All quality management systems work to a system of Plan Do Check Act. The ISO 9001 uses the PDCA as the basis of a maturity model. Originating from the software industry, and specifically as a methodology to gauge the capabilities of contractors to deliver on projects, maturity models describe five categories of status. These five status-types work on a continuum from being capable of ‘ad hoc’ management practices, through to one where management practices and processes are fully optimised. Status can be assessed across a range of topics, or for individual practices.
Although initially used to assess an organisation, maturity models have become a useful measure by which to self-assess in order to help guide development steps. The International Standards Organisation has adapted a capability maturity model (CMM) into the framework of ISO 9000. The benefit of this model (detailed in ISO 9004) is that an organisation uses it to determine where on the continuum it sits, and uses this as a framework to improve.
There are no legal implications to using a maturity model, although the initial stages can be useful in highlighting potential weaknesses in processes, which could suggest potential breaches.
Managing maturity models in my business
At Spedan, we have adapted existing models of Capability Maturity into a framework of:
|Level 1||Level 2||Level 3||Level 4||Level 4|
|Processes are unpredictable, reactive and either uncontrolled or badly controlled||At a project level, processes are defined but still rely on a highly reactive method of management||Processes are defined, and the approach to management is proactive||Processes are defined, managed proactively and quantitatively measured||Processes are proactively managed, measured and reviewed to focus improvement|
It should be noted that where Level 1 and 2 situations occur, there is a risk that the systems being used could fail an audit by a third party assessment body. The initial focus of the model has been process capability, although over time, we will add further details on how it can be applied within:
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