Capability Maturity Model (CMM) and You – Demystified

In layman’s terms – how sane are you and your organization, so I can choose to (or not to) do business with you? <Wonder who ever got the crazy idea that people would be honest enough to drive business away>

Pls note that I have intentionally added the individual piece (“You”) here, as usually the sum of all intellectual capability roles up to the organizational level, and your company can only be as good or as bad as the collective mindset of its individuals.

So what does CMM mean?

There are 5 levels to this model:

Level 1 – Initial, it sucks to be here. This is typically when you are still a newborn and can only react to external stimuli, based on the DNA coding (reflex behavior, we are born with this, lucky us) of your genes. You fight for survival and sometimes succeed and more often fail. This is level 1 (also termed as Initial). You have still not understood your capabilities and limitations and are struggling to find out what you can do and what you cannot do (and how as well). Wow <I would have loved to call this as Level 0, not sure why the benefit of doubt was accorded!>

Level 2 – Repeatable. It starts getting better from here on (only slightly). You either continue to repeat your mistakes or start learning from them. You now know what works and what does not, and hopefully have started compiling a list of all the stuff that works. You are now aware that you should follow a defined set of actions (read standards, the magic word here) to achieve certain outcomes <very important, if you have not got this yet, then I must say you are still at Level 0, and need to work harder, and stop whining>

Level 3 – Defined. Well you now know that out of the list of Don’t Do’s and Do’s, you should start following the Do’s more often. You think it is worth your while to know more about the Do’s and start worrying about how to spread the knowledge and ensure everyone in your organization knows the same. You obviously don’t want to look like a fool / get hurt when everyone else still yells murder, for being asked to follow a certain sequence of steps / activities. You need to recognize that its time to communicate better and probably have a Quality department to back you up from now on. Believe me, it works.

Level 4 – Managed. This is one hell of a level to be in. If you have reached here, what it means is you have barely survived by the skin of your teeth <not even sure how this phrase came out, considering that teeth do not have skin, if any one has any clue, pls throw some light>, You have obviously escaped being mauled down by your own team for thrusting down lot of “Processes” on them. Congratulations. From here on, you are entitled to having a set of “Managers” whose job it is to ensure that you stay at Level 4 or can move up to level 5.

Managers will obviously try and ensure that your performance is consistent, measurable and improves, through various metrics, parameters and space age techniques that lesser mortals would never know. <As an individual, welcome to your first experience of data driven proof of why you do not deserve a pay hike post your appraisal 🙂 >

Level 5 – Optimizing. It means what it means. At this level, individuals and organization continuously try and outsmart their previous benchmarks (individual, process and organization level performance) and follies. They do this by taking the help of Technology and Process changes <blame it on innovation, who’s going to argue>

Note: Now why do we have CMM at all, will probably be another post when I feel like it.

Let me know your views.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. jak says:

    This site was… how do I say it? Relevant!!

    Finally I have found something which helped me. Thanks a lot!


    1. Himesh KC says:

      Thanks for stopping by. Great feedback..

      cheers, himesh


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