I am not an eager supporter of CMM/CMMI, since I believe that they were initially created for waterfall methods with big plans upfront and not being very lean. However CMMI Level 5 is somewhat interesting from an agile point of view: (Level 5 – Certaintity. Continuous process improvement via metrics feedback).
Jeff Sutherland and co-authors are writing a paper on the subject and find that Scrum could provide CMMI Level 5 with unique benefits as well as the cost of going to Level 5 is dramatically reduced if starting with Scrum. Some process experts even claim that a good implementation of Scrum throughout the organisation automatically gets you to CMMI level 3.
However the question still lingers “What benefits does CMMI provide?“. The cost of implementing CMMI Level 5 is still high and I doubt most companies will ever justify the return on investment for doing it.
Read Jeff’s interesting articles on the subject:
Scrum Supports CMMI Level 5 – Intro and abstract of the paper
Is CMMI worth doing - A following discussion on the subject by Jeff Sutherland
Agile CMMI Open Space – Another interesting discussion around CMMI and Agile.