How does MSF CMMI 4.2 compare to MSF CMMI 5.0?

I’ve had a few people ask me about the key differences between the CMMI template shipped in TFS 2008 and how it compares to the new MSF CMMI 5.0 process template that shipped with TFS 2010 so I thought I’d detail some of the big differences.  First off, it’s important to note that the changes in our Agile template were much more significant than the changes made to the CMMI template.  The Agile template was largely overhauled to focus on core Agile principles and underwent some pretty significant changes with regards to work items and the overall process model.  To read more about those changes see my post How does MSF Agile 4.2 compare to MSF Agile 5.0? 

Back to CMMI… If you’re new to the CMMI template or new to CMMI altogether I’d strongly recommend reading Background to CMMI written by David Anderson who partnered with us on pieces of our process guidance.  It gives a great introduction to what CMMI is, it’s purpose, and how it can be used.  So, what’s changed?

Work Item Types

The work item types in MSF CMMI 5.0 are largely the same from MSF CMMI 4.2.  There are two new work items types, Test Case and Shared Steps, which are related to the new testing features in VS 2010.  See Creating and Managing Tests for more information on how to use these new work item types.  But overall the fields and state transitions remain largely intact from MSF CMMI 4.2.  We did do significant work on the layout of the forms to improve usability across all the work item types. 

One small but important change is the elimination of the rule that cleared the Assigned To value when a work item was closed.  In MSF CMMI 4.2 as a work item moved to the Closed state the Assigned To value was cleared.  After listening to feedback that this rule made tracking who owned work after it was closed we made the decision to remove this rule on ALL work items.

Link Types

The first significant change is the inclusion of link types between work items.  image With the inclusion of link types in TFS 2010 the process model for the CMMI template has been updated to include a parent/child relationship between Requirements and Tasks, a tests/tested by link between Requirements and Test Cases, and an affects/affected by link between Change Requests and Requirements.  These new link types make traceability easier and allow for rich querying and reporting.

Parent/child relationships also significantly improve the experiences of developing and organizing requirements into something the team can use.  See Developing Requirements and Arranging Requirements into a Product Plan from the CMMI process guidance for more information.


All of the queries from MSF CMMI 4.2 have been carried forward to MSF CMMI 5.0 and new queries have been introduced to take advantage of link types and improvements in the overall process model.  image Those new queries include:

  • My Test Cases
  • Open Change Requests with Requirements
  • Proposed Requirements
  • Proposed Work Items
  • Requirements with Open Change Requests
  • Requirements without Test Cases
  • Untriaged Work Items
  • Test Tasks
  • Work Breakdown

And of course, the queries have been arranged into query folders for easy management and organization.  The four query folders are:  Change Management, Development and Testing, Planning and Tracking, and Troubleshooting.   For more information on the MSF CMMI 5.0 team queries see the queries topic from the CMMI process guidance.


The reports in MSF CMMI 5.0 have been updated to provide a better experience from a usability perspective as well as project management perspective.  The list of reports includes:

SharePoint Dashboards

And finally, the MSF CMMI 5.0 template includes a rich set of SharePoint dashboards that allow you to interact with work items directly from the dashboard as well easily create an publish reports directly to the dashboard.  There are two versions of the dashboards – one built for the WSS and one built for MOSS.  The MOSS dashboards are more advanced and heavily leverage Excel Services for custom reporting.  Those dashboards include:

As always, let me know if you have any specific questions about the new template or how it differs from MSF CMMI 4.2.  I’ve referenced quite a few topics above but I’d highly recommend you read through the entire set of process guidance here as it gives a great overview as well as specific guidance on how the template can be used.

Comments (6)

  1. Also all of the new fields on the Bug WIT for all of the new MTM features.  Especially the switch from Microsoft.VSTS.CMMI.StepsToReproduce to Microsoft.VSTS.TCM.ReproSteps.

  2. ClaraOscura says:

    The new MSF for CMMI v5.0 process guidance does not mention tracks, workstreams or activities anymore. It does not contain the governance part it had before, nor the team model. Why is this? Are this not part of MSF for CMMI anymore?

  3. Aaron Bjork says:

    With v5.0 we took a different approach with the guidance after listening to feeback from customers.  As you stated, the 4.x guidance emphasized work streams, tracks, activities and it is still very relevant when it comes to applying MSF.  With v5.0 we chose to focus on best practices and a more practical approach to managing projects that requires less familiarity with the concepts included in MSF.  

    The 4.x guidance can be found online for download at…/details.aspx.

  4. Amy S says:

    Just to clarify MSF CMMI 5.0 works with all the new features of MTM correct?  Our internal architect team who manages our TFS servers is telling us we have to move from CMMI to Agile 5.0 in order to utilize MTM.

  5. Aaron Bjork says:

    That's right Amy.  MSF CMMI 5.0 works with all the features of MTM.  

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