Background: Maturity models have been developed to assist organizations to enhance software quality, and the software engineering community has proposed numerous types of these, most of them based on CMM, ISO/IEC 15504 and CMMI-DEV. The great proliferation of maturity models leads to a need for systematic approaches to build them. Aim: To discover and analyze the existing methods and recommended practices for developing maturity models. Method: A systematic literature review (SLR) was conducted. Results: 1500 papers were returned as a result of the searches, from which 23 were chosen as candidates, and 7 of these, published between 2005 and 2010, were eventually selected as primary studies. Conclusions: The proposal of methods for maturity models development is an emerging topic in literature. Most published maturity models are based on practices and success factors from projects that showed good results in an organization or industry, but which lack a sound theoretical basis and methodology. The proposed methods highlight as main activities: to establish goals for maturity model development, to design model architecture, to set out capability levels and dimensions, to and pilot testing. However, the creation of an assessment questionnaire and specific activities for maintenance are poorly supported. The SLR results have served to propose a method for developing maturity models that is focused on product quality characteristics.