IT Best Practices

Combining CMMI, PSP, TSP, and Six Sigma for Software

In an article for iSix Sigma, Gary Gack describes how Six Sigma for Software can be used to analyze the overall effect of CMMI / PSP / TSP. But first, let’s spell out these acronyms to keep this article from becoming a swirling alphabet soup.

Six Sigma

Let’s start with Six Sigma. Six Sigma is aimed at removing defects, reducing variability, and using quality management methods in concert with an “infrastructure of people” to improve technical processes. Six Sigma DMAIC is the aspect that is concerned with improving existing products or processes. Design for Six Sigma is a bit different. Here, instead of improving upon an already existing product or process, we are creating altogether new products and processes.


Whereas a personal software process (PSP) is a structured software development process to help software engineers improve their coding performance, a team software process (TSP) is a structured software development process that takes a particular PSP to the team level. Capability maturity model integration (CMMI) is a training and appraisal program for process improvement.

The Relationship

The difference between the two categories is one of abstraction, or one of goals, depending on how the comparison is made. For instance, the goals of CMMI / PSP / TSP might be defined as a subset of Six Sigma:

The primary goals of CMMI / PSP / TSP are continuous improvement in the performance of software development teams in terms of product cost, cycle time, and delivered quality…The goals of Six Sigma for Software may include [but are not limited to]the goals of CMMI / PSP / TSP.

Market Leadership / Critical Chain

In order to adapt to and to integrate Six Sigma for Software to analyze CMMI / PSP / TSP, it may be necessary to consider the concepts of market leadership and critical chain. The latter is an approach to strategic marketing planning at the level of target markets and segments, while the former is a method of planning and managing projects that emphasizes the resources required to execute project tasks.

Read the full article at:

Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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