Maturity models are popular instruments used, e.g., to rate capabilities of maturing
elements and select appropriate actions to take the elements to a higher level of maturity. Their application areas are wide spread and range from cognitive science to business applications and engineering. Although there are many maturity models reported in scientific and non-scientific
literature, the act of how to develop a maturity model is for the most part unexplored. Many maturity models simply – and vaguely – build on their, often well-known, predecessors without critical discourse about how appropriate the assumptions are that form the basis of these models. This research sheds some light on the construction of maturity models by analysing 16 representative maturity models with the help of a structured content analysis. The results are transformed into a set of questions which can be used for the (re-)creation of maturity models and are answered with the help of the case example of a knowledge maturity model. Furthermore, a definition of the term maturity model is developed from the study’s results.