Summary

The glossary defines the basic terms used in CMMI models.

Description

Glossary entries are typically multiple-word terms consisting of a noun and one or more restrictive modifiers. (There are some exceptions to this rule that account for one-word terms in the glossary.)

The CMMI glossary of terms is not a required, expected, or informative component of CMMI models. Interpret the terms in the glossary in the context of the model component in which they appear.

To formulate definitions appropriate for CMMI, we consulted multiple sources. We first consulted the Merriam-Webster OnLine dictionary (www.merriam-webster.com) and the source models (i.e., EIA 731, SW-CMM v2, draft C, and IPD-CMM v0.98). We also consulted other standards as needed, including the following:

  • ISO 9000 [ISO 2005a]
  • ISO/IEC 12207 [ISO 2008a]
  • ISO/IEC 15504 [ISO 2006a]
  • ISO/IEC 15288 [ISO 2008b]
  • ISO/IEC 15939 [ISO 2007]
  • ISO 20000-1 [ISO 2005b]
  • IEEE [IEEE 1991]
  • CMM for Software (SW-CMM) v1.1
  • EIA 632 [EIA 2003]
  • SA-CMM [SEI 2002]
  • People CMM (P-CMM) [Curtis 2009]
  • CobiT v. 4.0 [IT Governance 2005]
  • ITIL v3 (Service Improvement, Service Design, Service Operation, Service Strategy, and Service Transition) [Office of Government Commerce 2007]


We developed the glossary recognizing the importance of using terminology that all model users can understand. We also recognized that words and terms can have different meanings in different contexts and environments. The glossary in CMMI models is designed to document the meanings of words and terms that should have the widest use and understanding by users of CMMI products.

Even though the term “product” includes services as well as products and the term “service” is defined as a type of product, many of the terms in the glossary contain both the words “product” and “service” to emphasize that CMMI applies to both products and services.

Every glossary entry has two to three components. There is always a term and always a definition. Sometimes additional notes are provided.

The term defined is listed on the left side of the page. The definition appears first in a type size similar to the term listed. Glossary notes follow the definition and are in a smaller type size.

Contains

acceptance criteria
The criteria that a deliverable must satisfy to be accepted by a user, customer, or other authorized entity. (See also “…
acceptance testing
Formal testing conducted to enable a user, customer, or other authorized entity to determine whether to accept a deliver…
achievement profile
A list of process areas and their corresponding capability levels that represent the organization’s progress for each pr…
acquirer
The stakeholder that acquires or procures a product or service from a supplier. (See also “stakeholder.”)
acquisition
The process of obtaining products or services through supplier agreements. (See also “supplier agreement.”)
acquisition strategy
The specific approach to acquiring products and services that is based on considerations of supply sources, acquisition …
addition
A clearly marked model component that contains information of interest to particular users.

In a CMMI model, all additi…

allocated requirement
Requirement that results from levying all or part of a higher level requirement on a lower level architectural element o…
appraisal
An examination of one or more processes by a trained team of professionals using an appraisal reference model as the bas…
appraisal findings
The results of an appraisal that identify the most important issues, problems, or opportunities for process improvement …
appraisal participants
Members of the organizational unit who participate in providing information during an appraisal.
appraisal rating
The value assigned by an appraisal team to (a) a CMMI goal or process area, (b) the capability level of a process area, …
appraisal reference model
The CMMI model to which an appraisal team correlates implemented process activities.

This term is used in CMMI appraisa…

appraisal scope
The definition of the boundaries of an appraisal encompassing the organizational limits and CMMI model limits within whi…
architecture
The set of structures needed to reason about a product. These structures are comprised of elements, relations among them…
audit
An objective examination of a work product or set of work products against specific criteria (e.g., requirements). (See …
base measure
Measure defined in terms of an attribute and the method for quantifying it. (See also “derived measure.”)

