As businesses become evermore complex and reliant on IT solutions, the need for faster and more comprehensive solutions grows. In order to exploit these emerging technologies and meet business demand, organisations should turn their attention to internal processes as well as engage with third parties, system integrators, and specialist consultancies to successfully move to DevOps, Agile, and AI techniques.
There has always been a desire to build quality into the application rather than the more costly option of inspecting it at the end of the project. Organisations typically have specialist quality teams in place to help manage the risk.
As organisations prioritise delivering more comprehensive IT-related projects by using different development methodologies and technologies, it has become more challenging for them to step back and evaluate how efficient and effective their current software testing processes are. It has also become harder for them to find the time to analyse how efficient they are and be able to identify, create, and deploy new ways of working that will benefit the whole business.
TMMi – The Test Maturity Model integration
In recent years, a plethora of test maturity models have been developed to help organisations identify and implement software testing process improvements. The Test Maturity Model integration (TMMi) has become the de facto standard for software test process improvement activity and provides a formal independent process for organisations to be certified against if required.
First introduced in 2005, the TMMi model was based on the original TMM model from the Illinois Institute of Technology (1996), incorporating ISTQB, IEEE, CMMi and other software testing models used in the industry. This independent model has been adopted worldwide and has helped organisations improve their software quality testing processes, reduce risk, and adopt a Shift Left approach.
TMMi is a vital tool for assessing and benchmarking where an organisation is, identifying the
process improvements that need to be incorporated and helping develop a process
improvement plan to address the issues. Most organisations we have worked with aim for
TMMi Level 3, and once this has been achieved, then target TMMi level 5.
A typical road map for this might be an assessment to identify strengths and weaknesses
against TMMi Level 3, develop a process improvement plan, define, and implement the
process improvements and run some health checks to validate that the benefits are being
Once this has been successfully piloted, the changes can then be rolled out across other
programmes of work. This ensures that all projects benefit from the investment that’s been
made in the changes.
Over the years, we have seen many organisations using TMMi purely to drive their own
internal process improvement activities, but also a number of organisations wanting to
achieve their certification as well.
No matter the reason for utilising the TMMi model, our roadmap for using TMMi typically
starts with an informal assessment to establish where an organisation is against a specific
level of TMMi, and the output of this assessment is used as a baseline and input into the
process improvement plan (PIP).
The PIP can be reviewed and prioritised internally to drive the process improvement activity
against an agreed timeline. As improvements are implemented, health checks can be
conducted to ensure the anticipated benefits are realised, and further work can be conducted
on the process improvement activities. This cycle can be repeated to ensure the process
improvements are adopted by other projects and institutionalised across the organisation to
maximise the benefits.
In our experience, TMMI Level 3 is the most difficult to achieve as it requires the process
areas to be defined, documented, and implemented across the organisation. Level 3 also looks
for appropriate consistency of approach across the organisation. Once TMMi Level 3 has
been achieved, the organisation may look at TMMi level 4 (Measured) and TMMi level 5
(Optimised) as the next goal. However, as mentioned, organisations do not need to be
certified but can assess themselves against the TMMi model to demonstrate they are
achieving the benefits of the targeted level of maturity.
For organisations targeting or requiring TMMi certification, once the assessment has been
conducted and any necessary process improvements made, the organisation can go for formal
certification. This needs to be conducted by accredited TMMi assessors, following the
guidelines laid down by the TMMi Foundation for conducting certification assessments. The
results will be presented to the TMMI Foundation, which will formally issue the relevant
The key to success is understanding the TMMi model and how it can support your process
improvement activities. Furthermore, it can be achieved reasonably easily as the model is
freely available from the TMMi Foundation. The TMMi Professional qualification can also
be obtained if required, and individuals within the organisation can become an accredited
TMMi Assessor or Lead Assessor.
Based on recent research, the TMMi Foundation published the following results showing the
main reasons organisations adopted TMMi. One of the key considerations was to use an
industry-recognised standard that supported modern development approaches.
The benefits of utilising TMMi
We have seen significant benefits achieved by organisations utilising TMMi for their process
improvement and helping to prioritise what they should focus on. The following are just
some examples of benefits achieved by various organisations across different Industries at
different levels of TMMi:
Using TMMi as the measurement part of a process improvement programme, Experimentus
has typically delivered these types of results:
● A UK bank saved 8% of their entire IT budget and improved development output by 12%
● An insurer saved £440k on a £2m project
● A retailer saves at least 12% on every project after the improvements
● A test services company has increased their efficiency by 8%
● A Bank decreased the overall testing estimates for the current release by 32%
● Cost of testing was reduced by 28%
Using the TMMi model to understand your software test maturity might not be suitable for
every organisation, but if it helps people to think about managing the risk and quality of what
they do and looking for ways of becoming more effective and efficient within their
organisation, then it might be worth looking at.
If you’re interested in finding out how mature your test process is against the TMMi
model, then please feel free to use our free TMMi eSurvey.
It will only take 15 minutes to complete, and you will receive a report identifying strengths and weaknesses against all levels of the TMMi model and a comparison of how you score against other organisations in your industry sector.
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