Pyramid with 5 levels of DAMM Maturity

The Digital Accessibility Maturity Model – Maturity Levels

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Written by: Sheri Byrne-Haber

In my last post in the Digital Accessibility Maturity Model (DAMM) Series I shared a brief introduction to each of the ten core DAMM dimensions.  In this post I’ll define each of the 5 levels of maturity that a dimension can be rated at.

DAMM Maturity Levels

Capability Maturity Models were used as the basis for establishing the five Digital Accessibility Maturity Model levels. These have then been extended for sake of clarity in this model, which only addresses digital accessibility and supporting processes. The levels define progress of process maturity moving from level one (a lack of defined process) to level five (a continuously improving process). Each of the ten core dimensions are measured against the following levels based on aspects and artifacts that are defined for that dimension:

Level 1 – Initial

Accessibility processes at this level are generally undocumented, and may be in a state of dynamic change. Processes, if they exist, are ad-hoc, uncontrolled, and reactive, driven by users or events. This results in a a chaotic and inconsistent accessibility environment.

Level 2 – Managed

This level contains sets of defined and documented standard processes established and subject to some degree of improvement over time. These standard accessibility processes are used to establish consistency of process performance across the organization. Primary validation at this level occurs by examining accessibility artifacts, and ensuring that these artifacts are well-defined and deployed across the organization.

Level 3 – Defined

Accessibility processes at this level are repeatable, possibly with consistent results. Process discipline is unlikely to be rigorous, but where it exists it may help to ensure that existing processes are maintained during times of stress. Primary validation at this level occurs by reviewing operational conformance with the process. This level can only be achieved with demonstrable repeated process operationalization. Unless operational conformance can be substantiated, a process will only be considered to have met the Level 2 – Managed requirements.

Level 4 – Quantitatively Managed

Management can effectively control accessibility processes at this level using process metrics. In particular at the Quantitatively Managed level, management should be able to identify methods of adjusting and adapting accessibility processes to customize for particular projects without measurable losses of quality or deviations from specifications. This level can only be achieved with demonstrable measurement and analysis of the outcomes of each accessibility process and the ability to control the organization to respond to those measurements. When management adapts or adopts a process, quality measurement levels cannot be negatively impacted, and measurement levels most retain the ability to accurately reflect the actual accessibility of produced systems and documents.

Level 5 – Optimizing

Accessibility processes at this level focus on continually improving process performance through both incremental and innovative technological changes/improvements. This level is validated by reviewing the use of metrics, feedback loops and process ownership to constantly update and extend processes. As with all levels above Level 2, the Optimizing level can only be validated with operational demonstration of ongoing process improvement.

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