ISO 9001 and CMMI Certifications

Manufacturing, inspection, exclusions


Our company is working toward certification to ISO 9001:2008 Quality management systems–Requirements and Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) certifications.

I have studied  ISO 9001 and mapped it to CMMI goals and practices. It appears to me that some sections of ISO point to CMMI level 3 process areas and practices, e.g.:

  • Clause 5.6.1 Management review – General relates to organizational process areas
  • Clause 7.2.1 Determination of requirements related to the product is relative to requirements development, which is a level 3 process area
  • A large part of clause 7.3 Design and development maps to CMMI level 3 process areas

My question is:

Does an organization need to be at CMMI level 3 in order to be ISO 9001:2008 certified? I am not saying certified CMMI level 3, but capable of performing at CMMI level 3?

Thank you so much.


Although the guidelines contained in CMMI may help to prepare an organization toward ISO 9001 certification,  there are several major differences between CMMI and ISO 9001.

ISO 9001 is an internationally recognized standard for quality management systems.  While CMMI is a Carnegie Mellon University registered trade mark.

ISO 9001 has specific requirements for documented procedures for the control of documents, control of records, control of nonconforming products, internal audits, corrective actions and preventive actions.  In addition, a quality policy, measurable objectives, and management reviews are required.

CMMI is focused on process improvement, while ISO 9001 focuses on customer satisfaction, process improvement, product conformity and the continual improvement of the quality management system.  An organization could be CMMI certified or “capable” as mentioned in the inquiry, but still be some distance way from readiness for ISO 9001 certification.

I hope this helps.

Bill Aston
ASQ Senior Member
Managing Director of Aston Technical Consulting Services
Kingwood, TX

Here’s more information about ISO 9001.