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INSIGHTS / Articles

TMMi and its Benefits

 16 Nov 2020 
INSIGHTS / Articles

TMMi and its Benefits

 16 Nov 2020 

If you are somehow involved in development or testing, then you may have heard about the Test Maturity Model integration or TMMi. But what are the benefits of the framework? And how can organisations use it to improve their testing and delivery?

What is TMMi?

TMMi is an internationally recognised model designed to help organisations optimise their testing.

Released in 2010, the model was built upon best practices originating from the International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMi) and more.

From its humble beginnings, TMMi has grown to become the world leading model for test process improvement. IEEE reviewed several different test process improvement models and TMMi came out as the top one by quite a large margin. Today, it is available in English, Chinese, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

The structure of the TMMi Framework follows the CMMi structure, but can be run independently of CMMi, as there is no dependency between the two models. Whilst TMMi started its life focused on Waterfall and V-model, it is equally well suited for Agile delivery, as explained in the TMMi in the Agile World paper.

TMMi is not a prescriptive model which tells you, “this is what you must do”. It is a framework and guide to help organisations understand how it can be applied to them irrespective of the market sector that they are in, as well as against different development lifecycle models.

How does it work?

TMMi is made up of five process areas or levels.

Title: TMMi Levels and Process Areas

Level one or the initial level is where approximately 60% of organisations are. At this level, organisations are very much doing ad hoc testing, and are very reliant on good people doing a good job. Should those people leave, then the performance of any testing may start to suffer.

At level two, we are covering test policy and strategy, test planning, monitoring control, test design execution, and the test environment. We are looking at the processes within projects. It may be that different projects have slightly different processes to follow, but processes are in place. This means, at this level, we can only assess at a project level.

When we move up to level three, we look at how all the processes are being applied in a consistent way across the whole organisation. This level includes the test organisation or the structure of the test team, the test training program, how testing integrates into the different development life cycles, and peer reviews.

Level three essentially covers all the testing activities and work that we are doing. Levels four and five then add management support on top of the good testing.

At level four, we look at the organisation’s test metrics, and the ways we evaluate the quality of applications/products delivered by your organisation. We also include advanced reviews, where we build on the work we do with peer reviews, and aligning peer reviews with dynamic testing to further enhance the testing.

We finally move to optimisation at level five, where we look at how defect prevention is managed, so an organisation has a process to avoid having similar defects happen in future projects. This requires us to identify the root cause of any defects that we have, and put in strategies for removing those for future projects.

We also have test process optimisation, which is how we can improve what we are doing, not only with our test processes, but through the introduction of new techniques or tools. Statistical analysis is also used to understand the quality of our testing and help make it more predictable.

What are its benefits?

This year, the TMMi Foundation surveyed over 150 companies to understand what benefits they were getting from TMMi. It is interesting to note that even at the lowest level, 40% of respondents have seen benefits which have accelerated software delivery.

Title: TMMi Benefits (Survey 2020)

The greatest benefits have been enhancing software quality, reducing product risks, increasing test productivity, and improving the test engineering discipline. This highlights how TMMi can help organisations by enabling them to focus on certain areas. It also helps to make organisations leaner, effective, and efficient in the way they are doing their work.

It would be great to have detailed information about how organisations are benefiting from TMMi. However, as you can imagine, many are not keen to publicly highlight their past inefficiencies before they had the TMMi assessment and improvements.

Even so, there is anecdotal evidence that assessment service providers have gathered over the years. These are:

  • A UK government department that said they realised a 40% saving by getting to TMMi Level 3.

  • A bank saved 8% of their entire IT budget and improved development output by 12%.

  • An insurance company reported saving £440,000 on a £2,000,000 project.

  • A retailer saved 12% on each project.

  • A test services company increased test efficiency by 8%.

  • An embedded software company improved their defect detection rate from 78% to 96%.

How to get started?

As outlined above, TMMi can deliver significant improvements and savings to organisations and their digital projects. However, if it was something easy to implement, then the testing at most organisations would be at higher than the current TMMi Level 1.

To start your journey, it is important to be familiar with the TMMi model, learning how to identify areas of improvement and quantifying the benefits of each optimisation. For this reason, training is critical, commencing with the TMMi Professional Certificate, then progressing on to the Assessor and Lead Assessor courses.

Next, an internal or external TMMi Assessor can conduct an informal TMMi assessment to identify those processes that are working well, and those that need to be introduced or enhanced to enable the company to achieve your desired maturity level. The results are then used to consistently apply optimised processes to improve speed, quality, and efficiency in your delivery.

Often scheduled after the initial informal assessment, a process improvement workshop will highlight and prioritise areas of improvement based on business objectives, with owners also being agreed upon.

Once your optimisation has been bedded down, a TMMi Lead Assessor will complete a formal TMMi assessment to certify your level of maturity.

As the Accreditation Chair of the TMMi Foundation, and a senior consultant and trainer for Planit, I have led countless organisations through this process. I would be more than happy to share my unique experience with you as you take your testing practices from strength to strength.

Find out more about our services and courses as an Accredited TMMi Assessment Service Provider and an Accredited TMMi Professional Training Provider.

Clive Bates

Principal Consultant

Elevate Your Testing Maturity

TMMi is an internationally recognised model designed to help organisations optimise their testing. Our expert insights will enable you to achieve better testing outcomes with less effort.
Find out how we can help you build your understanding of the TMMi model, identify your testing maturity and systematically implement improvements and attain TMMi certification.


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