Capability maturity model (CMM) integration project models are now available for people, software acquisition, systems engineering and integrated product development. It is a scandal that no similar initiative focuses on improving data management capabilities in the enterprise. Indeed, the irony is that good software is often thwarted by bad data as the platitude "garbage in, garbage out" trumps the process-improvement movement. The benefits of applying such a process to data warehousing include attaining a repeatable, defined, managed, optimized process for transforming data into information and information into knowledge.

The CMM for software development exists because software is a complex artifact created by fallible human beings whose practices are susceptible to improvement. Software systems are so complex and unforgiving of small defects that their development benefits from a well-defined, repeatable, optimized process with stages and a high degree of structure to define and manage quality. It is worth noting that the maturity framework out of which the CMM emerged was inspired by Philip Crosby's book Quality Is Free (McGraw-Hill, 1979). Crosby's quality management maturity frame describes five stages in adopting quality practices. This maturity framework was adapted to software by Ron Radice and Watts Humphrey at IBM and was subsequently brought to the Software Engineering Institute in 1986. Thus, the CMM is not a methodology but a set of guidelines for improving the process of design and implementation as applied to software or (in this case) other abstract subject areas.

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