Maturity Model: How it Helps Businesses Achieve Continuous Improvement

5 Min Read
Maturity Model: How it Helps Businesses Achieve Continuous Improvement

You might have heard about maturity models, and not be sure what they are about. The use of maturity frameworks has become popular in the last few years. What are these models though?

A maturity model is a critical component of business performance management. When growing a company, project or system, you have to be able to know how well you are doing. How else do you measure success?

If a business is to evaluate efficiency, then it needs to understand its performance. It’s why companies have KPIs, OKRs and other goal metrics. You should be able to look at where you are, and how many of the company goals have been established. Maturity frameworks are useful for such tasks.

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What is a Maturity Model?

A maturity model is a framework that indicates a company’s ability for self-improvement. It lets you know how well a business or project is at handling continuous improvement. A successful organisation is always evolving. As objectives change, the company has to adjust accordingly to accommodate them.

Maturity models allow you to systematically analyse progress. Some frameworks like CMM are popular and are suitable for different sectors. A maturity frame simplifies performance management.

Usually, a model has several sequential levels with specific requirements for each. On CMM, for example, you get 5 stages – initial, repeatable, defined, qualitatively managed and optimising. Each level is designed to measure how well processes, policies and systems have been implemented. They also tell if the company is getting the required results. Therefore, you get to see an organisation’s state at different maturity stages. It is why maturity models are considered stage theories or stage models. Another crucial element to know about the frameworks is that they are built on observation.

How do you use a maturity model?

Learning about maturity models is one thing, but putting them into practice is a whole different ball game. Businesses should first understand that stage models serve as measuring sticks. Implementing a maturity framework doesn’t guarantee improvement. They only indicate progress.

When introducing a process, the right approach is bottom-up. One way to apply a stage-based model is as a diagnostic tool. In this instance, the system serves a descriptive purpose and is suitable for as-is assessments. Once you identify the maturity level of the enterprise, then you can report it to relevant stakeholders.

You can apply a maturity system in a prescriptive capacity. Such a framework provides the means to identify the maturity stages of a process, project or policy. It also includes ideas on how to proceed with continuous improvement.

Maturity Model Benefits?

Before you consider which model to implement in your enterprise, learn how what value you can gain from it.

The biggest benefit of stage models is that they facilitate benchmarking of internal performance. They contribute to business performance management. You can use a maturity framework to collect data about where your company is on the improvement journey. By finding out where the gaps lie, you can develop a plan that addresses specific issues.

After identifying an organisation’s progress, then you can come up with solutions to institute the necessary changes. A maturity system sets the groundwork for progress based on specific performance parameters. You can use the information gathered in the different maturity stages to compare your performance against competitors.

Stage models create a common language that evolves through different processes. A characteristic of maturity models is that they provide consistency. The entire company knows how to move from one maturity level to the next, and what to do to enhance continuous improvement.

Maturity models go back a long way and have evolved dramatically over the years. Besides CMM, businesses have a host of other stage-based systems they can use to measure performance. The right maturity model can help an organisation understand its situation better, allowing it to craft suitable improvement solutions.

Types of Maturity Models

There are many Business process maturity models offering detailed process definitions, repeatable processes, and identifying linked processes in a clear structure of continuous improvement.

Van Looy published a book Business Process Maturity: A Comparative Study on a Sample of Business Process Maturity Models where she provides a comprehensive overview of the framework and the 69 maturity models

PEMM: Process and Enterprise Maturity Model
AIMM: Agile, ISO Maturity Model
PMMA: Process Management Maturity Assessment
BPM-CF: Business Process Management Capability Framework
vPMM: Value-based Process Maturity Model
BPMM-FIS: Business Process Maturity Model
BPO-MF: Business Process Orientation Maturity Framework
BPMM-HR: Business Process Maturity Model
BPMM-OMG: Business Process Maturity Model
BPO-MM: Business Process Orientation Maturity Model
Process Management Maturity Model
Process Safety Degree
PMC: Process Maturity Continuum
Maturity Model for Knowledge-Intensive Business Processes
BPMM: Business Process Maturity Model
Maturity Estimation Model
Model for Business Process Maturity Assessment
Business Maturity Assessment Model
PMM: Process Management Maturity Model
PSDM: Process-Structure Development Model
Business Process Maturity Model for Public Administration
SPICE: Software Process Improvement and Capability Determination (represents ISO/IEC 15504 for assessing business processes focused on software development)
SCAMPI: Standard CMMI Appraisal Method for Process Improvement
CMM: Capability Maturity Model
CMMI: Capability Maturity Model Integration
EFQM: European Foundation of
Quality Maturity Management (ISO 9001)
QMMG: Quality Management Maturity Grid
EDEN Maturity Model
CMMC: Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification
VTMM: Virtual Team Maturity Model
O-ISM3: Open Information Security Management Maturity Model
EMM: E-learning Maturity Model
OPM3: Organisational Project Management Maturity Model
P3M3: Portfolio, Programme and Project Management Maturity Model
Performance Management Maturity Model
TMM: Testing Maturity Model
TMMi: Test Maturity Model integration

If you want to know more there are some great research papers and books, check here:

Business process maturity models: a systematic literature
review by Tarhan, A., Turetken, O., & Reijers, H. A. (2016) Eindhoven University

Evaluation of Maturity Models for Business Process Management Johannes Britsch
, Rebecca Bulander and Frank Morelli from the University of Mannheim

Evaluating Business Process Maturity Models Van Looy, Poels and Snoeck

Business Process Orientation: Gaining the E-Business Competitive Advantage by Kevin P. McCormack, William C. Johnson

There are a number of ways business maturity models can be described or referred to:

Process maturity
Process management maturity
BPM maturity
Process management capability
BPM capability
Capability model
Business maturity
Business capability
Process orientation

Assessing the Maturity of Your Processes

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