CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration) is a collection of best practices that helps organizations improve their processes. It was initially developed by a product team from Industry, U.S. government and the Software Engineering Institute for application to process improvement in the development of products and services covering the entire product life cycle from conceptualization through maintenance and disposal. Following the success of CMMI models for development organizations, the need was identified for a CMMI model addressing the acquisition environment. This need was reinforced and gained further attention due to similar needs expressed by General Motors (GM), which acquires information technology (IT) solutions. Aligned with GM's strategy, GM projects or programs develop requirements and design constraints and oversee multiple suppliers that develop IT solutions and then deploy the resulting products and services into one or more of GM's business units. This approach parallels the acquisition processes used in many government organizations.
General Motors, in collaboration with the SEI and with approval of the CMMI Sponsors and Steering Group, sponsored the development of an initial draft CMMI for Acquisition (CMMI-ACQ) constellation, which will lead to a CMMI-based acquisition model formally accepted by both government and industry after piloting of the initial draft CMMI-ACQ has been completed. This draft is based on the CMMI Version 1.2 architecture and framework which incorporates the concept of constellations, which are groupings of components to support a specific model application such as Development (DEV) or Acquisition (ACQ).