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CMM vs. CMMI — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on January 20, 2024
CMM (Capability Maturity Model) is a framework for assessing the maturity of an organization's software processes, while CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration) is an enhanced model that integrates multiple business process areas.
CMM vs. CMMI — What's the Difference?

Difference Between CMM and CMMI


Key Differences

The CMM, developed in the late 1980s by the Software Engineering Institute, provides organizations with a model for improving software development processes. It focuses primarily on software development and maintenance. CMMI, introduced in the early 2000s, expands on the CMM by integrating additional aspects like product development and maintenance, service delivery, and procurement.
CMM categorizes the maturity of software development processes into five levels, ranging from initial to optimizing. It helps organizations improve their software development processes in a step-by-step manner. CMMI, on the other hand, offers a more comprehensive approach, covering a broader range of business processes and providing a more integrated path for process improvement across an organization.
CMM is mainly focused on software engineering and project management practices. It has been a foundation for many organizations to develop reliable and effective software processes. CMMI incorporates best practices from CMM but extends these to include other areas like human resource management, decision making, and project support, making it more versatile for various types of organizations.
While CMM has been largely superseded by CMMI in terms of adoption and application, its principles still underpin many aspects of software process improvement. CMMI, being more recent and comprehensive, is preferred by organizations looking for a holistic approach to process improvement, not limited to software development.

Comparison Chart

Focus Area

Software development processes
Integrates multiple business processes

Maturity Levels

Five maturity levels
Includes staged and continuous representations


Mainly software engineering
Broad, covering various business areas


Primarily for software organizations
Suitable for various types of organizations

Adoption and Usage

Superseded by CMMI
More widely adopted and current

Compare with Definitions


A model for assessing and improving software processes.
We used the CMM to evaluate our software development maturity.


An integrated model for process improvement across an organization.
CMMI has helped us streamline both software and service processes.


Focuses on software development and maintenance.
The CMM helped us improve our software maintenance processes.


Expands on CMM by covering a wider range of processes.
With CMMI, we improved not just software development, but also HR practices.


Categorizes process maturity into five levels.
Our organization achieved level 3 on the CMM scale.


More widely adopted due to its comprehensive approach.
Our organization transitioned from CMM to CMMI for a more integrated approach.


Used primarily by software organizations.
As a software company, we adhere to CMM guidelines.


Suitable for various types of organizations.
CMMI is applicable to our manufacturing and software divisions.


A foundation for developing effective software processes.
Implementing CMM principles has enhanced our software quality.


Offers staged and continuous representations.
We chose the continuous representation in CMMI for more flexibility.

Common Curiosities

Are CMM and CMMI compatible?

While they have different scopes, the foundational principles of CMM are compatible with CMMI.

Is CMM still relevant today?

CMM has been largely superseded by CMMI, but its core principles are still relevant in software process improvement.

Is CMMI a replacement for CMM?

Yes, CMMI is an evolution and integration of CMM, addressing a broader scope.

What is the highest maturity level in CMM?

The highest maturity level in CMM is Level 5 - Optimizing.

Can small organizations implement CMMI?

Yes, small organizations can implement CMMI, tailoring it to their specific needs.

Is CMMI certification valuable?

CMMI certification is valuable as it demonstrates a commitment to process improvement and quality.

Are there specific tools for implementing CMM?

There are no specific tools required for CMM; it's more about principles and practices.

Can CMMI be used for non-software processes?

Yes, CMMI is designed for a wide range of business processes, not just software.

How does CMMI improve business processes?

CMMI provides a structured framework for process improvement, enhancing efficiency and quality across various business areas.

Is training required for implementing CMMI?

Training can be beneficial for effectively implementing CMMI in an organization.

Does implementing CMMI guarantee better performance?

While not a guarantee, implementing CMMI often leads to improved performance and efficiency.

Does CMMI focus on project management?

CMMI covers project management but extends to other areas like product development and service delivery.

How does CMMI help in risk management?

CMMI includes practices for identifying, managing, and mitigating risks in business processes.

Can CMMI be applied to Agile methodologies?

Yes, CMMI can be applied to Agile methodologies and can complement Agile practices.

How long does it take to move up a level in CMM?

Moving up a level in CMM can take several months to years, depending on the organization's starting point and effort.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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