HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Meeting and exceeding standards for software development helped the 309th Software Maintenance Group and 516th Software Maintenance Squadron achieve a Capability Maturity Model Integration v1.3, Level 5 rating on March 26.
The CMMI v1.3, Level 5 rating is the highest possible rating level designated by the CMMI Institute, which was developed by the Software Engineering Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Department of Defense and operated by Carnegie Mellon University.
CMMI is a model of best practices that helps organizations produce high-quality software products at or below costs, while also being on or ahead of schedule. The 309th SMXG has adopted the practices of the CMMI Model, and its earlier version, CMM, since 1993. In 1998, the group was the first in the federal government to achieve CMM Level 5 and has upgraded and improved its processes with each new version of the model.
The current version included changes focused on statistical and quantitative techniques to manage the tactical, strategic and operational performance of the organization, known as “high maturity” (CMMI levels 4 and 5). The appraisal team looks closely at maturity levels 4 and 5 together as the set of practices organizations incorporate enabling them to become high-performance operations.
Beginning on March 5 and ending between March 23-26, the appraisal team followed a rigorous and defined appraisal process starting with an examination of over 700 pieces of evidence and interviews. All practices in the model were reviewed, including Project Management, Engineering, Support, and Process Management.
The appraisal team found no weaknesses, but provided a few areas for improvement. In addition, several strength areas were highlighted.
“I’ve never seen an organization that was better prepared — you are a topnotch group,” said Rick Hefner, an external appraiser who led the seven-member appraisal team that examined the 516th and the organizational processes.
“I am extremely happy with the 309th SMXG process improvement efforts. It is a real tribute to our team to achieve 100 percent green across all elements with no identified weaknesses. This is just the beginning and will translate to improved software quality, lower cost and better schedule predictability across our products,” stated Karl Rogers, group director.
During the appraisal out-brief, the SMXG displayed a slogan which read, “CMMI is the AFSC Way!”
This is more than a slogan, however, because the best practices of CMMI align perfectly with the AFSC Way. And to that end, SMXG leaders use CMMI and the AFSC Way in parallel.