What is the difference between ISO certification and CMMI?  We are wondering what the difference is between CMMI Certification and ISO Certification is. We are ISO certified. Are there different levels of CMMI certificates? Any information you can send us would be very helpful.  That's a great question though. A lot of organization's have been certified for ISO (9001/9001, 15504, etc) and wish to leverage that success towards the achievement of a level of CMMI.
Remember that ISO is an "audit standard" and that the CMMI is a "process model," so conceptually they're quite a bit different. Think of the CMMI as a large set of related "best practices" gathered from many product engineering and software development organizations. ISO can be very helpful, especially for marketing, HR, and quality, but it is not specifically focused on engineering and project management as is the CMMI. So the depth of CMMI in these areas is far greater.

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Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI), developed by the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is an improvement on the earlier CMM model that determined the maturity of software intensive systems. The latest version, CMMI 1.2, released in August 2006 address Development (CMMI-DEV), Services (CMMI-SVC) and Acquisition (CMMI-ACQ). 
CMI-DEV is a yardstick to judge the maturity of an organization’s software development systems by comparing it to the best industry practice.  ISO is a family of quality management standards developed and maintained by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). ISO 9001, for instance relates to standards in the supply chain and ISO 14000 relates to environment related standards. ISO specifications change with time

CMMI vs ISO: Conceptual Difference

The fundamental difference between CMMI vs ISO is conceptual. CMMI is a process model and ISO is an audit standard.  CMMI is a set of related "best practices" derived from industry leaders and relates to product engineering and software development. Businesses receive CMMI ratings from Level 1 to Level 5 depending upon the extent of compliance to key performance areas specified in the selected CMMI process area.  ISO is a certification tool that certifies businesses whose processes conform to the laid down standards.
CMMI vs ISO: Scope
CMMI is rigid and extends only to businesses developing software intensive systems. ISO is flexible and applicable to all manufacturing industries. CMMI focuses on engineering and project management processes whereas ISO’s focus is generic in nature. CMMI mandates generic and specific practices and businesses have a choice of selecting the model relevant to their business needs from 22 developed process areas. ISO requirements are same for all companies, industries, and disciplines.

CMMI vs ISO: Approach

CMMI requires ingraining processes into business needs so that such processes become part of corporate culture and do not break down under the pressure of deadlines. ISO specifies to conformance and remains oblivious as to whether such conformance is of strategic business value or not. CMMI approaches risk management as an organized and technical discipline by identifying risk factors, quantifying such risk factors, and tracking them throughout the project life cycle. ISO was until recently neutral on risk management. ISO 31000:2009 now provides generic guidelines for the design, implementation, and maintenance of risk management processes throughout an organization. Although CMMI focuses on linkage of processes to business goals, customer satisfaction is not a factor in the ranking whereas customer satisfaction is an important part of ISO requirements.

CMMI vs ISO Implementation

Neither CMMI nor ISO requires the establishment of new processes. CMMI compares the existing processes to industry best practices whereas ISO requires adjustment of existing processes to confirm to the specific ISO requirements. In practice, some organizations tend to rely on extensive documentation while implementing both CMMI and ISO. Most organizations tend to constitute in-house teams, or rely on external auditors to see through the implementation process.  
The comparison of CMMI vs ISO reveals that while CMMI is more focused, complex, and aligned with business objectives, ISO is flexible, wider in scope and not directly linked to business objectives. The attainment of either a CMMI ranking or ISO certification nevertheless help organizations establish a quality management system and focus on continuous improvement.

What is CMMI?

The Capability Maturity Model Integration, or CMMI, is a process model that clearly defines what an organization should do to promote behaviors that lead to improved performance. With five “Maturity Levels” or three “Capability Levels,” the CMMI defines the most important elements that are required to build great products, or deliver great services, and wraps them all up in a comprehensive model.  The CMMI also helps us identify and achieve measurable business goals, build better products, keep customers happier, and ensure that we are working as efficiently as possible.
You've obviously done some homework because you've identified one of the differences already. There are five levels of CMMI maturity with the vast majority of companies striving to achieve maturity Level Two or Three. ISO does not have this concept. Also, ISO is a "certification" and CMMI, although it looks and feels like one, is something you "achieve." The difference ends up being minor though (at least from your perspective) but it is a distinction.

