The staged representation is concerned with selecting multiple process areas to improve within a maturity level; whether individual processes are performed or incomplete is not the primary focus. Therefore, the name “Initial” is given to the staged representation starting point.


To support those who use the staged representation, all CMMI models reflect maturity levels in their design and content. A maturity level consists of related specific and generic practices for a predefined set of process areas that improve the organization’s overall performance.

The maturity level of an organization provides a way to characterize its performance. Experience has shown that organizations do their best when they focus their process improvement efforts on a manageable number of process areas at a time and that those areas require increasing sophistication as the organization improves.

A maturity level is a defined evolutionary plateau for organizational process improvement. Each maturity level matures an important subset of the organization’s processes, preparing it to move to the next maturity level. The maturity levels are measured by the achievement of the specific and generic goals associated with each predefined set of process areas.

The staged representation provides a path of improvement from maturity level 1 to maturity level 5 that involves achieving the goals of the process areas at each maturity level. To support those who use the staged representation, process areas are grouped by maturity level, indicating which process areas to implement to achieve each maturity level.


Maturity Level 1 Initial
At maturity level 1, processes are usually ad hoc and chaotic.
Maturity Level 2 Managed (CMMI-DEV)
At maturity level 2, the projects have ensured that processes are planned and executed in accordance with policy; the pr…
Maturity Level 3 Defined (CMMI-DEV)
At maturity level 3, processes are well characterized and understood, and are described in standards, procedures, tools,…
Maturity Level 4 Quantitatively Managed (CMMI-DEV)
At maturity level 4, the organization and projects establish quantitative objectives for quality and process performance…
Maturity Level 5 Optimizing (CMMI-DEV)
At maturity level 5, an organization continually improves its processes based on a quantitative understanding of its bus…