millions of dollars in profit expected to come from it, that's a very nerve-racking experience. I would guess that they have put some new configuration management procedures in that company so that they have the base lines and they have the mark out of the way, and you don't lose the golden egg, if you will. And that kind of thing happens all too often in organizations that don't have a good configuration management system in place.
Carol: And it's hard enough to write software in the first place that you don't want to have to go and rewrite it. In fact, based on the fact that it's gone missing or… isn't the whole thing about the CMM applying a discipline, forcing yourself to, I guess, to become organized?
Mark: Absolutely. And that's the exact point that we make when we are training people on the CMM, that it's basically just common sense stuff. And whenever we're talking to folks about the Capability Maturity Model, one of the things that we wind up saying is, this is just common sense. If there's anything that you are doing that you think is not a good common sense thing to do as the result of doing process improvement, then it would probably be a good idea to stop doing that and think about what you should do in order to do reasonable things, you know. And so if schedules and cost and budgets are important things in your environment, then you need to think about requirements, management and planning, and tracking and those fundamental management disciplines. And it's not that we don't know the right things to do, it's that we're so busy scurrying around fighting fires that we don't take the time, if you will, to do the right things that we know how to do.
Carol: And it's sometimes that when you get into those crisis modes, if you don't have a plan of attack while it's not an attack in the first place, it can go awry very quickly. And having hid -- well we all know how plans sometimes go awry and even more so in software. Once the company has, you know, the requirements and the planning and the basic tracking and the ability to manage the subcontractor, software quality assurance, fundamental configuration management in place, in that Level 2, where do they go from there? What does that mean to be Level 3 or Level 4 or Level 5?
Mark: Well Level 3 is where we really start getting to the point where we can start talking about being a high maturity organization. Less than 20 percent of the organizations are at Level 3. Less than five percent are at Levels 4 and 5. So you're talking about the top quartile when you get into Levels 3, 4, and 5.
When we talk about Level 3, what we are fundamentally talking about is putting a, if you will, a learning system in place, an organizational learning system. So that when we learn something, we have the mechanisms in place that other projects can learn from what we have done without having to go through the same trial and error kind of experience, that we don't lose the knowledge that we have acquired sometimes quite painfully. And so it deals with you know defining common processes that are used on multiple projects in consistent ways within the training in place so that people have the kind of tools that they need to do their job in terms of both training and software tools and infrastructure. It's putting