FAA develops its own model

FAA's Arthur Pyster says custom CMM has improved contracting.

The Federal Aviation Administration, whose air traffic systems development history is among the most troubled in government, has customized its own Capability Maturity Model - the first agency to do so.

FAA's Integrated CMM, which incorporates elements of the Software Engineering Institute's CMMs for software, systems development and software acquisition, 'is not mandatory but voluntary- and encouraged strongly," deputy CIO Arthur Pyster said. 'It's to improve our own performance.'

FAA contractors may have their own process appraisals based on SEI models, he said, and 'we're considering applying CMM appraisals post-award to see whether contractors are up to the challenge in architecture or configuration management.'

His office helps determine the FAA-iCMM findings about the agency teams that have requested appraisals and helps them draft an action plan.

'We haven't used the findings directly on budgets,' he said, 'but people feel a business need to perform better.'

Linda Ibrahim, head of FAA's Process Engineering Group, said 3,000 employees at 14 directorates across the country have been trained to use the FAA-iCMM 'in literally dozens of programs.' Pyster said he and Ibrahim regularly pass out prizes to FAA groups with good appraisals, but we haven't quantified it yet. Most benefits are qualitative.

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