Perhaps we should start with the question below
Capabilities are most often defined as ‘The ability to mobilise resources to achieve an Aim’. This is quite a general description but it captures the essence of what a Capability is.
The strength of understanding and managing Capabilities is that it can apply at any organisation group or level and, to any person or thing. From a Business & Management perspective we are mainly concerned about the Capabilities of:
Ultimately a Business, Organisation, Team or Functions; Performance, Practices and Culture are determined by the level of their Capabilities (Often referred to as their Maturity, Functioning Level or Learning Level)
Capabilities encompass the often sophisticated ‘Inters’ within and Organisation system, sub-system and elements which ultimately determines outcomes and outputs. For example, if we take a ‘Work Activity’ in an organisation process the, effectiveness and outputs are determined by many factors within that activity and many external factors (Skills, Attitude, Data, Machines, Techniques, Process, Environment etc. etc). Capability Maturity Management is a means of understanding, managing and improving outputs and outcomes in this sophisticated scenario, especially in times of VUCA.
Because organisations are complex systems made up of many diverse elements that usually influence or impact on each other in different ways. We describe these influences or impacts as ‘The Inters’.
Interrelationship: The way in which two or more things or people are connected and affect one another.
Interconnected: Different parts, people or things that are connected or related.
Interoperable: The ability or two or more people or things to share information and/or resources.
Interdependent: The state of two or more people or things being dependent upon one another
Interlayered: A person or thing inserted between other persons or things (layers)
Intercepted: To take, touch, monitor, halt or someone or something on its way to a destination.
Intervention: the act of interfering with the outcome or course someone or something.
Intermediated: Lying or occurring between two extremes or in a middle position or state for persons or things.
Capability Maturity Reference Modelling is a means of representing the Organisation system and its ‘Inters’ to provide a Framework & Simplification to plan and execute Change, Transformation and Improvement.
The Maturity Level for Capability Management is the measurement scale which is used to define the specific traits and performance at each defined level in the scale for each specific Capability. Many maturity models use descriptive scales with 5 levels, some use a normative and scientific 7 or 15 level scale. Dynamic Systems Maturity Theory (DSMT) identifies 15 discreet maturity levels, while OrgCMF™ Reference Models use a more practical 7 level normative scale based on DSMT.
The Maturity Level may also be stated as the Functioning Level of an Organisation, Team or Specific Capability which can be measured and stated as the existing habituated level (measured level). So, the Maturity Level describes the Functioning Level and explains the consequential Performance, Practices and Behaviours.
The Maturity Level also may be stated as the ‘Learning Level’ for an Organisation, Team or Specific Capability. The ‘Learning Level’ may be described as the ability to change, in other words the nature, magnitude and frequency of change that can gain sustainable traction (In effect the Agility).
By understanding the Maturity Level of an Organisation, Team or Specific Capability we can understand why it performs at a specific level and its ability to respond to change. This is important because Transformation and Change Programs usually have performance targets and aims from a business perspective, and to attain those targets and aims usually requires building new capabilities and building the Maturity level of some existing capabilities. It must do this in order to achieve the target business and change objectives within the desired time-frames.
By understanding the existing Maturity level (Learning Level) Change and Transformation actions can be calibrated to assure they gain sustainable traction and build Agility, as the identified Capabilities are built through the Capability Development Process/Roadmap.
Research that led to DSMT identified that the lower Maturity Levels (OrgCMF™ levels (1-3)/7) are disintegrative, and do not have the ability to take on board change without support and assistance. Reviewing each stage of the Development Roadmap for the Measured entity or capability from Level 1 to ensure all foundation Capabilities are in place is a key requirement at these lower levels of Maturity.
Equally the higher Maturity Levels (OrgCMF™ Levels (5-7)/7) are integrative and have the capacity to take on board change without significant additional support at the measured level’s development guidance.
Maturity Level 4 (Operational) is borderline and may be either Integrative or Disintegrative and special care needs to be taken when implementing change actions at this level validating all Capability indicators for that level are in place.
A reference model in systems, organisation, and engineering is an abstract framework or domain-specific ontology consisting of an interlinked set of clearly defined concepts produced by an expert or body of experts in order to encourage clear communication. A reference model can represent the component parts of any consistent idea, from business functions to system components, as long as it represents a complete set. This frame of reference can then be used to communicate ideas clearly among members of the same community.
A Capability Maturity Model (CMM) is a Reference Model that represents a defined Organisation System and/or sub-system that identifies and defines each Capability and its building blocks for every Maturity Level on a defined and accepted maturity scale. Thus, enabling users of the model to identify the relevant Capabilities to their business aims and objectives, assess their existing maturity levels and improve those capabilities to target maturity levels they deem important to achieve their objectives.
A reference framework is a Body of Knowledge, Reference Model, Guides, Tools, Platforms and Standard that represents researched and practiced approaches that reflect shared learning and best practice in an ecosystem or domain.
A Capability Maturity Framework (CMF) is a set of artefacts and tools that enable a user to identify the current capability maturity of their Organisation, Team, Function, Capability and its Capability Building Blocks, identify new capabilities required and maturity level improvements required to achieve a specific output and outcomes. A Framework normally includes: -
A Capability Maturity Reference Model
A Body of Knowledge
A means to Measure or Assess Maturity against the Model
A methodology to integrate Capability Improvement into Transformation, Change or Improvement Programs
A Maturity Development process for every Capability and the levels of the Model overall
Supporting evidence of the management science that underpins the CMM
The selection criteria for the Reference Model should include:
Based on independent & objective scientific research.
Normative reference base (measurement standard).
Accessible, Useful & Usable by Industry & Professionals.
Community led Application and Development
Value Added Ecosystem for derived knowledge and tools
Represent latest Knowledge & Best Practice
The ‘Reference Model & Framework’ should be chosen to support the specific Improvement, Change or Transformation objectives of the organisation, and connect both investment and action with achieving those objectives.
Whether it’s a tactical, short, or long-term strategic initiative, the use of the Model & Framework should guide the user Organisation, Teams and Individuals on the appropriate priorities, actions and impacts expected, day to day and over the long term. A good Model & Framework helps individuals and teams deal with the sophistication, complexity and interrelationships within and Organisation System.
A Reference Model & Framework is about providing useful and accurate information to the Organisation, Teams & Individuals if and when they need it, to achieve their target aims and ambitions in a sustainable manner, reducing risk and enhancing successful outcomes. It does this by helping provide answers to questions like?
What is our current performance and why?
Where do we need to start?
What are our priorities?
Have we missed anything?
What capabilities do we need to achieve our aims and objectives?
What tactical and/or strategic investment/actions should we take?
Are we progressing? & How well are we progressing?
How do we compare with XXX?
How do we overcome or improve YYY?
There are two critical Information components in a ‘Reference Framework’ that assure its value to Organisations, Teams & Individuals.
Body of Knowledge
An additional component of Information comes from the Organisation’s own knowledge and competence, which is the 3rd and final essential component that enables the realization of the Framework Value.
The Organisation Maturity Index (OMI)
The Team Maturity Index (TMI)
The Digital Maturity Index (DMI)