As a business owner, you’re constantly looking for ways to improve.
There are always ways in which you can make your business better.
Maybe you are looking to increase your productivity?
Improve customer satisfaction levels?
Or even find ways to better utilize your precious time?
All of that can seem super overwhelming -
But it doesn’t have to be that way!
Business process management (BPM) tools are having a massive impact on businesses.
They’re taking so many organizations to the next level.
And one of the most popular tools is the CMMI model.
By using business process management tools businesses around the world have seen huge improvements.
Trust me - I’ve seen it!
We’ve helped some of them do it!
Using CMMI and other BPM tools...
We've helped businesses improve their productivity by over 45%.
But sometimes it can be difficult to know where to begin when it comes to CMMI.
That’s why I’ve created this guide to help you understand everything.
In this guide, we’re going to cover:
What CMMI actually is
What appraisals are
What CMMI maturity and capability levels are
The benefits of using CMMI
My top tips for successful CMMI implementation
So that you can get started right away.
And before you know it…
You’ll be seeing incredible results.
Talk to the Automation Experts!
What is CMMI?
CMMI Maturity and Capability Levels
What are the benefits of CMMI?
So what exactly is CMMI anyway?
CMMI stands for: Capability Maturity Model Integration.
Essentially, CMMI is a model used to improve business processes.
The main goal is to help businesses develop behaviours that make them more productive and efficient.
As well as ensuring risk reduction in product and service development.
It was first introduced by the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.
And was developed as a way to help companies to advance their business operations.
CMMI is used to help your business thrive.
Thousands of companies all over the world have used the CMMI method.
And they have seen huge amounts of success because of it.
That’s because CMMI is a highly structured and thorough model.
Which means that businesses are able to address every single issue that they have.
And can then focus on detailed plans regarding how to solve them.
It also leaves businesses with the ability to control and streamline their operations in the future.
Leading to a more high-level business model…
And amazing results.
Take a recent client of ours…
This year, we worked with a UK based accounting firm.
They came to us desperately needing help.
They were struggling to keep up with their workload…
And they were experiencing losses instead of gains at the end of the year.
Which is something no business wants to see.
Luckily, we were there to help them out.
Using the CMMI model, we took an in depth look at their business processes…
And found so many ways they could improve!
For example -
We found that they were wasting over 30 hours per week on repetitive admin tasks.
Tasks such as:
Replying to initial client emails manually
Storing and locating documents
Manually sending out invoices
This meant that their accountants were struggling to find the time each day to complete high value jobs.
And that was seriously damaging to their company.
So, what did we do?
Alongside identifying all the areas that needed to be improved…
And providing a detailed business advancement plan…
We developed business automation software that was able to take care of those menial tasks.
Leaving their employees with enough time to focus on the stuff that really mattered.
And guess what happened?
Not only did they save over 30 hours per week…
They saw their profits go up.
By over 27%.
If you want to see those sorts of results too…
Why not get in touch and let us help you?
The CMMI model has this structure:
2. Maturity or Capability Levels
There are two alternate versions of the CMMI model that are used to implement change.
These are Staged Representation and Continuous Representation.
While both methods are proven to be hugely successful…
They have some key differences to consider.
Staged Representation is essentially a gradually stepped approach to business process management.
The aim here is to break down the process into stages.
This method includes maturity levels.
Which are ways of organising sets of process areas.
Staged Representation is not a black-and-white approach to improving business operations…
Think of it as more of a guide.
The step-by-step approach is helpful as it makes it easy to organise your ideas…
And it gives you a way of seeing exactly where you are in your improvement journey.
While Staged Representation is a clear, step-by-step approach…
Continuous Representation is more of a varied approach.
It offers many different paths to reaching your goals.
Instead of maturity levels, Continuous Representation includes capability levels.
Capability levels focus on improvement steps for individual process areas…
As opposed to sets of process areas like maturity levels.
This means that this approach is more detailed and specific.
And allows businesses to pick and choose which specific process areas they want to work on.
Both Staged Representation and Continuous Representation are incredibly useful.
Deciding on which to use depends entirely on your unique business needs.
The first step to the CMMI method is appraisals.
Appraisals are a tool used to evaluate your current business processes…
And find out all your strengths and weaknesses.
This will allow you to have a clear understanding of the process areas you will want to focus on.
Appraisals mainly centre on three areas:
Service and process development
Process formation and management
The acquisition of products and services
During the appraisal process, it’s super important to be as thorough as possible.
Too many businesses neglect this part…
As it is often highly detailed and time consuming.
But spending time on the appraisal section has massive benefits.
It gives you the opportunity to see every single thing that’s going on in your business operations.
Which is helpful in the long run…
As it means nothing is overlooked.
So you can rest assured that you have managed your processes to the highest standard.
When using the CMMI model, appraisals must be compliant with the guidelines set out by the Appraisal Requirements for CMMI (ARC) document.
This is to make sure that everything is done correctly and with maximum effectiveness.
The CMMI Institute uses an official appraisal system known as:
Standard CMMI Appraisal Method for Process Improvement.
There are three classes of appraisal procedures within this:
SCAMPI Class A:
This class is the most thorough and formal.
