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The Complete Pragmatic Family of Frameworks


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In order to be able to adopt any Framework, all Frameworks should define different levels of maturity recognising that there is no right or wrong way of doing something but rather there is a continuum of maturity and that anyone utilising a framework is the best person to judge what level of maturity is appropriate for them.

A Maturity Model should also define 2 fundamental types of information:

1)    Structural - representing the domain in question at different levels of maturity (as defined by MACE).

2)    Transformational - representing how to move from level of maturity to the next (as defined by MAGMA)

Many existing Maturity Models use CMM (Capability Maturity Model as developed by Carnegie Mellon University in 1993) as a basis which defines five levels of Maturity (Initial, Repeatable, Defined, Managed and Optimizing). While CMM was originally developed to measure the maturity of Software Development processes it is sufficiently high level to be applicable to any discipline, however, CMM is only concerned with Processes (Methods) and does not consider Artefacts, Culture or Environment.

In addition it (and Maturity Models based on it) tend to be only assessment vehicles that allow people to determine what level they are at (based on high level Measures commonly referred to as evidence) but say nothing about how to move from one level to another or why and provide no help to do so.

All these inadequacies are removed using EMMA, MACE and MAGMA.

EMMA defines four Pragmatic levels of maturity (based on the theory that was developed at Gordon Training International by its employee Noel Burch in the 1970s.):

¨      Unconsciously Incompetent - At this level, we don’t even know (or admit) that we are bad at something! Work is largely carried out in a very inefficient, ineffective and risky way.

¨      Consciously Incompetent - At this level, we have recognised and accepted that we are not mature enough and are taking the first important steps to reduce our incompetence. Work is beginning to get more efficient and effective and risk is starting to be recognised and managed.

¨      Consciously Competent - At this level, we have made many improvements and are now fully competent but doing so requires concentration and happens because of processes, rules and regulations. Work is very efficient and effective and risks are fully recognised and managed.

¨      Unconsciously Competent - At this level, our way of working is so ingrained in our ethos and culture that work is carried out automatically without recourse to detailed processes, rules and regulations. Work is as efficient and effective as it can be and risk is almost non-existent. New starters are assimilated into the collective.

In psychology, the four stages of competence, or the "conscious competence" learning model, relates to the psychological states involved in the process of progressing from incompetence to competence in a skill.

You could think of the levels as:

¨      A Worm - Unaware and burying its head in the sand.

¨      A Meerkat - Very alert and quite effective but maybe a little inefficient and quirky.

¨      A Tiger - Strong and powerful.

¨      A God - Something that will never be achieved but is a good thing to aspire to.

From an opportunity point of view:

¨      You only need to be a Tiger to eat all of the Meerkats you want.

¨      And you only need to be a Meerkat to be able to eat as many worms as you want.

From a threat point of view:

¨      If you are a Meerkat, to outrun a Tiger, you only need to run slightly faster than the slowest Meerkat!

¨      If you are a Worm, to out wiggle a Meerkat, you only need to wiggle slightly faster than the slowest Worm! (Or not wiggle at all!)


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Questions to ponder...

Who do you want to eat?

Who do you need to run away from?

What are you going to do to achieve that?

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