Money, Money, Money – are the collective benefits of CMMI 68 Billion Dollars?

I was in a meeting the other day where I was asked “what are the total cumulative benefits of CMMI?” and I did not have a sensible answer.  This really set me thinking, how could I calculate this?  The first problem, of course, is accuracy.  Any number you put on this will have it’s supporters and detractors and will have a huge margin of error.  The next is source data.  On the face of it there is plenty of this about, but dig a little deeper and it is very patchy.  In addition so many people who undertake process improvement initiatives do not have the capability to measure their true costs when they start – it is only through being mature that you can measure improvement in efficiency with any accuracy.

So I came up with my clearly a flawed approach but maybe it is not too far out? Perhaps the SEI might wish to help create a more statistically sensible figure as I have no way of enhancing this as the data is not all public (or even the public PARS data which you can see on the SEI site can not be downloaded in a form which you can complete a sensible analysis on).

So to my approach for this work of fiction!

  • looking at the SEI report on SCAMPI appraisals there is a chart which provides indicative organisation size and number of appraisals…. I used this to come up with 2m people effected by CMMI (which is flawed as I used averages and there are re-appraisals in the list – but stick with me for a minute)
  • I used an average fully rolled up cost of employing these people of 100,000 USD per annum (again this is flawed as different markets have different rates and this is a guestimate too!)
  • This gives a per annum operating cost of the organisations doing SCAMPI’s of 200,000,000,000 USD
  • So taking the median cost benefit from the CMMI reported benefits report of 34% give a benefit of 68,000,000,000 USD

Maths was never really my strong point….. so I could have got this wrong….. but CMMI has almost certainly delivered billions of dollars of benefits around the globe.

I really really would appreciate thoughts ideas and feedback on this one!