The Capability Maturity Model is a process a company uses in order to improve its processes in order to achieve company goals. CMM was actually developed for the purpose of software development improvement but now that applications to general business aspects are possible many companies have used the model too.
For companies to fully achieve an improvement in its processes, they would have to go through 5 stages. Companies would generally begin with no documented procedures. People would likely proceed differently from one project to the other.
At the second level, companies would start to document the basic established processes. With proper process documentation, they are also starting to be organized. Budgets and schedules are also started to be monitored. But processes are not strictly implemented so departments would also over budget and they don’t necessarily meet deadlines.
When companies reach the third level, they now would have established standardized processes and so these practices can now be followed and results could be replicated. These processes are established to create a consistency in processes performance.
When they get to the fourth stage, companies are now capable of using metrics to monitor, to control and to predict the performance and the improvement of processes.
Then finally companies are set to step up to CMM Level 5 where they are already in the optimizing level. CMM Level 5 companies are at a stage where they are just continuing their efforts of process improvement through modification of existing established processes. Quantitative process improvement goals are continuously revised as business goals changes. While Level 4 is focused on a narrower spectrum, Level 5 is concerned in finding the common need for process improvement so as to achieve the final quantitative improvement goals.