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What is OCM?

Organizational Change Management, or OCM, is a discipline that enables an organization to transform from where it is today to where it wants to be in the future with minimal disruption. Think of OCM as a set of levers that leaders can use to accelerate the pace of change in their organization without losing their customers, missing important deadlines, or frustrating their workforce.  Change Readiness Assessment – Change Readiness Assessment, or CRA, “takes the temperature” of an organization to understand how employees, managers, and leaders perceive the changes. 
It is often used at the beginning of a business transformation initiative to baseline the internal “climate” of the organization and again at key points throughout the transformation initiative to measure progress, identify potential risks, and develop risk mitigation plans. ’s CRA is customized to meet the needs of our clients. It includes an assessment instrument, administration, results analysis, and recommendations.  
ISO also doesn't focus with such depth and breadth on the various process areas (there are 22 process areas in the CMMI) and the appraisal process for CMMI (called SCAMPI) is quite a bit more rigorous. I'm not an ISO auditor, but my colleagues have told me that, while there is some overlap, the process of adopting CMMI is quite a bit more rigorous, as is the appraisal method (SCAMPI).

SCAMPI A Appraisal

The SCAMPI A Appraisal is used to determine your organization’s level of process performance using the Standard CMMI Appraisal Method for Process Improvement (SCAMPI). The SCAMPI A is a required event for organizations wishing to be appraised at a CMMI Maturity or Capability Level.  SCAMPI Appraisals are not audits, but are a collaborative set of events that include participation by your organization, an executive sponsor, an appraisal team, a licensed CMMI Institute  A SCAMPI A Appraisal is the only class of appraisal that leads to a Maturity or Capability Level rating, and it is the only method that verifies that your organization is performing at that level.

Planning for your SCAMPI A appraisal begins months prior to the “onsite” event and is intended to help you meet the performance goals of your organization. Our team and Certified Lead Appraiser will work closely with you, carefully planning and helping you assemble a program that will reduce risk and help you reach your goals.

A SCAMPI A Appraisal is often preceded by a SCAMPI B or SCAMPI C Appraisal in order to mitigate risk, and prepare your organization for a successful outcome.
Some of the activities that occur during the SCAMPI A appraisal include the following:  Planning the Appraisal  Selecting appraisal team members  Performing a Readiness Review  Conducting appraisal team training  Evaluating each of the applicable CMMI Process Areas, Goals and Practices  Identifying the organizational strengths and weaknesses relative to the CMMI model  Presenting and documenting appraisal findings  Filing results with the CMMI Institute  Best Regards  Ala’a ElBeheri

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The Author: Ala'a Elbeheri

                                          Ala'a Elbeheri
A versatile and highly accomplished senior certified IT risk management Advisor and Senior IT Lead Auditor with over 20 years of progressive experience in all domains of ICT.  
• Program and portfolio management, complex project management, and service delivery, and client    relationship management.      
• Capable of providing invaluable information while making key strategic decisions and spearheading customer-centric projects in IT/ICT in diverse sectors.    
• Displays strong business and commercial acumen and delivers cost-effective solutions contributing to financial and operational business growth in international working environments.      
• Fluent in oral and written English, German, and Arabic with an 
Professional knowledge of French.  
• Energetic and dynamic relishes challenges and demonstrates in-depth analytical and strategic ability to facilitate operational and procedural planning.  
• Fully conversant with industry standards, with a consistent track record in delivering cost-effective
strategic solutions.   
• Strong people skills, with proven ability to build successful, cohesive teams and interact well with      
individuals across all levels of the business. Committed to promoting the ongoing development of IT      
skills  throughout an organization

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