Government Insights Advises Government Agencies to Avoid Ratings Pitfalls ; Select Suppliers Committed to Maturity vs. A Stamp of Approval

FALLS CHURCH, VA – AUGUST 29, 2007 – A report released by Government Insights, an IDC Company, provides a perspective on the use of Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) ratings in government procurement, and advises understanding the pitfalls associated with interpreting maturity model ratings. The report includes comment from Mark Schaeffer and Kristin Baldwin of the U.S. Office of the Undersecretary of Defense (OUSD) regarding the recent release of the Software Engineering Institute's (SEI) Understanding and Leveraging a Supplier's CMMI Efforts: A Guidebook for Acquirers.

"CMMI and other ratings must be interpreted with care," says Jenny Whitmer, senior analyst at Government Insights. "Often suppliers are chasing CMMI ratings as a stamp of approval instead of being committed to continuous process improvement, which is the intent of CMMI." This perspective notes that changing attitudes and perceptions of maturity model ratings will take time and effort, but both CMMI sponsors, SEI and DoD, have taken steps to change ratings perceptions with the release of the guidebook. Improvement of the models – by requiring ratings to be periodically renewed and selecting a cross section of projects versus exemplary projects to rate – are designed to limit the "stamp of approval" uses of capability maturity model ratings and support improvement-focused implementations.

Whitmer adds, "Sponsors are working to increase awareness of misuse and misinterpretation while updating the models to address issues. The guidebook is intended to counter the trend of an over-burdened acquisition workforce relying on maturity ratings as supplier assessment criteria. We recommend that government contracting personnel and program managers obtain the knowledge to appropriately interpret suppliers' CMMI for Development (CMMI-Dev) ratings."

This report, Capability Maturity Model Integration Guidebook Utility in Government: An Interview (Doc #GI208102), provides recommendations that include use of CMMI feedback mechanisms, incorporating CMMI into organizational processes, and government becoming knowledgeable of the pitfalls of relying on maturity ratings for their selection of a vendor. Government Insights recommends that government familiarize themselves with the recently published SEI guidebook to better inform evaluations. This report is available at .

About Government Insights, an IDC Company

Government Insights, an IDC company, provides government organizations and IT vendors who serve them with research-based advisory and consulting services that enable government executives to maximize the value of their technology investments; minimize technology risk through accurate planning; benchmark themselves against industry peers; adopt industry best practices for organizational/technology alignment; make more informed technology decisions; and drive technology-enabled performance and innovation. Government Insights provides full coverage of the government value chain, with special emphasis on developing and employing strategies that leverage IT investments to maximize organizational performance. Staffed by senior analysts with significant experience in government, Government Insights provides a portfolio of research and advisory services that are relevant to the needs of both the government and IT vendor communities. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research and events company.

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