Much has already been written on CMMI and how to use it as a model for process improvement. Relatively little, in comparison, has been written on strategies for how to achieve business value from CMMI. CMMI is an investment – implementation strategies can influence whether that investment is simply an added cost of doing business, or whether it translates into improved business performance and cost efficiencies. It is this equation, the "Economics of CMMI," which is sometimes overlooked by CMMI adopters, especially those motivated by external rather than internal influences. It is the alignment with performance objectives and relentless pursuit of business value that will help companies get the most from their CMMI investments.
The CMMI Working Group, sponsored by the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) Systems Engineering Division and comprised of recognized CMMI experts representing many companies in the defense and commercial industries, has seen and experienced numerous examples of both effective and ineffective implementations of CMMI – even within our own companies. This paper provides practical guidance for CMMI adopters in the effective use of CMMI, based upon established NDIA principles.