A set of requirements for increasing levels of maturity are defined and assessments are made to determine how mature the assessed entity is. The EFQM model in Europe and Baldridge model in the US have stood the test of time and are used by many organisations. Other frameworks exist such as CMMI for software development but many larger organisations are developing their own.
There are many advantages of a DIY Maturity Assessment; two stand out:
- Developing the framework requires a consensus among specialists and managers about exactly what good looks like. This in itself is a valuable contribution to operational excellence
- The resulting framework and assessment process do not suffer from the “not invented here syndrome”. They are clearly tailored to the organisation in question and easily absorbed into the culture
So if you are considering a DIY maturity assessment, there are four distinct steps to follow:
- Which aspects of operational excellence to focus on?Recently, Oakland has supported the development of maturity assessments focussed on:
- The performance of a change programme for a European aerospace company
- The quality of product for a global energy company
- The quality of service for a global financial services company
- The lean maturity of plants for a global manufacturer
Different focuses suggest different priorities for senior management and the first step is to ensure there is agreement and alignment as to where the focus should be.
- What is our maturity framework?
Maturity is defined in a framework that sets out the “criteria” that make up excellence in the area of focus. For each criteria, a set of requirements are arranged in a hierarchy usually with 5 levels. Basic at level 1 and world class at level 5 with intermediate steps in between. Gaining consensus within the organisation on criteria/requirements can take time. It’s about understanding what is critical to success and then clearly defining what good looks like.
Good definition of criteria/requirements is essential and they should:
- Require quantitative support where possible?
- Seek evidence of actual deployment in the entity
- Be Mutually Exclusive and Collectively Exhaustive
- Be written in simple language to allow global coverage
- And be accompanied by detailed Assessor guidelines
Assessments are usually either local self-assessment or “audits” from the centre:
- Local self-assessment has the advantage of local ownership but with a large training challenge
- Audits from the centre have the advantage of global consistency but can meet local resistance
A synthesis of these two approaches often works using a small central and/or independent core team (objectivity and consistency) working with nominated local assessors (ownership). Every effort should be made to make the assessment a positive learning experience for the entity assessed to ensure motivation to improve OPEX maturity
The overall goal of OPEX Maturity is to improve operations. Thus any assessment should lead to action. The reason why maturity assessments are good at prompting appropriate action is that they show both the current status and what needs to be done next to move up the maturity curve.
The assessments lead to standardised reports which fulfil three main purposes:
- They show the level of maturity of each entity against the set criteria/requirements
- They indicate where the priorities are for the entity to progress further up the OPEX maturity curve
- By showing results from multiple entities they Identify where best practice exists so that an entity can learn from others
- Actions should be generated from these reports and mechanisms established to ensure implementation. Periodic re-assessments need to be scheduled. Clear reporting of all entities OPEX Maturity status and progress should be visible to all and reviewed by Senior Management regularly.
Thus the overall goal of maturity assessments is to engage people and channel their efforts into activities that will most efficiently improve the operations of their organisation. And an y organisation can benefit from a DIY approach.