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Serge Thorn

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ITIL and CMMI synergies

CMMI has been developed by the Carnegie Mellon University – Software Engineering Institute. It consists of best practices that address the development and maintenance of products and services covering the product life cycle from conception through delivery and maintenance.

A product can be an airplane, a digital camera, a drug or a software package available from a commercial retailer. It can also be a Service such as those defined into IT Service Management. CMMI integrates bodies of knowledge that are essential when developing products, but that have been addressed separately in the past, such as software engineering, systems engineering, and acquisition.

- Emphasizes the development of processes to improve product development and customer services in organizations.
- Provides a framework from which to organize and prioritize process improvement activities (product, business, people, technology)
- Supports the coordination of multi-disciplined activities that may be required to successfully build a product
- Emphasizes the alignment of process improvement efforts objectives with organizational business objectives

A CCMI model is not a process but describes the characteristics of effective processes. CCMI models should be used in conjunction with a company’s IT processes found in Service Management (ITIL), COBIT, Project Management (SDLC/Prince 2), Enterprise Architecture (TOGAF), Quality (ISO 9000), Security Management (ISO 27001). CMMi allows companies to assess their practices and compare them to those of other companies. The CMMi measures process maturity, progresses through five levels: Level 1 (initial), 2 (managed), 3 (defined), 4 (predictable) and 5 (optimizing).

CMMi is an important component of an IT Governance framework and has to be considered as a project.

Implementing CMMI and ITIL improves the Software Development Process and Software Quality and reduces the Cost Of Quality (COQ). In addition is time to market reduced and precision in estimation of effort and cost enhanced.

ITIL can combine with CMMI to cover all of IT, but doesn't address the development of quality management systems. Also it is not geared to software development processes and its use is highly dependent on interpretation. While CMMi is the de facto quality standard for software development processes, ITIL for many is the tool of choice for the operations and infrastructure side of IT, particularly for IT Services.

ITIL and CMMI best apply to different parts of the IT organization:

- Use CMMI in application development
- Use CMMI in ICT Infrastructure projects
- Use ITIL in IT operations and services

CMMi is very detailed. It is geared specifically to software development organizations, and focuses on continuous improvement, not just on maintaining a certification. It also can be used for self-assessment.

However it doesn't address IT operations issues, such as security, change and configuration management, capacity planning, troubleshooting and service desk functions. This is why ITIL is used. CMMi sets goals, but doesn't say how to meet them. (For example, CMMI says to do requirements analysis but doesn't say how to do requirements analysis.) This is why we would use a Project Management methodology.
Important observations

The focus for CMMi is software development, integration, deployment and maintenance, while the focus for ITIL is service management/operations. In reviewing, the touch points between the two , the amount of duplication is small in comparison to the number of interfaces and touch
points. This suggests the need for:

- strongly synchronized work efforts
- clear definition of interfaces, roles, and responsibilities
- participation from both efforts at a level appropriate to the density of the touch points (e.g., joint process action team membership, subject matter expert guidance, and/or process reviewer)
- By identifying the touch points between the groups, and promoting best practices using the CMMI and ITIL in their respective areas, the organization can leverage expertise and experience from within and from without .
- The most significant touch point should be documented in the area of Configuration and Change Management. There is no contradiction between the two models (CMMI and ITIL), so the teams should develop a unified process (‘the what’), with targeted procedures (‘the how’).
- In CMMI, the Process Areas are ordered along a Maturity Model with maturity levels. The ITIL processes are ordered in sets.

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More Stories By Serge Thorn

Serge Thorn is currently developing and delivering new Enterprise Architecture consultancy and training services, implementing Governance and managing IT Operations.

Before he was in charge of International Governance and Control, implementing different best practices around IT Finance/Procurement, Audit/Risk management, Vendors Management (with Service Level Management) in a Bank.

Previously Serge worked in a Pharma in charge of the Enterprise Architecture worldwide program and Governance, the IT Research & Innovation, following the reorganization of the IT Department, implementing Service Management based on ITIL Best Practices and deploying new processes: Change, Configuration, Release, and Capacity/Availability Management, responsible for the Disaster Recovery Plan and for the System Management team.

Prior to this, he was responsible for the Architecture team in an international bank, and has wide experience in the deployment and management of information systems in Private Banking and Wealth Management environments, and also in the IT architectures domains, Internet, dealing rooms, inter-banking networks, Middle and Back-office. He also has been into ERP and CRM domains.

Serge's main competencies cover the perfect understanding of banking activities, and industry, the design of new systems, IT strategies, IT Governance and Control, Innovation, new technologies, Enterprise Architecture (including BPM and TOGAF 9), Service Management (ITIL V 3), Quality System ISO 9001:2000, team management, project and portfolio management (PMI), IT Finance, organization and planning.