Achieving Maturity Levels


This is the final stage of the data analysis rating activity. By examining the individual Maturity ratings as a whole the final TMMi Maturity Level for the Organisation become available.

General considerations for determining overall Maturity Levels

Each TMMi level is empirically achieved. All lower levels of maturity must be achieved to enable a higher Maturity Level to be awarded (even if the higher level has individually achieved Fully or Largely).

If an organisation is being assessed solely at Level 2, it is reasonably simple to understand the way the Maturity Level is achieved. In this case the only concern is evaluating Process Areas at the single Level.

If assessing an organisational unit for Level 3 (and they have, on a previous assessment, achieved Maturity Level 2), the assessment team must be satisfied that the Level 2 rating is still valid. This will normally be confirmed at the same time as evaluating the Level 2 Process Areas against Generic Goal 3.

Therefore, assuming that

  • all Process Areas in Level 3 achieve a Fully or Largely rating and
  • there is evidence that Process Areas in Level 2 are practiced, managed and institutionalised

then the Organisational unit may be awarded a Level 3 rating.

There will often be occasions when an organisational unit is being assessed for multiple levels of maturity at the same time. For example, it is common for assessments to be conducted covering Levels 2 and 3 together (and there have been organisations that have been assessed for Levels 2, 3, 4 and 5 together, with no previous TMMi achievement).

It may be that the Process Areas in the higher maturity levels are performed well (for example, they could be very strong on ‘Defect Prevention’) but the organisational unit is much weaker, and fails, in a lower Maturity Level Process Area such as ‘Test Monitoring and Control’. In this case the higher Maturity Level cannot be awarded because the Lower Maturity Level Process Areas are not achieved.

Thus, it is possible that an organisational unit appears to achieve Levels 3, 4 and 5 but fails to achieve Level 2. In this scenario, the organisational unit fails to achieve any Level. It cannot achieve Levels 3, 4 or 5 if Level 2 is not also achieved.

To summarise: To achieve a Maturity level, both of the following must apply:

  • All Process Areas at the particular Maturity Level must be scored as Fully Achieved or Largely Achieved.
    • This means that all Specific and Generic Goals applicable to the Maturity Level being assessed must be Fully or Largely Achieved for all Process Areas in the lower Levels of the model.
    • More specifically, if assessing at Level 3 or above, Generic Goal 3 for the Level 2 Process Areas must have been assessed and scored as Largely Achieved or Fully Achieved.
    • Just to be clear, if assessing at Level 2 only, Generic Goal 3 for the Level 2 Process Areas need not be assessed and are not taken into account in scoring the Maturity Level.
  • All lower-level Maturity Levels (and therefore all lower-level Process Areas) must be scored as either Fully Achieved or Largely Achieved.

Scenario 1

If we look at an example of an Organisational Unit that has been assessed for TMMi Levels 2 and 3. The table below shows the ratings for all Process Areas. The Process Areas have already been rated according to the rules we saw in the a previous section. Now, following the same rule as used for scoring Process Areas (namely that the weakest score takes precedence) the Maturity level is rated.

If the Maturity level is rated as Fully Achieved or Largely Achieved, then the organisational unit has achieved that Maturity Level. Otherwise they have merely identified their maturity rating for that Level of TMMi.

As each Process Area below has been rated as Fully Achieved. As all three Process Areas within Level 2 have been rated Fully Achieved, then the Maturity Level 2 rating is Fully Achieved. Looking at Level 3 in this scenario, the same applies. As all five Process Areas within Level 3 have been rated Fully Achieved, so the Maturity Level 3 rating is Fully Achieved. This Organisational Unit also achieves a TMMi Maturity Level 3.

Note that the Process Areas for Level 4 and Level 5 have been scored as NR (Not rated).

The example above is a simple one, since all Process Areas were rated as Fully Achieved, but reality is not usually that easy.

Scenario 2

Lest us examine another example of an organisational unit that has been assessed at TMMi Levels 2 and 3. The table below shows the ratings for Process Areas, five for each Maturity Level.

The Process Areas have been rated based on the rule that their rating is the weakest component (Specific or Generic Goal) rating. Then, following the same principle, the Maturity Level is rated.

If the Maturity level is rated as Fully or Largely Achieved, then the Organisational unit has achieved a Maturity Level, otherwise they will merely have identified their maturity rating for that level of TMMi.

In this scenario the Process Areas at Level 2 have been rated as two Fully Achieved and three Largely Achieved. Level 2 thus achieves a rating of Largely Achieved only (the weakest rating of the constituent Process Areas).

Looking at Level 3 in this scenario, while all five Process Areas have been rated Fully Achieved, the overall rating Maturity Level 3 is Largely Achieved, since the rating at Maturity Level 2 was also Largely Achieved

However, the organisational unit has achieved TMMi Maturity Level 3 overall.

Scenario 3

In this example of an assessment against Levels 2, 3, 4 and 5, the lowest rating of the Process Areas at Level 2 is Partially Achieved (for Process Area 2.5) so the overall rating for Maturity Level 2 is also Partially Achieved.

While the lowest ratings of the Process Areas for Levels 3, 4 and 5 is Fully Achieved, their overall ratings are also Partially Achieved, since the lower Level 2 was rated as Partially Achieved.

As a result, the organisational unit has obtained Maturity Level 1, despite the fact that the higher Maturity Levels were performed very well.

Note that Process Area 3.4 was not applicable in the organisation’s context and therefore does not influence the result of the assessment. An explanatory note stating why PA 3.4 is deemed not applicable would need to be provided in the final report and the DSR sent to the Foundation.