An appraisal can result in a capability level profile across a number of process areas or a maturity level rating for the organization, depending on the model representation used. CMMI-DEV has two representations that are used for appraisals—continuous and staged—that lead to capability level and maturity level ratings, respectively. The staged representation predefines the appraisal structure for each grouping of process areas, while an appraisal using the continuous representation appraises each selected process area independently. Organizations may choose one representation over the other for a variety of reasons, including the current state of ongoing improvement initiatives, the supplier’s historical familiarity with a particular approach, and perceived business needs and objectives.
In general, an organization’s progress in defining and improving its processes is measured using numerical levels of capability or maturity. Higher levels indicate increasing degrees of sophistication and institutionalization of the process improvement efforts in the organization. The continuous representation of CMMI-DEV measures process capability within each process area in an ordered grouping of four capability levels represented by the numbers 0-3. It allows an organization to choose which process areas to appraise based on its business objectives and process improvement goals. An appraisal using the continuous representation consists of a capability level profile showing the capability level achieved within each chosen process area interpreted as follows:
• Capability level 0 indicates that the process is either not performed or only partially performed.
• Capability level 1 indicates that the process is performed to the extent that it meets the goals of the process and produces the necessary products.
• Capability level 2 indicates that the process is managed in accordance with a policy.
• Capability level 3 indicates that the process is tailored from the organization’s set of standard processes.
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