CMMI Institute


Discover how an appraiser can help your organization identify operational strengths and weaknesses.

Types of CMMI Appraisals

The CMMI Appraisal Method Definition Document describes four types of CMMI Appraisals: Benchmark, Sustainment, Evaluation, and Action Plan Reappraisal.

Each type is designed to result in findings that describe the strengths and weaknesses of your organization's processes based on CMMI best practices. Familiarity with each type will help you make better decisions about which appraisal is right for your organization to meet business objectives and foster process improvement.

Benchmark Appraisal

Identify opportunities for organizations to improve how they implement processes and their overall business performance.

Benchmark Appraisals identify opportunities for improving both process implementation and business performance. The emphasis is on a rigorous method capable of achieving high accuracy and reliable appraisal results. This appraisal requires a CMMI Certified Lead Appraiser to manage the appraisal team at the organization’s site.

Team Size Coverage Scope Ratings Validity Costs
4+ including ATL High, coverage of full OU and Model scope. Yes 3 years Highest commitment of people, time, and cost.

Sustainment Appraisal

Appraisal “check-up” that can be done following a Benchmark Appraisal to determine if the organization is maintaining their appraisal level.

A Sustainment Appraisal provides organizations with more frequent insight and validation of their performance improvement with a reduced scope on the appraised organization.  No more than three Sustainment Appraisals in a row may be conducted before another Benchmark Appraisal is required, provided all other requirements for the conduct of a Sustainment Appraisal are met. To maintain the previous rating validity, a Sustainment Appraisal must be completed and accepted by ISACA before the validity period of the prior appraisal validity date expires.

Team Size Coverage Scope Ratings Validity Costs
2+ including ATL High, coverage of full OU and subset of the Benchmark scope. Yes 2 years Reduced commitment of people, time, and cost.

Action Plan Reappraisal

A “second-chance” for organizations that narrowly failed to achieve their targeted appraisal level in a previous appraisal.

An Action Plan Reappraisal may be conducted following a Benchmark or Sustainment Appraisal that narrowly fails to achieve the target maturity level or capability level profile.

Team Size Coverage Scope Ratings Validity Costs
Same as the prior appraisal High, based on requirements of the previous Benchmark appraisal score. Same as the prior appraisal Same as the prior appraisal Adds to cost and duration of prior appraisal.

Evaluation Appraisal

An informal and flexible approach used to help organizations prepare for an appraisal and determine opportunities for improvement.

Often used as part of an improvement effort to gauge progress and prepare for an eventual Benchmark appraisal, evaluation appraisals do not produce ratings. The primary intent of Evaluation Appraisals is a flexible, less formal approach to determine opportunities for performance and process improvement. It requires fewer activities than a Benchmark Appraisal, and helps an organization to understand, with a relatively high degree of confidence, its progress toward a target CMMI maturity or capability Level profile.

Team Size Coverage Scope Ratings Validity Costs
1+ including the ATL Varies, tailoring options selected determine the breadth and depth of the review. No Does not apply Dependent on the data collection approach.

CMMI Certified Lead Appraisers can be consulted as to the value of each type of appraisal. Action Plan Reappraisals must be completed within 4 months of the end of the prior appraisal. Search our Directory to find a Lead Appraiser that's right for your organization's needs.