How I use a CMM to plan, mature and assess our EA practice

We all know James McGovern has a strong dislike for things like CMMi and heavy weight processes but I wanted to share a light weight way to use a Capability Maturity Model to plan and build out your Enterprise Architecture. This tool has been a great way for me to build an EA practice from scratch.

In April 2005, I successfully competed for the Enterprise Architect position in the IT Services department at BCIT. Here is the list of initial responsibilities of the position:

  • Developing and delivering presentations on EA to all levels of the organization
  • Detailed development of the Data/Information EA as part of an TEK activity (Information Access and Management 3 Year Action Plan)
  • Participation and assimilation into departmental processes and projects
  • Approving all Project Charters and Change Requests for EA compliance
  • Development of a plan for the integration and maturation of EA
  • Provide direction and guidance for all technology related acquisitions

At the suggestion of my Director, I tried using a simple CMM to develop a plan for integration and maturation of EA. It took many iterations and consultation with colleagues and senior IT leadership to be able to publish a plan. The end result is the maturity plan I use to grow our EA practice.

Steps I took to build this model:

  1. Identify 5 stages of maturity (processes: Level 1=Informal, Level 2=Development, Level 3=Defined, Level 4=Managed, Level 5=Optimized)
  2. List Attributes that describe the maturity level
  3. Develop Attribute Descriptions for further clarification
  4. Review with stakeholders particularly management and peers
  5. Create a spreadsheet to record the CMM
  6. Evaluate and score each Attribute (I used a simple scale of 0=not started, 0.5=underway, 1=complete)
  7. Total scores for each level to determine CMM level and total EA Maturity score
  8. Publish and review regularly (annually might be the best option)

Below is an image of the spreadsheet with the EA CMM, that I use. If you would like a copy of the document, please email me.