Capability Maturity Models

08 September 2021

Meetings are generally not good in startups. This is not because meetings are inherently bad, but the organization processes around meetings are not mature. There are usually a few people who are “good” at meetings and improve their effectiveness and a general low bar for meeting quality. Fortunately instead of using coarse-grained levels like “mature” and “not mature”, there is a framework called the Capability Maturity Model to help us.

The Capability Maturity Model is a tool to guide process improvement, with levels for assessment for how you are doing and what to work on next. What I did not know originally is the CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration) is the successor to the CMI (Capability Maturity Model), I will be using the acronyms interchangeably but referring to the newer Capability Maturity Model Integration.

For meeting hygiene, you might be able to see yourself in these levels:

Level 1 - Initial

  • The process is ad-hoc and reactive
  • Unpredictable quality and do not meet specific objectives

Level 2 - Managed

  • Processes are planned, documented, monitored at the project level, and usually reactive
  • Some consistent results and processes are evaluated to requirements

Level 3 - Defined

  • Processes and standards are well defined and understood at the organizational level, proactively deployed across the entire organization, and improved over time
  • Project level or local tailoring is allowed within limits of the organizational set of standards

Level 4 - Quantitatively Managed

  • Quantitative and statistical techniques are used to improve processes

Level 5 - Optimizing

  • Process management includes deliberate process optimizations

Levels 1 and 2 depend on individual heroics, if a person leaves the process falls apart.