Last year we were audited for CMMI level 3 and we received the certificate for that level. At the time I didn’t particularly care since I had other things to do but this morning I found two great articles by Tyner Blain on CMMI.
The first one (CMMI Levels explained) covers the basics and explains that having a CMMI level only means you have a some sort of process and depending on the level: are doing it (1), have written it down (2), have standardized it (3), are gathering statistics from it (4) or are improving upon it (5).
In second one (What CMMI Level should we use?) he illustrates that having a high CMMI level does not mean you can make a great product. It not even shows that you have a good process. It just shows that you have a process and how rigorously you are following it.
So should you care about CMMI? It depends on what you want to achieve. Do you want to measure the maturity of you current process? Then CMMI is just the thing. However if you want to improve on the existing one then you might want to look at RUP, SCRUM or Lean.
Whatever you do, don’t forget that the goal is not following the process but building great software.