A Maturity Framework
The Capability Maturity Model, (CMM), is a maturity framework that identifies five phases that organizations go through when they transition from newly created entities to more mature, more established businesses.
The Key Theme
The key theme of the CMM model is to help organizations understand where they are in the present so that they create effective roadmaps that can help them remain competitive in the future. Business experts agree that although the CMM model is more commonly applied to large organizations, the model can also serve as an excellent reference model for small-and-medium-size firms.
The Five Stages
The five CMM stages were developed using examples from the software industry. Whereas new software companies were created by the dozens during the IT explosion of the 1980’s and early 1990’s, many software companies found it difficult to remain viable, once established, in a marketplace that was quickly changing and becoming increasingly competitive.
The Five Phases are:
- The initial phase,
- The repeatable phase,
- The defined phase,
- The managed phase and,
- The optimized phase.
The initial phase is described as the time when a business is functioning in an ad hoc capacity. Few processes are defined, and the entity is dependent on individual effort.
The repeatable phase is described as a time when basic business processes are established to track costs, schedules and functionality. Here the business has the necessary discipline to repeat past successes.
The defined phase is the place where CMM subscribers believe most organizations find themselves – somewhere between Phase Two and Phase Three. Phase Three is described as having an organization that has management’s goals only loosely connected to the organization’s process goals.
The managed phase is when an organization has metrics in place both for processes and quality. It’s in Phase Four that many business academics believe that only a few organizations truly have an organizational-wide understanding of how processes relate to the corporate strategies.
The optimized phase is when an organization has expectations that managers and staff will work together to ensure that the objectives of the employer are consistently met.
Elaine Allan, BA, MBA
Technology & Business Blogger