A base measur…

baseline
A set of specifications or work products that has been formally reviewed and agreed on, which thereafter serves as the b…
bidirectional traceability
An association among two or more logical entities that is discernable in either direction (i.e., to and from an entity).…
business objectives
(See “organizations business objectives.”)
capability level
Achievement of process improvement within an individual process area. (See also “generic goal,” “specific goal,” “maturi…
capability level profile
A list of process areas and their corresponding capability levels. (See also “achievement profile,” “target profile,” an…
capability maturity model
A model that contains the essential elements of effective processes for one or more areas of interest and describes an e…
capable process
A process that can satisfy its specified product quality, service quality, and process performance objectives. (See also…
causal analysis
The analysis of outcomes to determine their causes.
change management
Judicious use of means to effect a change, or a proposed change, to a product or service. (See also “configuration manag…
CMMI Framework
The basic structure that organizes CMMI components, including elements of current CMMI models as well as rules and metho…
CMMI model
A model generated from the CMMI Framework. (See also “CMMI Framework” and “CMMI Product Suite.”)
CMMI model component
Any of the main architectural elements that compose a CMMI model.

Some of the main elements of a CMMI model include spe…

CMMI Product Suite
The complete set of products developed around the CMMI concept. (See also “CMMI Framework” and “CMMI model.”)

These pro…

commercial off-the-shelf
Items that can be purchased from a commercial supplier.
common cause of variation
The variation of a process that exists because of normal and expected interactions among components of a process. (See a…
configuration audit
An audit conducted to verify that a configuration item or a collection of configuration items that make up a baseline co…
configuration baseline
The configuration information formally designated at a specific time during a product’s or product component’s life. (Se…
configuration control
An element of configuration management consisting of the evaluation, coordination, approval or disapproval, and implemen…
configuration control board
A group of people responsible for evaluating and approving or disapproving proposed changes to configuration items, and …
configuration identification
An element of configuration management consisting of selecting the configuration items for a product, assigning unique i…
configuration item
An aggregation of work products that is designated for configuration management and treated as a single entity in the co…
configuration management
A discipline applying technical and administrative direction and surveillance to (1) identify and document the functiona…
configuration status accounting
An element of configuration management consisting of the recording and reporting of information needed to manage a confi…
constellation
A collection of CMMI components that are used to construct models, training materials, and appraisal related documents f…
continuous representation
A capability maturity model structure wherein capability levels provide a recommended order for approaching process impr…
contractor
(See “supplier.”)
contractual requirements
The result of the analysis and refinement of customer requirements into a set of requirements suitable to be included in…
corrective action
Acts or deeds used to remedy a situation or remove an error.
customer
The party responsible for accepting the product or for authorizing payment.

The customer is external to the project or …

customer requirement
The result of eliciting, consolidating, and resolving conflicts among the needs, expectations, constraints, and interfac…
data
Recorded information.

Recorded information can include technical data, computer software documents, financial informati…

data management
The disciplined processes and systems that plan for, acquire, and provide stewardship for business and technical data, c…
defect density
Number of defects per unit of product size.

An example is the number of problem reports per thousand lines of code.

defined process
A managed process that is tailored from the organization’s set of standard processes according to the organization’s tai…
definition of required functionality and quality attributes
A characterization of required functionality and quality attributes obtained through “chunking,” organizing, annotating,…
deliverable
An item to be provided to an acquirer or other designated recipient as specified in an agreement. (See also “acquirer.”)…
deliverable environment
The complete set of circumstances and conditions under which services are delivered in accordance with service agreement…
derived measure
Measure that is defined as a function of two or more values of base measures. (See also “base measure.”)
derived requirements
Requirements that are not explicitly stated in customer requirements but are inferred (1) from contextual requirements (…
design review
A formal, documented, comprehensive, and systematic examination of a design to determine if the design meets the applica…
development
To create a product or service system by deliberate effort.

