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What's the role in CMM Level in Testing? What's the diff b/w 5 levels? which level most commonly used in testing?

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What's the role in CMM Level in Testing?
What's the diff b/w 5 levels?
which level most commonly used in testing?

SEI = 'Software Engineering Institute' at Carnegie-Mellon University; initiated by the U.S. Defense Department to help improve software development processes.
CMM = 'Capability Maturity Model', now called the CMMI ('Capability Maturity Model Integration'), developed by the SEI. It's a model of 5 levels of process 'maturity' that determine effectiveness in delivering quality software. It is geared to large organizations such as large U.S. Defense Department contractors. However, many of the QA processes involved are appropriate to any organization, and if reasonably applied can be helpful. Organizations can receive CMMI ratings by undergoing assessments by qualified auditors.
Level 1 - characterized by chaos, periodic panics, and heroic efforts required by individuals to successfully complete projects. Few if any processes in place; successes may not be repeatable.
Level 2 - software project tracking, requirements management, realistic planning, and configuration management processes are in place; successful practices can be repeated.
Level 3 - standard software development and maintenance processes are integrated throughout an organization; a Software Engineering Process Group is is in place to oversee software processes, and training programs are used to ensure understanding and compliance.
Level 4 - metrics are used to track productivity, processes, and products. Project performance is predictable, and quality is consistently high.
Level 5 - the focus is on continouous process improvement. The impact of new processes and technologies can be predicted and effectively implemented when required. Perspective on CMM ratings: During 1997-2001, 1018 organizations were assessed. Of those, 27% were rated at Level 1, 39% at 2,23% at 3, 6% at 4, and 5% at 5. (For ratings during the period 1992-96, 62% were at Level 1, 23% at 2, 13% at 3, 2% at 4, and 0.4% at 5.) The median size of organizations was 100 software engineering/maintenance personnel; 32% of organizations were U.S. federal contractors or agencies. For those rated at Level 1, the most problematical key process area was in Software Quality Assurance.

The whole essence of CMM or CMMI is to produce quality software. It targets the whole organizational practices (or processes), which are believed to be the best across industries. For further understanding of SEI CMMI visit
What is the role of CMMI Level in Testing?
Please understand that Testing is just part or subset of CMMI. Testing is addressed on a particular Process Area. If my memory serves me correct, it is the VER or Verification process area and sometimes addressed also in VAL or the Validation process area. It could also be the other way around.
Each Process Area has its own level to be driven to the level 5. This is true for the Continuous Representation of CMMI version 1.1. I am not sure about the Staged Representaiton of the same version. Please refer to the website above for more details.
What is the difference between the levels of CMMI?
This was already answered in the same thread by Priya. I would like to add that there is an additional level for the Continuous Representation which is called Level 0 (zero) --> Incomplete.
Which level is most commonly used in Testing?
I would say all levels would deal with testing. But again this is true for VAL and VER Process Areas.
For further readings, try searching google using CMMI+tutorials or Testing+CMMI. Most of the documents about CMMI are free and available on the Web.

Level 1. Initial The organization is characterized by an ad hoc set of activities. The processes aren't defined and success depends on individual effort and heroics.
Level 2. Repeatable At this level, basic project management processes are established to track costs, to schedule, and to define functionality. The discipline is available to repeat earlier successes on similar projects.
Level 3. Defined All processes are documented for both management and engineering activities, and standards are defined.
Level 4. Managed Detailed measures of each process are defined and product quality data is routinely collected. Both process and products are quantitatively understood and controlled.
Level 5. Optimizing Continuous process improvement is enabled by quantitative feedback from the process and from piloting innovative ideas and technologies.
There are 3 popular ISO standards that are commonly used for SW projects. They are 12270, 15540, and 9001 (subset or 9000). I hope I got the numbers correct. For CMM, the latest version is 1.1, however, it is already considered a legacy standard which is to be replaced by CMMI, the latest version is 1.1. For further information re CMM/I,

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