M3–The Sequel

[article]
Real Guidelines for Improving the Maturity Process
Summary:

Over the years our industry has witnessed an explosion of maturity models. Last month I published a tongue-in-cheek column on this subject, "The Maturity Maturity Model™ (M3)." In this follow-up column, I hope to offer some actual constructive comments on the concept of maturity. For your reading pleasure, I included a list of thirty-four "Maturity Models" at the end. All thirty-four are real, including the "Broccoli Maturity Model." (You couldn't make this stuff up!)

In her upcoming book, Zenquiry: A Practice Manual , Elizabeth Hamilton describes five levels of maturity. As I listen to stories that practitioners in my classes tell about their organizations, and in my own consulting practice, I have experienced human behaviors associated with these levels:

Infant
At this maturity level, people easily become hysterical. They shout how angry they are, bang on tables, and throw tantrums. This "over the edge" behavior rarely effectively addresses real problems. Rather, it often leads to hopelessness and despair. Examples include: "What do you mean you found bugs in the system?!? You testers are always in the way of progress" and "I want that product out the door by 5 p.m. tomorrow or you're out the door. Understood!?!"

Child
At this maturity level, people are often needy. They can be clinging and manipulative, expecting others to satisfy their needs and make them happy. At this level they see "others" as agents of change. The "child" has no ability to change either himself or his surroundings. Examples include: "If my boss doesn't come up with a new Wizbang 3000 CPU for me, I'll just slow down this project I'm working on" and "There's nothing I can do to improve. My boss is responsible for the testing process. That's why she's paid the big bucks."

Adolescent
At this maturity level, people may be rebellious. "You can't make me" is a commonly heard phrase. Being "cool" (or "hot" depending on your generation) is vital. Examples include: "Well, design reviews may be alright, but we don't need them on my project" and "Yes, I know we all just went through Java training but we've got to do this next project in Python. It's the newest language."

Parental
At this maturity level, people portray themselves as competent and authoritative, even though they may not be. They often minimize their own needs in order to fulfill the needs of others. Fault finding and correction is common. "This is for your own good" is a phrase often heard at this maturity level. Examples include: "You've got to follow these coding standards. It's for your own good" and "That isn't the way we code the Composite pattern in Java. Here, move over, watch, and learn."

Adult
At this maturity level, people have become fully functional and fully responsible for their actions. They see others as different from themselves but as equally valuable. They respect the diverse capabilities of others. Examples include: "I think it's vital we get tellers from downtown, the big branches, and some of the smaller branches so we hear all their needs" and "Let's invite Norm to the review. I don't agree with some of his ideas but it's important that he is heard" and "That's my mistake. I'm responsible for that."

Watch and listen to people in your organization. Evaluate their maturity level. Watch and listen to yourself. Evaluate your own. If you are unhappy with your actions, change them. Now, as promised, for your reading pleasure…

Here's a list of a few of the more prominent maturity models:

  1. Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI)
  2. Capability Maturity Model for Software (SW-CMM)
  3. People Capability Maturity Model (P-CMM)
  4. Software Acquisition Capability Maturity Model (SA-CMM)
  5. Software Engineering Capability Maturity Model (SE-CMM)
  6. Integrated Product Development Capability Maturity Model (IPD-CMM)
  7. IT Service Capability Maturity Model (IT Service CMM)
  8. Organizational Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3)
  9. Services Maturity Model
  10. Self-Assessment Maturity Model (SAMM)
  11. Testing Maturity Model (TMM)
  12. Web Services Maturity Model
  13. Security Maturity Model (SMM)
  14. Operations Maturity Model
  15. e-Learning Maturity Model
  16. e-Government Maturity Model
  17. Earned Value Management Maturity Model (EVM3)
  18. Outsourcing Management Maturity Model
  19. Change Proficiency Maturity

About the author

Lee Copeland's picture Lee Copeland

Lee Copeland has more than thirty years of experience in the field of software development and testing. He has worked as a programmer, development director, process improvement leader, and consultant. Based on his experience, Lee has developed and taught a number of training courses focusing on software testing and development issues. Lee is the managing technical editor for Better Software magazine, a regular columnist for StickyMinds.com, and the author of A Practitioner's Guide to Software Test Design. Contact Lee at lcopeland@sqe.com.

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