In some contexts, development can include the maintenance o…

document
A collection of data, regardless of the medium on which it is recorded, that generally has permanence and can be read by…
end user
A party that ultimately uses a delivered product or that receives the benefit of a delivered service. (See also “custome…
enterprise
The full composition of a company. (See also “organization.”)

A company can consist of many organizations in many locat…

entry criteria
States of being that must be present before an effort can begin successfully.
equivalent staging
A target staging, created using the continuous representation that is defined so that the results of using the target st…
establish and maintain
Create, document, use, and revise work products as necessary to ensure they remain useful.

The phrase “establish and ma…

example work product
An informative model component that provides sample outputs from a specific practice.
executive
(See “senior manager.”)
exit criteria
States of being that must be present before an effort can end successfully.
expected CMMI components
CMMI components that describe the activities that are important in achieving a required CMMI component.

Model users can…

findings
(See “appraisal findings.”)
formal evaluation process
A structured approach to evaluating alternative solutions against established criteria to determine a recommended soluti…
framework
(See “CMMI Framework.”)
functional analysis
Examination of a defined function to identify all the subfunctions necessary to accomplish that function; identification…
functional architecture
The hierarchical arrangement of functions, their internal and external (external to the aggregation itself) functional i…
generic goal
A required model component that describes the characteristics that must be present to institutionalize the processes tha…
generic practice
An expected model component that is considered important in achieving the associated generic goal.

The generic practice…

generic practice elaboration
An informative model component that appears after a generic practice to provide guidance on how the generic practice cou…
hardware engineering
The application of a systematic, disciplined, and quantifiable approach to transforming a set of requirements that repre…
higher level management
The person or persons who provide the policy and overall guidance for the process but do not provide the direct day-to-d…
incomplete process
A process that is not performed or is performed only partially; one or more of the specific goals of the process area ar…
informative CMMI components
CMMI components that help model users understand the required and expected components of a model.

These components can …

institutionalization
The ingrained way of doing business that an organization follows routinely as part of its corporate culture.
interface control
In configuration management, the process of (1) identifying all functional and physical characteristics relevant to the …
lifecycle model
A partitioning of the life of a product, service, project, work group, or set of work activities into phases.
managed process
A performed process that is planned and executed in accordance with policy; employs skilled people having adequate resou…
manager
A person who provides technical and administrative direction and control to those who perform tasks or activities within…
maturity level
Degree of process improvement across a predefined set of process areas in which all goals in the set are attained. (See …
measure (noun)
Variable to which a value is assigned as a result of measurement. (See also “base measure,” “derived measure,” and “meas…
measurement
A set of operations to determine the value of a measure. (See also “measure.”)

The definition of this term in CMMI is c…

measurement result
A value determined by performing a measurement. (See also “measurement.”)
memorandum of agreement
Binding document of understanding or agreement between two or more parties.

A memorandum of agreement is also known as …

natural bounds
The inherent range of variation in a process, as determined by process performance measures.

Natural bounds are sometim…

nondevelopmental item
An item that was developed prior to its current use in an acquisition or development process.

Such an item can require …

nontechnical requirements
Requirements affecting product and service acquisition or development that are not properties of the product or service.…
objectively evaluate
To review activities and work products against criteria that minimize subjectivity and bias by the reviewer. (See also “…
operational concept
A general description of the way in which an entity is used or operates.

An operational concept is also known as “conce…

operational scenario
A description of an imagined sequence of events that includes the interaction of the product or service with its environ…
organization
An administrative structure in which people collectively manage one or more projects or work groups as a whole, share a …
organizational maturity
The extent to which an organization has explicitly and consistently deployed processes that are documented, managed, mea…
organizational policy
A guiding principle typically established by senior management that is adopted by an organization to influence and deter…
organizational process assets
Artifacts that relate to describing, implementing, and improving processes.

