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Process Maturity
Can your processes deliver high performance?
There are excellent reference models for orgnizations of all sizes that can help an organization understand where it is today and can assist in developing a road map to help get where the organization wants to go. Four business process models and one human resource model are descibed here.
Michael Hammer - The Process Audit
In an HBR article (The Process Audit...), Michael Hammer
stated that companies need to ensure that their business processes become more mature - in other words, that they are capable of delivering higher performance over time. To make that happen, companies must develop two kinds of characteristics:
  • Process enablers, which pertain to individual processes
  • Enterprise capabilities, which apply to entire organizations.

 There are five process enablers:

  • Design: The comprehensiveness of the specification of how the process is to be executed.
  • Performers: The people who execute the process, particularly in terms of their skills and knowledge.
  • Owner: A senior executive who has responsibility for the process and its results.
  • Infrastructure: Information and management systems that support the process.
  • Metrics: The measures the company uses to track the process’s performance.

 And four enterprise capabilities:

  • Leadership: Senior executives who support the creation of processes.
  • Culture: The values of customer focus, teamwork, personal accountability, and a willingness to change.
  • Expertise: Skills in, and methodology for, process redesign.
  • Governance: Mechanisms for managing complex projects and change initiatives.
Companies can use evaluations of the enablers and capabilities, in tandem, to plan and assess the progress of process-based transformations.  
Assessment forms can be downloaded at The Process Audit...
There are a number of models for assessing proces managaement capabilities. It is important to get buy-in on whatever tool is used but it is perhaps more important to just get on with it.
A critique of the Hammer model and the names of some of the other models can be found at BPTrends...
Are Your Processes Dinosaurs?
  • Customers (either internal or external) are unhappy
  • Some things just take too long
  • The process wasn’t done right the first time (i.e., it produced errors, rework, mistakes, or scrap)
  • Management throws people at the problem, but it doesn’t improve
  • Employees report a high frustration factor while working
  • Processes span several departments, and there is finger-pointing and blaming
  • Processes aren’t measured or controlled
  • Data redundancy is common
  • Too many reviews and signoffs
  • Complexity, exceptions, and special cases are common
  • Established procedures are circumvented to expedite work
  • No one manages the total process
  • Management throws money at the problem, but it doesn’t improve
  • Managers spend a great deal of time “firefighting”
CMM Model with Five Levels of Maturity 
A high level reference model that can help organizations understand where they are today is the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) that defines five stages that an organization goes through it moves from an immature to a mature understanding of businesses processes. The key assumption is that immature organizations don’t perform consistently. Mature organizations, on the other hand, produce quality products and services effectively and consistently. (Harmon)
1. Initial. The process is ad hoc. Few activities are explicity defined
and success depends on individual effort and heroics. Entrepreneurial organizations and new divisions do things any way they can to get started.
2. Repeatable. Basic project management processes are established to track cost, schedule, and functionality. The necessary discipline is in place to repeat earlier successes. As organizations become more mature they begin to conceptualize business processes and seek to organize them, repeat successes, and measure results.
3. Defined. The process for both management and engineering is documented, standardized, and integrated by an organization methodology.
Most organizations are between levels 2 and 3. They have processes documented and standardized, but in many cases management's goals are only loosely linked to process goals. 
4. Managed. Detailed measures of the process and product/service quality are collected. Both the process and products/services are untitively understood and controlled.
 Only a few organizations have an organiztion-wide understanding of how processes relate and have their corporate strategies and goals aligned, via the management hierarchy, to specific process activities.
5. Optimizing. Continuous process improvement is enabled by quantitive fedback for the process and from piloting innovative new ideas and technologies.
Organizations at this level routinely expect managers and employees to work together to improve processes. They understand their processes well enough that they can conduct systematic experiments to determine if changes will be useful or not.
 BearingPoint Business Process Maturity Model
 BPMG's Organization Readiness and Competency Assessment (ORCA) Maturity Model
SEI People CMM
Based on the best current practices in fields such as human resources, knowledge management, and organizational development, the People CMM guides organizations in improving their processes for managing and developing their workforce. The People CMM helps organizations characterize the maturity of their workforce practices, establish a program of continuous workforce development, set priorities for improvement actions, integrate workforce development with process improvement, and establish a culture of excellence.
 Clipper Performance Solutions
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