CMMI® (Capability Maturity Model® Integration) models are collections of best practices that help organizations to improve their processes. These models are developed by product teams with members from industry, government, and the Software Engineering Institute (SEI).B

This model called CMMI for Acquisition (CMMI-ACQ), provides a comprehensive integrated set of guidelines for acquiring products and services.


Provide guidance for applying CMMI best practices in an acquiring organization. Best practices in the model focus on activities for initiating and managing the acquisition of products and services to meet the needs of customers and end-users. Although suppliers can provide artifacts useful to the processes addressed in CMMI-ACQ, the focus of the model is on the processes of the acquirer.


Now more than ever, organizations are increasingly becoming acquirers of needed capabilities by obtaining products and services from suppliers and developing less and less of these capabilities inhouse. This widely adopted business strategy is designed to improve an organization’s operational efficiencies by leveraging suppliers’ capabilities to deliver quality solutions rapidly, at lower cost, and with the most appropriate technology.

Acquisition of needed capabilities is challenging because acquirers have overall accountability for satisfying the end user while allowing the supplier to perform the tasks necessary to develop and provide
the solution.

Mismanagement, the inability to articulate customer needs, poor requirements definition, unsuitable supplier selection and contracting processes, insufficient technology selection procedures, and uncontrolled requirements changes are factors that contribute to project failure. Responsibility is shared by both the supplier and the acquirer. The majority of project failures could be avoided if the acquirer learned how to properly prepare for, engage with, and manage suppliers.

In addition to these challenges, an overall key to a successful acquirer-supplier relationship is communication.

Unfortunately, many organizations have not invested in the capabilities necessary to effectively manage projects in an acquisition environment. Too often acquirers disengage from the project once the supplier is hired. Too late they discover that the project is not on schedule, deadlines will not be met, the technology selected is not viable, and the project has failed.

The acquirer has a focused set of major objectives. These objectives include the requirement to maintain a relationship with end users to fully comprehend their needs. The acquirer owns the project, executes overall project management, and is accountable for delivering the product or service to the end users. Thus, these acquirer responsibilities can extend beyond ensuring the product or service is delivered by chosen suppliers to include activities such as integrating the overall product or service, ensuring it makes the transition into operation, and obtaining insight into its appropriateness and adequacy to continue to meet customer needs. CMMI® for Acquisition (CMMI-ACQ) enables organizations to avoid or eliminate barriers in the acquisition process through practices and terminology that transcend the interests of individual departments or groups.B

CMMI-ACQ contains 22 process areas. Of those process areas, 16 are core process areas that cover Process Management, Project Management, and Support process areas.B

Six process areas focus on practices specific to the acquisition, addressing agreement management, acquisition requirements development, technical acquisition management, acquisition validation, acquisition verification, and solicitation and supplier agreement development.B

All CMMI-ACQ model practices focus on the activities of the acquirer. Those activities include supplier sourcing; developing and awarding supplier agreements; and managing the acquisition of capabilities, including the acquisition of both products and services. Supplier activities are not addressed in this document. Suppliers and acquirers, who also develop products and services, should consider using the CMMI-DEV model.

Entrance Criteria:

  • Business success is directly dependent on  managing the acquisition of products and service that meet the needs of the customer
  • The inability to articulate customer needs, poor requirements definition, inadequate supplier selection and contracting processes, insufficient technology selection procedures and uncontrolled requirement changes are factors that contribute to project failure at most times.
    • Avoid or eliminate barriers and problems in the acquisition process through improved operational efficiencies
    • Initiate and manage a process for acquiring products and services, including solicitations, supplier sourcing, supplier agreement development and award, and supplier capability management
    • Utilize a common language for both acquirers and suppliers so that quality solutions are delivered more quickly and at a lower cost with the most appropriate technology

Exit Criteria:

  • Results are  increased process capacity in the organization.  Thus, a business can utilize CMMI-ACQ to decrease costs, improve on-time delivery, improve productivity, improve product quality, improve service quality, improve customer satisfaction, gain impressive returns on investment, and so on.

Process and Procedures:

Tailoring Guidelines

  • The above process and procedures may be tailored to adhere to specific industry standards, example: change [the Project Manger] to [the Scrum Master]

Process Verification Record(s)

  • Action proposals
    • Stored By: [the Project Manager]
  • Action plans
    • Stored By: [the Project Manager]


  • < >
    • Maintained By: [the PMO Director]
    • Submitted By: [the Project Manager]
    • Frequency of Submission: Reported in the Monthly PMO review meeting


  • CMMI® for Development, Version 1.3, Software Engineering Process Management Program, November 2010
  • CMMI® for Acquisition, Version 1.3, Software Engineering Process Management Program, November 2010
  • CMMI® for Services, Version 1.3, Software Engineering Process Management Program, November 2010