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Organizational Maturity II, a Little Research

Okay, time to pick up where I left off last month. You may or may not remember my post about assessing organizational maturity in order to discern the appropriate scope and/or starting point for continuous improvement efforts so I’ll refresh your memory with a quote from the post:

“Our target end state for an organization is that of a mature populace which has taken the tenets of Lean / Six Sigma and woven them into the everyday fabric of the business. One which communicates problems in a common vernacular, uses data to develop solutions, and ultimately develops a relentless pursuit of perfection.”

Obviously that statement reflects the goal but what is the reality? Well, I did some research on how experts in various fields go about the process of gauging organizational maturity and this is what I discovered:

•The software development industry surpasses most every other industry I could find information on when it comes to tools employed to conduct such an assessment. In this industry, which I’ll admit is quite foreign to me, there appears to be widespread recognition of the need to gauge organizational maturity prior to the development of applications specific to the organization. I found more journal articles and scholarly research on the subject as it relates to software development than for any other industry by a wide margin. In fact, the Software Engineering Institute developed a “Capability Maturity Model” in the 1980’s which is still in use today, albeit revised. Do a search on CMM to find more.

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•Project management was another field for which I found some information. On the surface it appears the practice of gauging organizational maturity as a part of project risk assessment is common. That said, I’ve been around project work for quite a while and though most projects I’ve seen have a risk assessment component, I don’t recall ever encountering an organizational maturity profile. Maybe it’s a part of the BoK that doesn’t get used much outside academe.

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•Another discovery I made was that the CMM (capability model) I mentioned before was the foundation for the organizational assessment process currently used as part of ISO9000. Once again I find myself outside my area of expertise so maybe some of you quality guru’s could help me out. I’ve seen some of the ISO assessment tools but I don’t recall one that relates specifically to organizational maturity.

I’ll leave it here for now but I’d really like to see some input on this one. My brief research indicates that there are a number of different approaches to how this can be done and I’d love to hear of your experience with such tools if you have it. In the meantime, I will do some more digging to see if I can come up with some links to specific assessment tools.

More later, Michael

Comments 1

  1. Andrew Downard

    Hi Michael,

    I was first introduced to the idea of using organizational maturity to enable continuous improvement/Six Sigma at a conference in 2004. The presenter was Ty Shattuk of L3 Communications. I still have a pdf copy of his presentation from the conference CD.

    After seeing this presentation, I went back to some of the original CMM literature from the software industry. Using this and Mr Shattuk’s work as a foundation, I developed a maturity model to underly the deployment I was involved with at the time, and have since refined that original model for use at my present employer. Since walking out of the room after the L3 presentation, I have constantly used organizational maturity models as a foundation for planning and executing Six Sigma deployment. It’s probably the single most useful organizing concept for Six Sigma deployment that I’ve come across yet. I don’t know how I’d think about deployment without it at this point.

    I’d be happy to share material with you offline if you want.

    Andrew.

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