CMMI versus ISO 9001

The 2Q07 issue of the TickIT software quality journal includes the final article of a three part series exploring the relationship between ISO 9001:2000 and CMMI in terms of the benefits gained by undertaking combined surveillance audits.

The first article explained that a good mapping between ISO 9001 and CMMI would be essential for the combined surveillance audits to work effectively. The first two articles developed this mapping from an ISO 9001 perspective, that is, would an organization with CMMI level 3 satisfy the requirements of ISO 9001.

In the final article, the mapping is examined from the perspective of CMMI, i.e., would an organization with ISO 9001 (and TickIT) satisfy the requirement of CMMI level 3.

The author concludes that an organization with CMMI level 3 would stand a reasonably good chance of satisfying the requirements of ISO 9001:2000. However, the converse would not be as easy to say. There is a greatly increased reliance on exactly how an organization implements the requirements of ISO 9001 which will bear on its ability to satisfy CMMI under a SCAMPI appraisal.

While the two models are very similar, the differences noted in the 2Q07 article may result from their origins and on what is perceived as their goals, or maybe at the way they aim to achieve their goals – that is, driven by customer satisfaction back into processes or driven by processes to give customer satisfaction.

However, there is some evidence to suggest that organizations with ISO 9001 experience find it somewhat easier to undertake a CMMI-based improvement program and associated appraisal. This probably has little to do with the mapping, but more to do with the cultural understanding of the need for documents, records, processes and procedures, management commitment, involvement, and reviews.

CMMI is very prescriptive and will invariably provide coverage of ISO 9001:2000 requirements; but ISO 9001 being very high-level and generic cannot be assured of covering all the specific requirements of CMMI.

You can see the full article and color-coded mapping at the TickIT web site. Click onIntroduction to CMMI v1.2 to see our schedule of SEI-licensed classes in Springfield, VA.