Examples of these artifacts include policie…

organizations business objectives
Senior-management-developed objectives designed to ensure an organization’s continued existence and enhance its profitab…
organizations measurement repository
A repository used to collect and make measurement results available on processes and work products, particularly as they…
organizations process asset library
A library of information used to store and make process assets available that are useful to those who are defining, impl…
organizations set of standard processes
A collection of definitions of the processes that guide activities in an organization.

These process descriptions cover…

outsourcing
(See “acquisition.”)
peer review
The review of work products performed by peers during the development of work products to identify defects for removal. …
performance parameters
The measures of effectiveness and other key measures used to guide and control progressive development.
performed process
A process that accomplishes the needed work to produce work products; the specific goals of the process area are satisfi…
planned process
A process that is documented by both a description and a plan.

The description and plan should be coordinated and the p…

policy
(See “organizational policy.”)
process
A set of interrelated activities, which transform inputs into outputs, to achieve a given purpose. (See also “process ar…
process action plan
A plan, usually resulting from appraisals, that documents how specific improvements targeting the weaknesses uncovered b…
process action team
A team that has the responsibility to develop and implement process improvement activities for an organization as docume…
process and technology improvements
Incremental and innovative improvements to processes and to process, product, or service technologies.
process architecture
(1) The ordering, interfaces, interdependencies, and other relationships among the process elements in a standard proces…
process area
A cluster of related practices in an area that, when implemented collectively, satisfy a set of goals considered importa…
process asset
Anything that the organization considers useful in attaining the goals of a process area. (See also “organizational proc…
process asset library
A collection of process asset holdings that can be used by an organization, project, or work group. (See also “organizat…
process attribute
A measurable characteristic of process capability applicable to any process.
process capability
The range of expected results that can be achieved by following a process.
process definition
The act of defining and describing a process. The result of a process definition is a process description. (See also “pr…
process description
A documented expression of a set of activities performed to achieve a given purpose.

A process description provides an …

process element
The fundamental unit of a process.

A process can be defined in terms of subprocesses or process elements. A subprocess …

process group
A collection of specialists who facilitate the definition, maintenance, and improvement of processes used by the organiz…
process improvement
A program of activities designed to improve the process performance and maturity of the organization’s processes, and th…
process improvement objectives
A set of target characteristics established to guide the effort to improve an existing process in a specific, measurable…
process improvement plan
A plan for achieving organizational process improvement objectives based on a thorough understanding of current strength…
process measurement
A set of operations used to determine values of measures of a process and its resulting products or services for the pur…
process owner
The person (or team) responsible for defining and maintaining a process.

At the organizational level, the process owner…

process performance
A measure of results achieved by following a process. (See also “measure.”)

Process performance is characterized by bot…

process performance baseline
A documented characterization of process performance, which can include central tendency and variation. (See also “proce…
process performance model
A description of relationships among the measurable attributes of one or more processes or work products that is develop…
process tailoring
Making, altering, or adapting a process description for a particular end.

For example, a project or work group tailors …

product
A work product that is intended for delivery to a customer or end user.

This term has a special meaning in the CMMI Pro…

product baseline
The initial approved technical data package defining a configuration item during the production, operation, maintenance,…
product component
A work product that is a lower level component of the product. (See also “product” and “work product.”)

Product compone…

product component requirements
A complete specification of a product or service component, including fit, form, function, performance, and any other re…
product lifecycle
The period of time, consisting of phases, that begins when a product or service is conceived and ends when the product o…
product line
A group of products sharing a common, managed set of features that satisfy specific needs of a selected market or missio…
product-related lifecycle processes
Processes associated with a product or service throughout one or more phases of its life (e.g., from conception through …
product requirements
A refinement of customer requirements into the developers’ language, making implicit requirements into explicit derived …
product suite
(See “CMMI Product Suite.”)
project
A managed set of interrelated activities and resources, including people, that delivers one or more products or services…
project plan
A plan that provides the basis for performing and controlling the project’s activities, which addresses the commitments …
project progress and performance
What a project achieves with respect to implementing project plans, including effort, cost, schedule, and technical perf…
project startup
When a set of interrelated resources for a project are directed to develop or deliver one or more products or services f…
prototype
A preliminary type, form, or instance of a product, service, product component, or service component that serves as a mo…
quality
The degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills requirements.
quality and process performance objectives
Quantitative objectives and requirements for product quality, service quality, and process performance.

