There are two S3M certification types and two certification levels:

Type 1 – S3M Internal Assessor: Certification for internal assessor (self-assessment); for conducting self-assessments in your organization:

  • Basic Internal Assessor (basic level)

Type 2 – S3M External Assessor: By definition experts in process improvement can become advanced assessors. Certification for third-party assessors (accredited organizations): This certification is necessary for consultants that want to provide S3M assessments to their clients;

  1. If you are completely new to this certification, start with Checking Prerequisites.
  2. If you are ready to submit your first application, see Filing the Request for an Examination(new exam process implemented in 2017)
  3. If you’re ready to schedule your examination, move on to Taking the Examination.

Checking Prerequisites:

Basic Internal Assessors :

Basic Internal Assessors must register as a member to the S3M model (at www.s3m.org).  This basic certification allow them to conduct S3M assessments for the maturity levels 0,1 and 2 of the S3M model within their own organization (for self-improvement purposes).

Basic Internal assessors should be knowledgeable either in software quality assurance(SQA), software engineering or software process improvement. They should have a worked in the field of software maintenance within the previous 12 months and be knowledgeable about the maintenance processes,  techniques and technologies.

Advanced Assessors :

Advanced assessors must register as members to the S3M model (at www.s3m.org). They must have been internal evaluators for a period of at least 12 months. S3M Advanced Assessors should be knowledgeable in infrastructure and operations (ITIL), software maintenance, process mapping, software engineering quality principles (SQA), related IEEE and ISO standards, and CobIT principles. They must also have the basic internal assessors certification and have succesfully conducted S3M assessments within the previous 12 months.

Filing the Request for an Examination

Prepare yourself for the examination, proceed to pay the examination fees* (using Paypal)  and, follow the examination procedure. Only when this procedure has been completed, that your Proctor will obtain the link to the examination.

The S3M certification examination fees are:

  • US$100.00 for Basic internal Assessors
  • US$200.00 for Advanced Assessors
  • US$50.00 for students (You may have any membership level)

*(see S3M Payment Policy) Fees in this program are nonrefundable and non-transferable.

3 Steps to Certification:

  1. Register for S3M Membership on www.s3m.org;
  2. Prepare yourself (see next section);
  3. Follow the examination procedure;
  4. Take the exam.

Taking the examination:

Preparing for your basic S3M examination:

  • Review the S3M Book: Software Maintenance Management
  • Read the chapter of software maintenance of the SWEBOK
  • Understand the CMMi for development generic goals and generic practices and practices that are similar, in software development, to software maintenance. For example: causal analysis and Resolution, Configuration Management, Decision Analysis and Resolution, Organizational Process Definition, Organizational Process Focus, Organisations Process Performance, Organizational Training, Process and Product Quality Assurance, Requirements management, Supplier Agreement Management, Technical Solution, Validation and Verification.
  • Understand the S3M practices from maturity level 0 to 2
  • Understand the S3M short assessment process
  • Read related S3M articles, reports and guides

Preparation for your advanced S3M examination, additional to the basic knowledge:

  • Be familiar with the most recent Malcolm-Baldrige Award criteria
  • Review the most recent version of CoBIT and understand what practices relate to software maintenance
  • Be familiar with the content of ISO12207, ISO14764, ISO20000, ISO25000, ISO90003, ISO15504 and ISO29110
  • Review the Service Design ITIL book (implementation, control & measures) and understand what practices relate to software maintenance
  • Review the Service Transition ITIL book (measures and methods) and understand what practices relate to software maintenance
  • Review the Service Operation ITIL book (process, application management) and understand what practices relate to software maintenance
  • Have executed S3M short assessments as a basic internal assessor, presented results as well as an improvement proposal
  • Read related S3M articles, reports and guides (especially understand each practices)
  • Understand the S3M short assessment process and have a general understanding of the SCAMPI process

When you are ready, file an application through the S3M web site, pay the exam fees, and you will receive a link to the on-line exam.

F.A.Q. (Frequently Asked Questions)

Question: How many questions in the certification exam?
o Answer: There are 100 questions, all based on the contents of a specific version of the Measurement Manual – for the current version, see below;

Question: What is the format of the questions?
o Answer: 80% of the questions are multiple choices, and about 20% are Yes/No.

Question: Do I have to take the exam at a particular place?
o Answer: No, we will send you a link and you will have to answer the questions directly online and finish it within the time allowed.

Question: How much time do I have to take the exam?
o Answer: The time allocated to take the exam is 2 hours.

Question: If I am non-English speaking, can I get extra time to take the exam?
o Answer: There is a French version of the S3M model and its documentsation. If neither English or French is not your native language, you will get an extra half-hour to take the exam (maximum total time allocated = 2 hours + .5 hours)

Question: What if it takes me more time than allowed?
o Answer: There is a time stamp in the exam. One mark/point is deducted for each minute taken (over and above 1 hour) to complete the exam.

Question: Will I be allowed to refer to the references?
o No, it is an ‘closed-book’ examination.

Question: Are any of the questions specific to a particular software domain, e.g. business
applications or real-time, defense versus financial institutions?
o No, you should not need knowledge of any specific domain to answer the questions.

Question: What is the pass-level for the exam in 2017?
o Answer: 65 percent of the questions must be answered correctly

Question: What is the expiry date of the S3M assessor certificate?
o Answer: There is no expiry date for the certificate. The certificate is valid for the S3Mversion for which you took the exam, and only for this version.