Also using CMMi (or indeed ISO9000) as a basis for purchasing anything is also flawed.

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I agree entirely with this statement, as it really encapsulates my concerns with generic quality standards. IMHO a large proportion of companies seeking to adopt CMMI are doing so because they percieve that their future customers will demand it as a condition of sale, i.e. the customers acquisition guidelines will state they should use only CMMi cerified suppliers.

I have fallen foul of this effect is the past, in that a government client of mine on becoming ISO9000 certified, demanded that all their suppliers be ISO9000 certified. I made a business decision to steer clear of ISO9000 for other reasons, and ended up having to supply our product through an ISO9000 certified reseller, which did nothing but add cost, delay, and confusion to the client. The users had already demanded that our product be used, as it was the only one that met their requirements, in terms of functionality and robustness. For a time in the late '90s the ISO9000 compliance issue felt like a bit of a witch hunt. From a software perspective, this dissapated quickly as clients realised that ISO9000 was failing to deliver improved quality products.

I don't know much about CMMi, but would be concerned about history repeating itself, unless a body such as the SEI came out with a statement that CMMi certification should not be used as a required item when making puchasing decisions. I'm not sure how CMMI-AM guidelines deal with this.

Are you aware if CMMI-AM guidelines suggest using CMMI suppliers? I would hate to see CMMI being imposed on us for reasons of business survival rather than improving quality processes. While I don't doubt in any way that it is an excellent standard, IMO it is not a prerequisate to production of quality software products, and it is dangerous to treat it as such.

Note that my comments aren't an attack on CMMi or any quality standards, merely on their incorrect application.