Monday, September 08, 2008

Green Hills Software Achieves CMMI Maturity Level 3 Rating

What Happened?

In case you missed the announcement, on August 19, Green Hills Software announced that it had been appraised to the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) Maturity Level 3 rating.

CMMI is the follow on to the Capability Maturity Model or CMM from the Software Engineering Institute (SEI), Carnegie Mellon University.

Readers should also note that Wind River Systems announced in January 2007 that the company had achieved CMMI Level 3 rating for their professional services organization.

VDC’s View

These are the type of announcements that might fly below our radars. It’s not about a software or hardware product announcement, or an acquisition of a company. It’s speaks more to process improvement, in Green Hills case for CMMI-DEV for product and service development processes.

Why should this be important to readers? Well, consider that silicon based devices contain significant amounts of software, and by VDC’s analysis, it’s growing in importance. CMMI is an approach to provide companies with published best practices to process improvement.

Before joining VDC’s Embedded Software Practice as the Director, I worked for many years for a large defense contractor involved in C3I programs. I had the opportunity to be involved in a number of defense related programs as a prime, subcontractor, and as a member of industry. In some of these programs software design, development, and integration caused cost overruns, late deliverables, and quality issues.

As a result, government acquisition offices began to mandate CMM/CMMI as a requirement for prime contractors to participate in the opportunity. CMMI is certainly no guaranty on the success or failure of a contractor but another way to be able to measure and evaluate as part of an integrated acquisition decision to award. So, the timing could be right for companies like Wind River Systems and Green Hills Software that have a significant presence and investment in large, complex military/aerospace systems.

While there is no indication that prime contractors have passed down the requirement of CMMI to subcontractors in order to partner, it could make sense that this might happen in the future. Having a CMMI rating can be viewed as a discriminator for selection by defense prime contractors for product design in and professional services. If we believe that software is everywhere then it begs the bigger question of how long will it be before other industries such as automotive, industrial control and others look to their software partners to have a CMMI approved rating?