Top positive review
This is the inspiration for the CMM, and darned good!
on March 30, 1999
This was Watts Humphries book which inspired others at the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) to develop a model called the Capability Maturity Model for Software. The book attempts to debunk the fantasies of modern software development, such as "Superprogrammers" and "Best People." What is offered instead is a common sense approach which says that you can develop software using realistic schedules and have realistic expectations of quality if you follow common sense processes (roadmaps) for project management and quality.
There is not much mystery or razzle-dazzle in this book. I think that most of the programmers and managers who read it are usually nodding their heads in agreement with most of the ideas. Problem for us process war horses is that we lose track of what is the bottom line in software development - having a successful project. Definition: A reliable plan, on-time delivery, within the originally stated cost, and within or exceeding the requirements for quality.
The book does not have the acronym CMM in the title, but Humphries describes the maturity levels of a software engineering in the same context of the levels of software process maturity: Initial, Repeatable, Defined, Managed and Optimized. His approach is to look at the main features of each level, such as Project Plan, Software Configuration Management and Software Quality Assurance as part of the Repeatable Process.
I recommend that anyone interested in software process improvement read this book and internalize it before moving into the CMM for Software because it sets the background philosophy for the CMM. Ther are many errors which people make in trying to implement the CMM, such as compartmentalizing the maturity levels and Key Process Areas. If "Managing the Software Process" is read and understood in its entirety first, some of the mistakes may be avoided.