It is usually used by businesses that have already well along the improvement process.
And have implemented obvious and often significant changes.
This appraisal can only be carried out by a certified lead appraiser.
Who works in conjunction with an on-site appraisal team.
Because of this, SCAMPI A is the only class that can result in an official level rating.
SCAMPI Class B:
Class B is generally used by companies that have begun their improvement process.
They are likely to have implemented a few changes and want to see where else they need to improve.
This is often much less formal and expensive than SCAMPI Class A.
And will give you a good idea of what level you are at.
As well as what you will need to do to get to the next level.
SCAMPI Class C:
Class C appraisals are a quick and affordable option.
Here, a company is given a fast appraisal to evaluate their business processes.
And then it is determined how well they align with CMMI best practices.
This is a great option for when you are right at the beginning of your process improvement journey.
And is suitable for all businesses - both big and small.
Appraisals are the best way to figure out where your business is lacking.
And on what level you are operating.
It is likely that you will have a number of appraisals throughout this process.
As it is an essential part of gauging how well you are doing.
So don’t forget to get appraised ASAP!
Earlier I talked about maturity and capability levels.
But what are these exactly?
Let’s take a look…
Maturity levels are used in the Staged Representation approach.
After an appraisal has been completed a company will be awarded a level...
According to how well the company has achieved the specific goals outlined in each level.
These goals are attached to a particular set of process areas.
Maturity levels range from 1 to 5.
Level 5 is the highest level and the ultimate goal for companies to aspire to.
The five CMMI Maturity levels are:
Maturity Level 1 - Initial
A business that has a maturity level of 1 is generally considered to be chaotic.
Their processes are unpredictable and often poorly managed.
A company at this level is reactive -
Meaning they complete tasks as they arise instead of planning for them.
They spend a lot of time putting out fires.
This usually results in a working environment that is unstable.
Which means that team members are often struggling to perform tasks successfully as a result.
It also means that there is increased risk involved in the operation.
And that product and service development is inefficient.
This is most definitely not where you want to be!
Maturity Level 2 - Managed
At level 2, a businesses’ processes are typically more controlled.
Their processes are repeatable and usually show consistent results.
The CMMI Institute suggests that at this stage, all business processes should be managed.
They should be ‘planned, performed, measured, and controlled.’
However, processes are only typically managed at a project level here.
As opposed to on an operational or departmental level.
So, while this is a step up, there is still a lot of improvement needed.
Maturity Level 3 - Defined
The main difference between maturity levels 2 and 3 is that level 3 is proactive.
This means that companies are actively planning and working on tasks and problems before they arise.
Here, businesses are also operating with operation-wide standards that are well defined.
Meaning that there is consistency in processes across all departments.
Allowing guidance for employees, leading to much higher-quality work.
Maturity Level 4 - Quantitatively Managed
At level 4 there is an expectation that processes will be data-driven.
Processes are standardized and easily measured.
Companies operating at a level 4 use quantitative data…
In order to execute predictable processes that meet organizational targets.
Because of this, all employees and stakeholders should fully understand the processes.
And are able to confidently replicate the operations in a variety of environments.
Maturity Level 5 - Optimizing
Maturity level 5 is the final level and the ultimate goal.
In order to achieve level 5, processes must be organized, stable and flexible.
While level 5 is a goal, it is not the end point.
Processes need to be continuously monitored and immediately updated as needed.
That way companies will always be able to keep on top of new technologies and trends.
And make sure that employees are always able to perform their jobs to the best of their ability.
Capability levels are used in the Continuous Representation method.
They are similar to maturity levels…
But there are some key differences!
Capability levels start at level 0 and end at level 5.
The goal of these levels is to map a company’s performance and process improvement.
And to measure these against practice areas defined in each level.
Capability levels are an evolutionary path to improving business processes.
Here is what each level entails:
Capability Level 0 - Incomplete
The first and least desirable of all the levels.
Businesses operating at a level 0 are described as having ‘incomplete processes’.
Performances are inconsistent and unorganized.
Either no or very few practices are being met…
Meaning this level doesn’t even include any specific goals.
As they are definitely not being achieved.
Not a good place to be!
Capability Level 1 - Performed
At this level, some attempt has been made to improve processes.
The level 1 specific goals and most practice areas are being met.
But there is still no stability or a complete set of practices being achieved.
So while there may be some progress…
There isn’t enough consistency to prove that changes have directly led to improvement.
Capability Level 2 - Managed
To be awarded level 2, businesses must have achieved practices defined in level 1.
Progress is more apparent and practices are consistently met.
The key word here is ‘managed’ -
A company must show an effort to manage and control all processes.
Some metrics are also observed and collected on an ongoing basis.
However, there is still simplicity here.
And still lots of room for improvement!
Capability Level 3 - Defined
The next level is described as a ‘defined process.’
To move on to capability level 3, a business must meet and then build upon level 2 practices.
Processes here are tailored and adhere to a defined set of organizational standards.
Most projects and tasks are high-quality and actively contribute to assets.
And businesses make a genuine effort to focus on their objectives.
On the right track!
