maturity models

Hands up who says they work in ‘new media’? Me neither. While we’re not quite in a digital by default world, this stuff has been around for a decade and a half. Even in the public sector.

One topic I’d like to think about at this week’s UKGovcamp on Saturday (the ‘doing’ day) is whether we can come up with a way of thinking about public sector digital activity in terms of a maturity or capability model, that could be applied to help teams and individuals set goals and maybe even benchmark their effectiveness. For instance, it might:

  • Help teams to think about how sophisticated the organisation is at adopting and managing social media as part of official Communications and day to day communication
  • Provide some material for people thinking about their CMS features and procurement, to factor in the kinds of activities and processes those tools should be supporting in 2012
  • Offer insights into team size and structure, what the roles are in managing digital projects effectively (I’m deliberately not saying ‘digital communication’, for now)
  • Give everyone some ready-made benchmarks to help evaluate impact, and if not hard numbers, then at least an open-source process for getting to an assessment of digital effectiveness

I’ve got a small commission – a day’s paid time – from the digital team at the National Audit Office (update: actually, this was never actually used) to contribute towards managing the process of collating this, writing it up and sharing it for the benefit of their own team and others. We’d really appreciate input from a wide group on what a maturity model might look like – and indeed, whether it’s the best approach to take.

The idea would be to brainstorm at UKGovcamp, take the ideas away and write them up into a draft structure, get more feedback on them here, and then publish a methodology or framework of some kind under a Creative Commons licence for anyone to use and take forward. Hopefully we’d make it flexible enough to work for anything from a Whitehall department to a district council, and something that anyone who’s reasonably switched-on digitally can deploy without needing to bring in an expensive consultant (or even a reasonably-priced one).

Who’s up for helping with that?

UPDATE: Here’s the notes from the UKGovcamp discussion

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I think this would be really useful. I saw something similar in the econsultancy report ‘Digital Marketing: Organisational Structures and Resourcing Best Practice Guide’ (i think) which may be worth checking out.

Hi, if I can be of assistance, please let me know.

You could check out my knowledge base of maturity models for inspiration (

Also, I am praticipating in the Global E-Business Monitor Benchmark, an online platform to assess organization readiness, enablers and performance. Launched this january, it provides answers to your challenges. Best of all, it’s free.

Need more, please contact me.

Recently been writing some notes on the possibility of a GDS-esque approach in local government. Assumed this would be largely academic, so happy to join a real live discussion on a similar theme.

Hi Steph, I think you are aware of the work Socitm does around benchmarking the quality of local authority websites, and the data we collect on council website takeup and usage. Be glad to pitch in our data and findings and will be at ukgc on Saturday as well as Friday.

Your post rang big bells for me. I wonder if a maturity model for digital wouldn’t look very similar, certainly at principle level, to a public engagement maturity model? At the very least I’d been keen for is to be involved as I suspect we’d learn at least as much as we’d contribute.

Hi Steph,
This is interesting and much needed area to explore as we strive to keep pace with technology and consumer experiences.

Please find this link useful from the Institute of direct and digital marketing. They have created a tool called Mcap which I think goes a long way to do what you’re looking for.
If I can be of any further help, please let me know.

I am sure you guys won’t be surprised to know that large communities of people have spent decades working on this, and I am sure you won’t want to waste your lives re-inventing the wheel. The link to wikipedia says as much. The constructive way ahead is to tailor what you need from ISO 15504, ISO 12207, and ISO TR 18529.

A friend from the wrong side of a corporate firewall would like to contribute the following:
Even though we have been nibbling at this issue for a while a set of lead maturity indicators for digital capability is a challenging project because of the many stakeholders affected by digitisation. Of the many aspects to consider, the delivery of digital solutions that are used in practice should be a target. Usability maturity measures the ability of the organisation to recognise and deliver usable (and used) solutions. The Human-Centredness Scale ( provides a basic tool that could be integrated. This book will provide an exploration of this topic in government systems and includes a chapter on implementing and measuring usability maturity/capability in government acquisition