So we should ask you a question before we answer yours: Do you feel that you ought to be looking at improving your processes?What business performance improvements would you like to see from your operations? Obviously this depends on what you're trying to accomplish. So we'll divide the world into two groups: those who develop wares and provide services for US Federal agencies (or their prime contractors) and those who don't.Another way to look at CMMIs are that they focus on the business processes of developing engineered solutions (DEV), acquiring goods and services (ACQ) and delivering services (SVC).To date, CMMI has most widely applied in software and systems engineering organizations.The content of CMMIs are to improve upon the performance of those standards, processes and procedures -- not to define them.Having said that, it should be noted that there will (hopefully) be overlaps between what any given organization already does and content of CMMIs.
If an organization chose to do so, CMMI could be applied in the construction or even media production industries.
Something that might be called "shrink-wrapped" or even COTS (Commercial Off-The-Shelf).
While looking at CMMI for process improvement wouldn't be a bad idea, the point is that unless you are developing wares from scratch to a government (or a Prime's) specification, you ought to be able to elude having someone else require or expect you to pursue CMMI practices when you otherwise might not do so.
And if/ when they wait until the end of a project or work package to see how close/far they were to their promises/expectations, without some idea of what their processes are and how they work, how else could a company ever make whatever changes or improvements they'd want/need to make in order to do better next time?
CMMI provides the models from which to pursue these sorts of insights and activities for improvement. CMMI can't tell an organization what is or isn't important to them.
We're probably going to make as many enemies as friends with this FAQ, but hey, we expect it to be worth it.