesn't say how to do requirements analysis.) This is why we would use a Project Management methodology.
Important observations

The focus for CMMi is software development, integration, deployment and maintenance, while the focus for ITIL is service management/operations. In reviewing, the touch points between the two , the amount of duplication is small in comparison to the number of interfaces and touch
points. This suggests the need for:

- strongly synchronized work efforts
- clear definition of interfaces, roles, and responsibilities
- participation from both efforts at a level appropriate to the density of the touch points (e.g., joint process action team membership, subject matter expert guidance, and/or process reviewer)
- By identifying the touch points between the groups, and promoting best practices using the CMMI and ITIL in their respective areas, the organization can leverage expertise and experience from within and from without .
- The most significant touch point should be documented in the area of Configuration and Change Management. There is no contradiction between the two models (CMMI and ITIL), so the teams should develop a unified process (‘the what’), with targeted procedures (‘the how’).
- In CMMI, the Process Areas are ordered along a Maturity Model with maturity levels. The ITIL processes are ordered in sets.


Antonio Valle said...

Hi Serge,
a few comments about your post: I agree on the benefits of integrating both CMMI-DEV and ITIL.
What I really liked about CMMI is the approach on "Process Areas" instead of processes. This lets each company organize its way to do thing in their own cultural way, and CMMI just recommends "what should be covered by your processes".

Other aspect really interesting is the recently presented CMMI-SVC (CMMI for Services) model. That means an important step from CMMI to go to the ITSM arena, with Service Definition, change and configuration and all the ITIL processes coveren in different Process Areas.

I specially like the maturity and progressive approach that CMMI proposed because it is not as monolythic as ITIL and ISO 20k


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