Personal Maturity versus Organizational Maturity in CMMI® – a Presentation

Let us look at the concept of maturity as used for human beings. We often refer to a friend or a colleague as “mature” or “immature”. So what does mature mean in the context of a human being?

Or what would be expected of a mature person as against an immature person?

In training programs when I have asked the participants this question, here is a typical set of terms they use to distinguish a mature person from an immature person (many of the terms may overlap in their meaning, and you may come up with a slightly different list).

Mature Person Immature Person
Reliable Unreliable
Meets commitments May not meet commitment
Dependable Undependable
Responds (after thinking) Reacts (without thinking)
Uses available data for decision making Ignores any data available
Learns from others Refuses to learn from others (“I am different”)
Learns from own past mistakes/ successes Refuses to learn from the past
Plans and reassess plans Does not plan
Proactive Reactive
Firm (but not rude) Fickle (and sometimes rude)
Knows how to say “NO” gracefully Can’t say “NO” gracefully
Prepared for risks Totally unprepared

Well, conceptually I don’t see too much difference between the maturity of an individual and that of an organization, in terms of these characteristics. And just like we personally like to deal with persons who have the “mature” characteristics, customers, suppliers, and employees would like to deal with mature organizations.

Another concept is that a person may be very mature in one aspect of his/ her life (like mature as a professional engineer) and may be relatively immature in another aspect (like managing his/ her personal finances). Similarly, an organization that is mature in its delivery processes may be relatively immature in its sales/ marketing processes.

Some people become more mature as they age, some get stuck, and a few regress – just like organizations. Some become mature with the passage of time, some take help of mentors and coaches, and others become mature through self-study and practice. As they learn new things, they time to internalize these new habits (and institutionalize them), before taking up further new things to master. The same applies to organizations too.

CMMI® models can be used by organizations to assess their maturity (in some aspects of their organization – project delivery, or service delivery, or vendor management, or people management), and to increase their maturity in a planned manner, by incrementally institutionalizing certain practices before embarking on new ones.

Incidentally, there may be a market for a personal maturity model :-). Or perhaps that space is already occupied with personality development gurus and life coaches!

For those who prefer presentations, you can find the same matter on a slideshare presentation:

In case the presentation does not load, use the link

Other presentations covering CMMI®., People CMMI, Balanced Scorecard, Strategy Maps and Competency Frameworks on AlignMentor are available here.

Please feel free to share your views, experiences or queries, using the “comments” feature available at the top of this article/ post.

Also, let me know what kind of other slide sets you would like to see in this blog (related to the services model ).


Nothing Official About It! – The views presented above are in no manner reflective of the official views of any organization, community, group, institute, or association.

You may also be interested in the following posts uploaded on the same blog:

I am Rajesh Naik. I am an author, management consultant and trainer, helping IT and other tech companies improve their processes and performance. I also specialize in CMMI® (DEV and SVC), People CMM® and Balanced Scorecard. I am a CMMI Institute certified/ authorized Instructor and Lead Appraiser for CMMI® and People CMM®. I am available on LinkedIn and I will be glad to accept your invite. For more information please click here.

17 thoughts on “Personal Maturity versus Organizational Maturity in CMMI® – a Presentation”

  1. Excellent Analogy, Rajesh.
    Since an organization is a sum of its constituents (people, systems), the patterns of behavior of its constituents could be studied along the dimensions that you have indicated. And one could draw inferences about the state of org maturity at a given instance of time.
    It would also be interesting to draw up an “Immaturity Model” and rate organizations along degrees of “immaturity “ (just like there is an award category in the US for films that have flopped).

    Have further questions:

    a.If an organization were to be rated at the lowest level of an “Immaturity model” (I assume here that Level 1 would be the lowest and hence aspirational !), what would be an equivalent staging of this with the Maturity Model levels?

    b.What is the opposite of Immature? (Mature, Not Mature, ??)


    1. Hi Prakash,

      Thank you for your comment.

      As far as your questions are concerned, I will leave them for some other reader to reply. I hope there is no twist or trick to your questions.



  2. Excellent article Rajesh….Thank you.

    Provoked by questions from Prakash, Following is my view.

    a. Level 1, will be my answer, though it is slightly contradictory in the sense – in Level 1 Org – Project / Work is accomplished through Heroics / Few brilliant people.

    b. Mature ??

  3. Simple yet profound thoughts Rajesh! Looking forward to read many more interesting blog posts from you!

    My view: I think ability to remain objective is another key attribute of a “Mature” person or organization. Hopefully mature people or organizations would be able to communicate their “attributes” to the stakeholders thereby influencing them positively; this is especially important in case of organizations, to ensure consistent dissemination of values!

    Best regards,

  4. Excellent comparision Rajesh!!!

    One more attribute of maturity would be ability to influnce or activate thinking, both from a personal and organization perspective ….. Just as we say “A Few Good Matured Fishes Can Clean The Complete Ocean” …..

    So on a lighter note we can expect to have a Personal (R) MMI soon …


  5. Rajesh,

    Your two categories “mature” and “immature” suggest there are two discrete states. Like we do in People CMM it would be more appropriate to distinguish grades of maturity.
    The connotation of “Immature” is more negative then “Less mature”. A lower level of maturity (e.g. as we can observe in a child) suggests room for improvement, immaturity is a disqualification.

    About personal maturity… would e.g. the Maslow pyramid be a useful model for that?

    Best regards Herman.

    1. Herman,

      Thanks a lot for visiting the blog and sharing your thoughts. I agree that Less Mature sounds better than Immature and there no discrete states of maturity.

      best regards


  6. Nice thoughts Rajesh
    Analogy is in line with all the Successful Leaders say Warren Buffett, Ratan Tata, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerburg, Larry Page….to name a few
    Referring the life of these genious, they all have started from the basic, understood business concept, did a thoruough planning and Risk assesment and brought in the maturity of the Organization at same level of them.
    One more aspect is that most Bids are won based on the Front face of the Organizations wherein it is trusted that the Orgnaization having this matured person would also be at similar maturity (herein we can also say ‘same maturity level’)


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