How do you know if your diet is working? You need to start with a baseline and then measure change from that. You should do the same for all your processes. From that process baseline, you can know whether your process is getting better, worse, or not changing.

The term “process baseline” typically refers to a documented representation or snapshot of a specific process at a given point in time. It serves as a reference or starting point for evaluating and improving the process over time. 

Overview: What is a process baseline? 

Here’s a general process for establishing a baseline:

  1. Identify and determine the specific process that you want to establish a baseline for. 
  2. Clearly articulate the objectives or goals of the process. What outcomes are you trying to achieve? What are the key performance indicators (KPIs) or metrics that will measure success?
  3. Document the current state of the process. This involves capturing the steps, activities, inputs, outputs, decision points, roles and responsibilities, and any supporting documentation or resources associated with the process. You can use flowcharts, process maps, control charts or written procedures to describe the process.
  4. Collect relevant data and metrics about the process. 
  5. Review the documented process and the gathered data to identify areas of improvement or inefficiencies. 
  6. Based on the analysis, set specific improvement goals or targets for the process. 
  7. Using the documented process and the gathered data as a foundation, establish a baseline by capturing the current performance levels of the process. Control charts are great for this purpose.
  8. Share the process baseline with relevant stakeholders, such as process owners, team members, or management. 
  9. Continuously monitor and measure the process’s performance against the established baseline. 
  10. Based on the monitoring and measurement results, identify areas for further improvement and implement changes to the process. 

An industry example of a process baseline

Let’s consider an example of a process baseline for a customer support ticket resolution process in a software company:

Process Steps:

  1. Customer submits a support ticket through the company’s ticketing system.
  2. Support ticket is triaged and assigned to an available support agent.
  3. Support agent reviews the ticket details and gathers additional information if needed.
  4. Support agent investigates and troubleshoots the reported issue.
  5. Support agent provides a response or solution to the customer.
  6. Customer acknowledges the response and provides feedback if necessary.
  7. If the issue is resolved, the support ticket is marked as closed. If not, it is escalated or re-assigned.
  8. Support agent documents the resolution and updates the ticketing system.
  9. Periodic review and analysis of closed tickets for quality assurance and process improvement.


  1. Cycle Time: The time taken from ticket submission to resolution.
  2. First Response Time: The time taken to provide the initial response to the customer.
  3. Customer Satisfaction Score: Feedback from customers on their satisfaction with the support received.
  4. Escalation Rate: The rate at which tickets need to be escalated to higher levels of support.
  5. Resolution Rate: The percentage of tickets resolved within a specific timeframe.


  • Cycle Time: Average cycle time for ticket resolution is 2 business days.
  • First Response Time: Average first response time is within 4 hours.
  • Customer Satisfaction Score: Current customer satisfaction score is 85%.
  • Escalation Rate: Escalation rate is 10% of total tickets.
  • Resolution Rate: 80% of tickets are resolved within 48 hours.

This baseline provides a snapshot of the current state of the customer support ticket resolution process. It serves as a reference point for future evaluations and improvement efforts. By comparing the actual performance against the baseline, the company can identify areas for improvement, set goals, and measure progress over time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about a process baseline

Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about process baselines:

What is a process baseline?

A process baseline is a documented representation or snapshot of a specific process at a given point in time. It serves as a reference or starting point for evaluating and improving the process over time.

Why is it important to establish a process baseline? 

Establishing a process baseline is important because it provides a benchmark for evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of a process. It helps in identifying areas for improvement, setting improvement goals, and measuring progress over time.

What should be included in a process baseline?

A process baseline should include a clear description of the process steps, inputs, outputs, decision points, roles and responsibilities, and any associated documentation or resources. It should also incorporate relevant metrics and data that reflect the process’s current performance.

How often should a process baseline be updated? 

The frequency of updating a process baseline depends on the nature of the process and the rate of change within the organization. Ideally, it should be reviewed and updated periodically or whenever significant changes occur in the process.

About the Author