Quantitative pr…

quality assurance
A planned and systematic means for assuring management that the defined standards, practices, procedures, and methods of…
quality attribute
A property of a product or service by which its quality will be judged by relevant stakeholders. Quality attributes are …
quality control
The operational techniques and activities that are used to fulfill requirements for quality. (See also “quality assuranc…
quantitative management
Managing a project or work group using statistical and other quantitative techniques to build an understanding of the pe…
quantitative objective
Desired target value expressed using quantitative measures. (See also “measure,” “process improvement objectives,” and “…
quantitatively managed process
(See “quantitative management.”)
reference model
A model that is used as a benchmark for measuring an attribute.
relevant stakeholder
A stakeholder that is identified for involvement in specified activities and is included in a plan. (See also “stakehold…
representation
The organization, use, and presentation of a CMM’s components.

Overall, two types of approaches to presenting best pra…

required CMMI components
CMMI components that are essential to achieving process improvement in a given process area.

Specific goals and generic…

requirement
(1) A condition or capability needed by a user to solve a problem or achieve an objective.

(2) A condition or capabili…

requirements analysis
The determination of product or service specific functional and quality attribute characteristics based on analyses of c…
requirements elicitation
Using systematic techniques, such as prototypes and structured surveys, to proactively identify and document customer an…
requirements management
The management of all requirements received by or generated by the project or work group, including both technical and n…
requirements traceability
A discernable association between requirements and related requirements, implementations, and verifications. (See also “…
return on investment
The ratio of revenue from output (product or service) to production costs, which determines whether an organization bene…
risk analysis
The evaluation, classification, and prioritization of risks.
risk identification
An organized, thorough approach used to seek out probable or realistic risks in achieving objectives.
risk management
An organized, analytic process used to identify what might cause harm or loss (identify risks); to assess and quantify t…
senior manager
A management role at a high enough level in an organization that the primary focus of the person filling the role is the…
service
A product that is intangible and non-storable. (See also “product,” “customer,” and “work product.”)

Services are deliv…

service agreement
A binding, written record of a promised exchange of value between a service provider and a customer. (See also “customer…
service catalog
A list or repository of standardized service definitions.

Service catalogs can include varying degrees of detail about …

service incident
An indication of an actual or potential interference with a service.

Service incidents can occur in any service domain …

service level
A defined magnitude, degree, or quality of service delivery performance. (See also “service” and “service level measure.…
service level agreement
A service agreement that specifies delivered services; service measures; levels of acceptable and unacceptable services;…
service level measure
A measure of service delivery performance associated with a service level. (See also “measure” and “service level.”)
service line
A consolidated and standardized set of services and service levels that satisfy specific needs of a selected market or m…
service request
A communication from a customer or end user that one or more specific instances of service delivery are desired. (See al…
service requirements
The complete set of requirements that affect service delivery and service system development. (See also “service system.…
service system
An integrated and interdependent combination of component resources that satisfies service requirements. (See also “serv…
service system component
A resource required for a service system to successfully deliver services.

