Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University
Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University

Frequently Asked Questions

SGMM General Questions

What is the Smart Grid Maturity Model (SGMM)?

The Smart Grid Maturity Model or SGMM is a management tool that organizations can use to help assess, guide, and improve their efforts toward a smart grid transformation. It provides a common framework with defined smart grid stages and progress, as well as a common language for defining key elements of a smart grid transformation. It can also bridge gaps between strategy and execution.

The SGMM helps create and communicate a common vision of the smart grid both internally and for use with external stakeholders. An electric utility can use the SGMM to identify its smart grid target, assess where it is on the journey to implement the smart grid, prioritize options, and measure progress.

Who is the audience for the SGMM?

Currently, the primary audience for the SGMM is electric utilities and related stakeholders who are interested in modernizing and improving their operations and practices associated with delivery of electricity with a focus on transmission and distribution.

Who created the SGMM?

The SGMM was initially created by the Global Intelligent Utility Network Coalition and APQC. At the time, the Global Intelligent Utility Network Coalition consisted of  Alliander, CenterPoint Energy, Inc., Country Energy, CPFL Energia, DONG Energy, ERDF, IBM, North Delhi Power Limited, Oncor, Pepco Holdings, Inc., Progress Energy, and Sempra Energy.

What is the Software Engineering Institute’s role in the SGMM?

The Software Engineering Institute (SEI) is the steward of the SGMM and bears responsibility for the following:

  • governing and maintaining the model
  • providing for and supporting widespread availability, adoption, and use
  • ensuring a reliable set of products and services for the SGMM user community, including documentation, education, training, and appraisal methods
  • developing and administering formal SEI Partner and Certification Programs for SGMM
  • administering quality control of the SGMM and its usage
  • collecting and analyzing data and best practices
  • providing feedback on SGMM usage

Why the SEI? What value does the SEI add?

The SEI is a trusted, objective broker of best practices, methods, and tools to organizations worldwide and has been involved in numerous collaborative efforts across industry, government, and academia. The SEI is a global leader in software and systems engineering, architecture, and security best practices—critical elements of smart grid success. It has a proven foundation of people and processes to develop, maintain, and evolve models into industry standards.

The SEI is a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) operated by Carnegie Mellon University and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). Carnegie Mellon University is a global research university recognized worldwide for its energy and environmental research initiatives.

What is the role of the U.S. Department of Energy in the SGMM?

The Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability sponsors the SEI’s SGMM stewardship activities.

How is the SGMM different from other maturity models?

The SGMM is different from other maturity models because it is not a process model, like CMMI and the CERT Resilience Management Model. The SGMM is a management tool that utilities can use to plan their smart grid transformation or grid modernization effort and to track progress against that plan.

Getting Started

As a utility, why should we implement the SGMM?

Utilities use the SGMM to assess their current state of smart grid implementation, define their aspirations for a future state, and generate inputs into their roadmapping, strategic planning, and implementation processes. Major investor-owned utilities and small public power utilities alike, in the U.S. and around the world, have reported finding the model a valuable tool to help them

  • identify where they are on the smart grid landscape
  • develop a shared smart grid vision and roadmap
  • communicate with internal and external stakeholders using a common language
  • prioritize options and support decision making
  • compare to themselves over time and to the rest of the community
  • measure their progress
  • prepare for and facilitate change

What materials do I need to get started on my SGMM implementation?

The SEI has produced the Smart Grid Maturity Model Product Suite. Most documents in the product suite are available to download.

  • SGMM Model Definition: the core product suite element that serves as the foundation for the other product suite components
  • SGMM Matrix: a summary view of the model domains and expected characteristics
  • SGMM Compass Assessment Survey: the survey is designed to collect demographic and performance data and to characterize the status of the responding utility's smart grid implementation in the context of the SGMM. Completing the Compass survey and having it scored by the SEI provides the utility with a comprehensive report that will be returned to the utility with a maturity level rating for each domain in the model. In addition, each scoring report includes aggregate data from the other utilities that have completed the Compass survey, which can be used for comparative analysis. More than 150 utilities have completed the survey, but your data will be compared with those from your peer group. The peer groups consist of utilities over 250k customers and those under 250k customers.  
  • SGMM Navigation Process: a process developed to help organizations chart a technical, organizational, and operational path through their grid modernization effort. An SEI-certified SGMM Navigator who brings expertise of both the SGMM product suite and the utility industry facilitates this process. The SEI has a program to certify Navigators.

What is the current version of the SGMM and where can I get associated materials?

The current SGMM version is 1.2. The assets for the model can be downloaded here:

I have downloaded the SGMM Model Definition and SGMM Compass survey and would like to get my survey scored to see where we stand as an organization. What are my options?

