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What is a Maturity Matrix?

Maturity matrices are used in fields like project management and cybersecurity to help organizations grok where they currently stand in terms of best practices, as well as the steps they can take to achieve higher levels of performance. The green software maturity matrix is a framework for assessing the level of a tech organization’s ability to handle the energy transition.

The purpose of moving up the GSMM levels is not merely to be “ethical” or good. It is a risk management strategy to provide resilience to:

  • Tightening ESG and other (e.g. EU) reporting requirements around sustainable IT.
  • Physical disruption to IT systems caused by climate change.
  • Pricing changes, for example the impact of highly differential dynamic electricity tariffs or reuse, repair, and recycle rules from the EU.
  • Hiring and retaining employees who want to be part of the solution to humanity’s greatest challenge. This is particularly true for younger staff.

The history of maturity matrices

The Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI), which is a bit of a mouthful, was originally developed by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon University. The CMMI is a framework for assessing and guiding organizations' process improvement efforts, and has 5 maturity levels:


  • Level 1 - Initial: Processes are unpredictable, poorly controlled, and reactive at best.
  • Level 2 - Reactively managed: Per-project processes. Often still reactive.
  • Level 3 - Defined: Processes are standardized, documented, well understood and reviewed.
  • Level 4 - Quantitatively Managed: Processes are measured and controlled.
  • Level 5 - Optimizing: Continuous improvement occurs based on quantitative feedback.

We reckon this broadly means:

  • Level 1: You are floundering. No organization level strategy. Maybe a few individuals who care and/or are knowledgeable. Purely reactive. This is where most of us are on being green at this point.
  • Level 2: You are starting to get some handle on it but without consistency. Mostly reactive. How advanced you are varies by project and team. You have the bare minimum of data.
  • Level 3: You are good. You have decent, basic org-wide green tech knowledge and data. You have defined processes for handling that data that are applied across your organization.
  • Level 4: You are awesome. You can measure your progress dynamically (i.e. you have real -time data).
  • Level 5: You have ascended to the next plane of existence. You monitor and improve based on your real-time data. You give aspirational talks at tech conferences and what people are aspiring to is what you have been doing for ages. You are the tech equivalent of a being of pure energy. Think Yoda with a keyboard.