Capability Maturity Model (CMM)
The power failure in NY had one good consequence for me. Without power I couldn't use my computer or waste time in front of a TV. There was nothing else to do except read. So I dug in to my pile of unread Software Development (now merged with Dr. Dobb's) magazines and started reading.
I had unread issues from 1999 which made for some interesting reading. Back then, dot-com startups were still in full swing and there was a lot of talk about how the software development industry had changed forever. There were also the typical articles about seemingly mundane things like the Capability Maturity Model (CMM).
There are 5 levels to this model. The first level describes a company that doesn't provide a stable software development environment. The second level is achieved when a company has sound project management, version control, vendor management, and product assurance processes. The third level is very similar to level 2 except the features of level 2 must apply across the entire enterprise. Level 4 and 5 introduce quantitative measures for software development success and analysis of those measures to look for ways to optimize the processes.
For a company whose business isn't software development, I'd be surprised if any were above CMM Level 3. And given my experience, I doubt many would even qualify for level 3. However, it does seem to me that just about every company uses some or all of what is described by the CMM and that's at least somewhat comforting.
Download the Key Practices of the Capability Maturity Model for more information.