A Navigated assessment is conducted by an SEI-certified SGMM Navigator. The Navigator assists an organization in understanding the SGMM and leads the utility through a process of assessing where the utility is against the SGMM and setting their aspirations relative to the SGMM.  This process helps to build consensus within the utility about the SGMM and the utility’s smart grid status and goals. 

First the Navigator facilitates the completion of the SGMM Compass survey with smart grid stakeholders from throughout the organization. This results in a highly accurate picture of the organization’s current status and reinforces consensus building throughout the organization. The Navigator then analyzes the organization’s SGMM data to provide valuable insights based on their knowledge of the SGMM, the organization, and their domain expertise. This analysis then provides the basis for a facilitated session whereby the organization’s smart grid stakeholders set SGMM aspirations for an agreed-upon time frame.

Fees for facilitated assessments are determined by the level of interaction desired and travel necessary. On our website you can access a directory of licensed SGMM Partner organizations that have sponsored individuals for training and certification.

Why does APQC score the survey? 

APQC, one of the organizations that assisted in developing the original SGMM, processes, validates, and scores the SGMM self assessment survey under the direction of the SEI. APQC generates and delivers participant reports, supports interpretation of the report content, and protects the confidentiality of the data.

What is the purpose of the Compass survey?

The Compass assessment survey is used to measure an electric utility’s current state of smart grid maturity against the defined characteristics across the six levels and eight domains of the SGMM. The resulting report shows how the utility compares to all other utilities that have taken the assessment—both at a summary level and for each characteristic evaluated. A utility can determine the impact of its smart grid implementation efforts over time by repeating the survey.

What are the benefits of completing the SGMM assessment survey and having it scored?

Through this activity, utilities can gain an understanding of the current state of SGMM implementation, create a baseline for developing a road map for improving smart grid practices, and compare the status of smart grid implementation efforts in relation to other utility participants.

If I complete the assessment survey, will the information be publicly available?

Survey data linked to an individual electric utility will not be released without the permission of that utility. Survey responses will be entered into the aggregated data that is reported for the good of the industry and for comparison to future SGMM survey participants, but individual responses will not be attributed to any particular utility. Only aggregated or blinded views of the data will be publicly available, to include use of the data via white papers and presentations, or as part of best practice and research activities.

How can I become an SEI-certified SGMM Navigator?

Please see Become an SEI Partner for the Smart Grid Maturity Model. Learn about SGMM Navigator Training to become an SEI-certified SGMM Navigator.

Are there services available to help me adopt SGMM?       

On our website you can access a directory of licensed SGMM Partner organizations that have  sponsored individuals for SGMM Navigator certification. 

Also, APQC scores the SGMM Compass self-assessment survey under the direction of the SEI. APQC  generates and delivers participant reports, supports interpretation of the report content, and protects the confidentiality of the data. Send completed surveys and requests for assistance to

How many organizations have adopted SGMM?

More than 150 utilities are using the model or have taken the survey. Please review our latest Update at

What is the geographical breakdown of organizations using the SGMM?

A little more than half of the utilities are in the United States. The other half is distributed fairly evenly across Europe, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, Africa, Australia, Canada, Mexico, and Central and South America.

What is an SEI Partner?

The SEI Partner Network disseminates trusted, leading-edge SEI methods and technologies throughout the worldwide SEI community. SEI Partners are organizations that are carefully licensed and monitored by the SEI to deliver official SEI courses, methods, and processes. Read a brief overview of how Partnering with the SEI works.


What SGMM-related training courses does the SEI offer?

At this time we offer SGMM Navigator Training. Sponsored SEI-Certified SGMM Navigators deliver official licensed SEI SGMM Navigation process services on behalf of SEI Partner organizations. Navigators guide and manage an organization’s Navigation process to determine its smart grid maturity. Major investor-owned utilities and small public power utilities alike, in the U.S. and around the world, have reported that they found the model a valuable tool.

Collaboration and Participation

How can I talk to other SGMM users?

On our website you can access a directory of licensed SGMM Partner organizations that have sponsored individuals for training and certification.

Join the SGMM User Forum on LinkedIn:

Where do I get the most recent SGMM information?

Visit or join the SGMM mailing list by sending an email with your request to

How will the SGMM evolve?

Stakeholder needs and requirements will determine how the SGMM will evolve. Our strategy is to provide a stable baseline that not only allows utilities and other interested parties to use the model effectively but that also serves as a foundation for soliciting and vetting opportunities for improving the model.

How can I collaborate with the SEI in this work?

You can join the SGMM mailing list by sending an email with your request, as well as any questions, comments, or ideas for collaboration, to