For whatever reason, I have been thinking about CMM these days.
From the wikipedia definition:
The Capability Maturity Model can be used to assess an organization against a scale of five process maturity levels. Each level ranks the organization according to its standardization of processes in the subject area being assessed. The subject areas can be as diverse as software engineering, systems engineering, project management, risk management, system acquisition, information technology (IT) services and personnel management.
There are five stages for a process: initial, repeatable, defined, quantitatively managed, and optimizing.
Level 1 is that heroic effort that places a lot of stress on starting business:
Success in these organizations depends on the competence and heroics of the people in the organization and not on the use of proven processes… project success depends on having high quality people.
That is why both Optimize magazine and Good to Great talk about going beyond the hero, and ask for a more sustainable process: heroics gives us the initial great product, the great implementation, that amazing change, but we have to implement easier ways to move around, achieve goals and project our investment.
Once we have our system in place, and it is not just stages, but more of an iterative process, we will achieve the Level 5 magic that Lombardi defined as “a game of inches”: continuous improvement and sustainable success through personal humility and indomitable will.