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Process Maturity – How can I Assess it?

A process is doomed if you ever consider it done!  Unlike an audit that examines evidence to determine compliance, a process assessment is conducted to evaluate and organizations strengths and weaknesses.  The assessor will ensure that this baseline is utilized to identify process improvement opportunities that ensure business outcomes.

The ITIL Process Maturity Framework (PMF) was defined specifically for ITSM processes and consists of five levels of maturity.

·         Level One – Initial
At this level there is not a defined process, there are some procedures and few results are retained.
·         Level Two – Repeatable
At this level of maturity there is a recognized process but the objectives are not clear and targets are not formalized.
·         Level Three – Defined
It is at this level of maturity that the process is defined and documented and there are agreed upon targets.
·         Level Four – Managed
A managed process at this level is well defined, interfaces and integrates with other processes and objectives for measurement are based upon business goals.
·         Level Five – Optimized
Very few processes reach this level of maturity where the process in institutionalized within the organization, strategic goals are aligned with business goals and the process is optimized to dynamically improve as the demand and business needs shift.

These are brief descriptions for each level and in and of themselves do not ensure that your process has reached that level of maturity. In order to assess fully that your process has reached a specific level the assessor must utilize the checklist of characteristics or criteria to determine the true level of maturity within your organization.  Assessments are generally comprised of interviews with key stakeholders in the process including the customer, the practitioners, the business representatives and more to determine if the criteria in the assessment checklist is met for each level. 

This is a great book for information on designing and reengineering processes for IT Service Management and has a lot of information and guidance for ongoing process improvement.

If you are trying to establish your process maturity, information and sample reports along with additional frameworks such as CMMI and IPAF for performing self-assessments are offered via ITSMF International:  http://itsmfi.org/files/ITIL%20Process%20Assessment%20Framework%20-%20MacDonald.pdf

The assessor could be an internal staff member but caution is needed to ensure skillset, knowledge and objectivity.  You will have to agree the scope of -- process only -- people and process -- people, process and technology/tools -- or perhaps a comprehensive assessment including people, process, technology, culture and organizational structure is in order.  The time allocated to the project will be determined by the scope.

If you are interested in developing this skill set, training and certification for Certified Process Design Engineers can be found at: http://www.itsmacademy.com/-strse-111/ITIL-process-training/Detail.bok

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