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Process Maturity – How do I measure it?

In order to manage and control processes and services, they have to be monitored and measured. The design of the measurement methods and metrics used to measure process are critical to success and might even be the most crucial element.  In practice we tend to see Critical Success Factors and Key Performance Indicators defined in the process documentation but is anything being done with those?

We not only need to define the metrics for measuring the process but also must ensure that the design and implementation of the process also includes a system for ongoing monitoring, reporting and most important action for continual improvement of the process. Without it the process is destined to fail.

Process designers must assert caution and use wisdom when defining the metrics and measurements for the process.  Careful consideration must be given to how these measurements are going to affect and change the behavior of the practitioners and stakeholders that produce or receive value from this process.  Rest assured that measuring the process will affect people and we must ensure the outcome is one that is conducive to success.  Selecting only measurements that encourage progression towards meeting business objectives or desired behavioral change should be selected.

The process design ensures that we have the capability to improve the process over time.  Think about it.  Is a process ever perfect?  Is the demand from the business ever static in today’s world? The emphasis should be on the quality, speed, and cost in order to meet the dynamic needs of the business and the outcomes of the products and services that service provider delivers.  Therefore, measurement methods and metrics should reflect these requirements and be designed to measure the ability of processes to them.   Be careful though. The process measurements selected need to be appropriate for the capability and maturity of the processes being measured. Immature processes are not capable of supporting complex measurement methods.  ITIL describes four types of metrics that can be used to measure the capability and performance of processes.  You might find these helpful.
  •  Progress - Milestones and deliverables in the capability of the process 
  • Compliance - Compliance of the process to governance requirements, regulatory requirements and compliance of people to the use of the process
  • Effectiveness - The accuracy and correctness of the process and its ability to deliver the ‘right result’
  • Efficiency - The productivity of the process, its speed, throughput and resource utilization. Measurements and metrics should develop and change as the maturity and capability of a process develops. Initially, with immature processes the

Be cautious with these, the first two levels of metrics should be used to measure the progress and compliance of the process initially.    You should ensure that the process is consistent and being followed.  As the process maturity develops, effectiveness and efficiency metrics can be added with an understanding that progress and compliance are still paramount.

Comments

Robin Goldsmith said…
It’s nice to see more insightful discussion about measuring processes rather than mindless maturity model fitting. I’ve found that few organizations actually pay attention to managing and measuring their processes, and seldom does anyone feel it is their responsibility. Instead, the suggested measures mainly are applied to projects without recognizing that one’s process determines how one does projects. Moreover, most organizations are pretty oblivious to meaningful measures of project, let alone process, effectiveness which has to be the primary measure before the other measures are relevant.
Robin Goldsmith said…
It’s nice to see more insightful discussion about measuring processes rather than mindless maturity model fitting. I’ve found that few organizations actually pay attention to managing and measuring their processes, and seldom does anyone feel it is their responsibility. Instead, the suggested measures mainly are applied to projects without recognizing that one’s process determines how one does projects. Moreover, most organizations are pretty oblivious to meaningful measures of project, let alone process, effectiveness which has to be the primary measure before the other measures are relevant.

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