CMMI: A Business Differentiator

Maj. Gen. Paul Capasso USAF (Ret.)
July 1, 2020 • 3 min read

In a world of constant change, maintaining business relevancy is becoming more challenging for many organizations. To be successful in today’s environment, one must adapt or face extinction. According to the CMMI Institute, “nearly half of the organizations surveyed do not have standard processes in place that enable them to adapt quickly.”

The Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) is “an integrated set of best practices that enables businesses to improve performance of their key business processes.” Initially known as Capability Maturity Model (CMM), it was established out of a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) in the mid-1980’s to create a model for the government to assess contractors’ maturity to implement software projects.

Today, CMMI provides a roadmap that allows organizations to assess their current level of capability to meet the needs of their customers and to improve performance where shortfalls exist. According to Heather Agee, Telos’ director of program management for COD Secure Networks Business Unit, “The Core Solutions organization at Telos has fully embraced the CMMI framework. Because CMMI is not a ’one-size-fits all’ model, we see great benefits to the organization in elevating performance, improving quality, decreasing costs, maintaining business stability and more importantly, satisfying the needs of our customers.” CMMI allows organizations to evolve at the “speed of must” to be viable and relevant.

In order to obtain a CMMI certification, a third-party appraiser must validate that an organizations’ processes are well-defined, understood, and embedded into their standards, processes, training, tools, and daily operations. It’s a very rigorous process that organizations go through, including extensive training for personnel, and process development and implementation that requires documentation and maintaining a body of evidence for ongoing process assurance. (In some ways, it’s very much like the work that goes into achieving an ATO.)

Telos was first appraised at CMMI Level 3 in February 2018, a designation of maturity that Brendan Malloy, Telos’ senior vice president and general manager of Cyber Operations and Defense, called “a competitive differentiator” that’s “consistent with Telos’ culture of continuous improvement and commitment to excellence.” This original appraisal was based on CMMI Model Version 1.3. By spring of 2021, Telos will complete re-appraisal using the latest CMMI Model, Version 2.0.

Telos is currently appraised (and now working on being re-appraised) for the CMMI Development (DEV) designation, one of the three CMMI models, which is used to improve product development processes.  According to CMMI, this model “contains practices that cover project management, process management, systems engineering, hardware engineering, software engineering, and other supporting processes used in development and maintenance.”

That’s significant, given the business we’re in. In a competitive environment where market demands, technology trends, and business models are always changing, customers demand more. The CMMI DEV appraisal is a recognized high standard and differentiator that gives our customers the confidence and assurance of our commitment to quality development.

Maj. Gen. Paul Capasso USAF (Ret.)
Vice President of Strategic Programs
Maj. Gen. Paul Capasso (Ret.) is the vice president of strategic programs at Telos Corporation.
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