Some components can remain owned by a custom…

service system consumable
A service system component that ceases to be available or becomes permanently changed by its use during the delivery of …
shared vision
A common understanding of guiding principles, including mission, objectives, expected behavior, values, and final outcom…
software engineering
(1) The application of a systematic, disciplined, quantifiable approach to the development, operation, and maintenance o…
solicitation
The process of preparing a package to be used in selecting a supplier. (See also “solicitation package.”)
solication package
A collection of formal documents that includes a description of the desired form of response from a potential supplier, …
special cause of variation
A cause of a defect that is specific to some transient circumstance and is not an inherent part of a process. (See also …
specific goal
A required model component that describes the unique characteristics that must be present to satisfy the process area. (…
specific practice
An expected model component that is considered important in achieving the associated specific goal. (See also “process a…
stable process
The state in which special causes of process variation have been removed and prevented from recurring so that only commo…
staged representation
A model structure wherein attaining the goals of a set of process areas establishes a maturity level; each level builds …
stakeholder
A group or individual that is affected by or is in some way accountable for the outcome of an undertaking. (See also “cu…
standard (noun)
Formal requirements developed and used to prescribe consistent approaches to acquisition, development, or service.

Exam…

standard process
An operational definition of the basic process that guides the establishment of a common process in an organization.

A …

statement of work
A description of work to be performed.
statistical and other quantitative techniques
Analytic techniques that enable accomplishing an activity by quantifying parameters of the task (e.g., inputs, size, eff…
statistical process control
Statistically based analysis of a process and measures of process performance, which identify common and special causes …
statistical techniques
Techniques adapted from the field of mathematical statistics used for activities such as characterizing process performa…
subpractice
An informative model component that provides guidance for interpreting and implementing specific or generic practices.



subprocess
A process that is part of a larger process. (See also “process,” “process description,” and “process element.”)

A subpr…

supplier
(1) An entity delivering products or performing services being acquired. (2) An individual, partnership, company, corpor…
supplier agreement
A documented agreement between the acquirer and supplier. (See also “supplier.”)

Supplier agreements are also known as …

sustainment
The processes used to ensure that a product or service remains operational.
system of system
A set or arrangement of systems that results when independent and useful systems are integrated into a large system that…
systems engineering
The interdisciplinary approach governing the total technical and managerial effort required to transform a set of custom…
tailoring
The act of making, altering, or adapting something for a particular end.

For example, a project or work group establish…

tailoring guidelines
Organizational guidelines that enable projects, work groups, and organizational functions to appropriately adapt standar…
target profile
A list of process areas and their corresponding capability levels that represent an objective for process improvement. (…
target staging
A sequence of target profiles that describes the path of process improvement to be followed by the organization. (See al…
team
A group of people with complementary skills and expertise who work together to accomplish specified objectives.

A team …

technical data package
A collection of items that can include the following if such information is appropriate to the type of product and produ…
technical perfomance
Characteristic of a process, product, or service, generally defined by a functional or technical requirement.

Examples …

technical performance measure
Precisely defined technical measure of a requirement, capability, or some combination of requirements and capabilities. …
technical requirements
Properties (i.e., attributes) of products or services to be acquired or developed.
traceability
Formal and informal learning options.

These learning options can include classroom training, informal mentoring, web-ba…

trade study
An evaluation of alternatives, based on criteria and systematic analysis, to select the best alternative for attaining d…
training
Formal and informal learning options.

These learning options can include classroom training, informal mentoring, web-ba…

unit testing
Testing of individual hardware or software units or groups of related units. (See also “acceptance testing.”)
validation
Confirmation that the product or service, as provided (or as it will be provided), will fulfill its intended use.

In ot…

verification
Confirmation that work products properly reflect the requirements specified for them.

In other words, verification ensu…

version control
The establishment and maintenance of baselines and the identification of changes to baselines that make it possible to r…
work breakdown structure (WBS)
An arrangement of work elements and their relationship to each other and to the end product or service.
work group
A managed set of people and other assigned resources that delivers one or more products or services to a customer or end…
work plan
A plan of activities and related resource allocations for a work group.

Work planning includes estimating the attribute…

work product
A useful result of a process.

This result can include files, documents, products, parts of a product, services, process…

work product and task attributes
Characteristics of products, services, and tasks used to help in estimating work. These characteristics include items su…
work startup
When a set of interrelated resources for a work group is directed to develop or deliver one or more products or services…