After selecting a model it's necessary to decide how the organization will appraise its conformance to the model parameters.

MDM can provide a wide variety of appraisals to clients, depending on their needs and resources. Appraisal methods available range from less costly techniques through comprehensive full-scale appraisals which provide maturity ratings. These methods are formalized in the V3.0 Method Description Document. MDM personnel are able to provide formal benchmark appraisals, informal evaluation appraisals, and gap analyses.

Appraisal Considerations

Three major factors to consider in choosing an appraisal method are:

  • Accuracy of the appraisal – How well will the appraisal method identify improvement opportunities?
  • Cost – This includes both preparation costs, including team selection and training, organization preparation, and the cost of actually conducting the appraisal.
  • Organization disruption – How much will the appraisal impact normal organization operations?

Can this impact be used to communicate important issues to the organization? Table 1 provides a summary comparison of the accuracy, cost and organization disruption of various appraisal methods.


In selecting an appraisal method you should first determine what it is you want to know, what questions you want answered.

Several possible questions are:

  • Is this a first appraisal or a follow-on?

  • Do you want to initiate a culture change in the organization?

  • What improvement opportunities deserve immediate attention?

  • What is the process improvement progress?
  • What are the risks involved in choosing this organization as a supplier?
  • What is the organization "Maturity Level"?

Other key issues to consider in choosing an appraisal method are appraisal objectives and desired outputs, accuracy of the results, cost to prepare for and conduct the appraisal, and extent of organization disruption. Additionally, you need to match the appraisal method to business objectives and constraints. Resource availability may limit the type of the appraisal.

Appraisal Teams

The appraisal team is a critical part of the appraisal process. The size and qualifications of the appraisal team, along with any potential biases of site team members, may affect the confidence the sponsor has in the appraisal results. Selection of the appraisal team takes into account the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the appraisal team as a whole as well as each individual team member. The team as a whole must have the collective knowledge, skills, and ability to conduct the specific type of appraisal for the particular organization being assessed. Team members are selected so that their combined experience and skills match what is required for the appraisal.

Action Planning

Action planning is a necessary follow-on to any appraisal and the lead-in to implementing changes. The organization needs to review the findings and recommendations and decide what actions it will take as the next step in the improvement process. The plan sets the stage and establishes the priorities for implementing the next set of changes. Action plans based on business goals and appraisal findings and recommendations drive the improvement project.