A baseline is a current level of performance. An assessment determines the baseline against the model (goal to be accomplished). In addition to the baseline and the model, the third criterion required for continuous improvement is a method for moving from the current baseline to the desired goal.
The assessment against the model characterizes the current practice within an organization in terms of the capability of the selected processes. The results may be used to drive process improvement activities or process capability determination by analyzing the results in the context of the organization's business needs and identifying strengths, weaknesses, and risks inherent in the processes.
Sequencing of the improvements is determined by the organization, and then assessments are used again to show whether or not performance is being accomplished.
Many organizations put new programs into place without a model, and, as a result, have no means of determining whether performance has changed. The effective use of a model, including determining baselines and regular assessments, can help IT management continually improve effectiveness and efficiency.