Capability Level 4 - Quantitatively Managed
Capability level 4 takes the ‘defined’ aspect of level 3 -
And goes a step further by using statistical and quantitative techniques.
This allows for a more detailed and controlled understanding of operations.
There is a comprehensive set of standards that a business adheres to…
And manages closely and regularly…
With the aim to improve performance and increase progress.
Capability Level 5 - Optimizing
Level 5 is the top level that organizations should aim for.
Here, businesses meet the practice areas and goals of all other levels.
But they take it even further.
There is consistent review and analysis of business performance…
In order for companies to quickly recognize and rectify issues.
Improvement is still a goal even for level 5 businesses.
And the detailed, defined and consistent approach…
Leads to amazing results!
So there you go -
The CMMI model in all its glory!
But even though you now know all the ins and outs of this business process management method…
You may still be wondering what the specific benefits are.
And there are tonnes - trust me!
Here are just a few of the amazing benefits:
1. Increased productivity
Productivity is always an issue for businesses - big or small.
There is always more that can be done.
But how to increase productivity without having a negative effect on employee satisfaction levels?
It can be tricky!
That’s why using a business process management tool -
Such as CMMI -
Can be so beneficial!
One of the main reasons why businesses struggle with increasing productivity…
Is that they have no idea what they’re doing wrong!
CMMI helps organizations to analyze their business processes in detail.
So that they can identify where things are not working as well as they should.
We recently had a client that came to us looking for help with productivity.
They were a small online retail business that weren’t seeing the results they should.
They found that they were struggling to get their tasks finished every day.
Meaning they were seeing losses at the end of the year…
Over $19,000 in losses, in fact.
They seriously needed our help.
So we took a deep look at their processes -
Analyzing in detail -
And found so many ways they could improve their productivity!
One of the things we found was that they were spending too much time on the small tasks.
You know the kind.
Tasks that are tedious and low-skill, but that still need to be done.
So what did we do?
We helped them to see exactly why their business processes were inefficient.
Then, we worked with them to create an in-depth plan to make significant changes.
And developed high-quality automation software that did those small, data heavy tasks for them.
Not only did they see improvements in their profits…
They saved over 34,000 hours a year.
2. Higher customer satisfaction levels
Customers can make or break a business.
In more ways than one!
That’s why it’s so important to make sure your customers are happy and satisfied.
Which is why CMMI and other business process management methods are so helpful.
When you analyze your business processes…
The areas in which you need to improve become suddenly clear.
And looking at why your customer satisfaction levels aren’t as high as they should be makes a huge difference.
Most companies don’t gear their processes towards their customers or clients.
Which can have a detrimental effect on their businesses’ success.
So managing your business processes can help you make huge improvements.
And leave you with happy customers.
Which is exactly what you want.
3. Comprehensive change
Because the CMMI method is so in-depth…
It means businesses are able to make comprehensive changes.
CMMI focuses on so many different areas of an organization.
Data storage and analyzing
Product and service development
Process and standard creation
Customer relationship management
Basically, any and all aspects of a business!
CMMI helps you to improve each part of your workflow - from the beginning to the end.
Nothing is left out!
Which means you are almost guaranteed to see spectacular results.
Now that you have seen how fantastic CMMI is…
You must be eager to get started!
But beginning a new process can be overwhelming.
Which is why I’m going to give you a few of my top tips for implementing CMMI methods into your business.
1. Have clear goals
Each step of the CMMI method -
Whether you are using Staged or Continuous Representation -
Has a set of goals and practice areas you should aim for.
But it’s important to have your own goals too.
This is so that you can have a clear vision of what you want to achieve.
And you don’t get muddled or lost along the way.
This is also why appraisals are so beneficial.
They mean that you can really understand what is happening in your business.
And know exactly what you need to improve.
Then, you can sit down and figure out a comprehensive set of goals.
Which will set you on the right track.
2. Be thorough
There’s never a point in doing something half-heartedly.
Make sure that you are being as thorough as you can be.
For me, it’s really important that a business spends the time to go through every single aspect of their workflow.
And really analyze each and every process.
That way you can make as many improvements as possible.
As well as making sure you don’t miss anything at all.
That’s something you definitely don’t want.
3. Involve the experts
Sometimes it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to improving your business…
That’s why it’s a great idea to get experts involved.
Experts like us!
At Lolly, we are industry-leading when it comes to business process management.
Our process workshops have had massive success.
We can help you to identify the areas you need to improve on…
And work with you to develop a detailed business process improvement plan.
We also create incredible automation software that can make a massive difference to your business.
Why not contact us today?
To recap, we’ve covered:
What CMMI is
What CMMI appraisals are
What the CMMI maturity and capability levels are
The benefits of CMMI
Top Tips for effective CMMI implementation
And now you should know everything you need to know about CMMI.
Ready to get started?
Of course you are!
Why not get the experts to help you?
At Lolly Co, our industry-leading process workshops have already helped tonnes of businesses to make huge improvements
And our developers are here to create top-quality automation software…
So that you can start seeing amazing results.
And before you know it...
Your business will be at a whole new level.
Contact us today!
Discover how your company can reach hyper growth with the power of automation.