Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI)

Capability Maturity Model® Integration (CMMI) describes a process improvement training and appraisal program and service administered by Carnegie Mellon University. The term "maturity" relates to the degree of formality and optimisation of processes, from ad hoc practices to formally defined steps, followed by managed result metrics, and active optimisation of the processes.

CMMI is a process improvement approach that provides organisations with the essential elements of effective processes. It is used to guide process improvement across projects and organisations. CMMI helps to integrate traditionally separate organisational functions, set process improvement goals and priorities, provide guidance for quality processes, and to provide a point of reference for appraising current processes.

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The maturity of internal controls according to CMMI is defined as:


There is a general unawareness of internal control assurance and the organisation lacks procedures to monitor the effectiveness of internal controls.

Initial/Ad Hoc - Unreliable

Unpredictable environment for which controls have not been designed or implemented.

Repeatable - Informal

Controls are present but inadequately documented and largely dependent on manual intervention. There are no formal communications or training programs related to the controls.

Defined - Standardised

Controls are in place and documented, and employees have received formal communications about them. Undetected deviations from controls may occur.

Managed - Monitored

Standardised controls are in place and undergo periodic testing to evaluate their design and operation; test results are communicated to management. Controls may be supported by limited use of automated tools.


An integrated internal controls framework, with real-time monitoring by management, is in place to implement continuous improvement. Automated processes and tools support the controls and enable the organisation to quickly change the controls as necessary.

Depending on the type of appraisal, the organisation can be awarded a maturity level rating (1-5) or a capability level achievement profile.
Many organisations find value in measuring their progress by conducting an appraisal.

Appraisals are typically conducted for one or more of the following reasons:

  • To determine how well the organisation’s processes compare to CMMI best practices, and to identify areas where improvement can be made;
  • To inform external customers and suppliers of how well the organisation’s processes compare to CMMI best practices;
  • To meet the contractual requirements of one or more customers.


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