Maturity Assessment – A General Approach

Maturity assessment in an organization is part of current state analysis. In strategy formation or in the enterprise architecture projects, understanding the current state is one of the major milestone. The maturity assessment includes project management, project portfolio management, application portfolio management , process management, IT financial control management, IT investment management, risk management, etc. The maturity level can be determined based on the answers on the following questions. It is more general (abstract) model and it can be applied almost any functional area except the people management.

  • Is there a process exist today in an organization?
  • Is the process documented?
  • Is the process communicated to the organization? (people are aware of the existence of the process)
  • Is the process consistently followed?
  • Is the process institutionalist ?
  • Is the process managed?
  • Is the process optimized?

For any maturity assessment, the level of maturity can be determined by depth of the “yes” answer in the list. If none of the above question has a yes answer, then the maturity of that area is in level 0.

Let us take a project management maturity assessment in an organization. Project management’s key objective is to manage cost, quality and time. It is triple constraint in the project management. There are frameworks available from PMBOK to perform the project management in an organization. PMBOK framework suggests that there are nine knowledge area and five process groups.

Five process groups

  1. Initiation
  2. Plan
  3. Execution
  4. Control and Monitor
  5. Closure

Nine knowledge areas

  1. Integration Management
  2. Time Management
  3. Scope Management
  4. Cost Management
  5. Risk Management
  6. Quality Management
  7. Human Resource Management
  8. Communication Management
  9. Procurement Management

Take each member of the process group and ask the above questions. For instance let us take initiation process. During this phase, for any projects, the organization must make sure there is a business case. cost benefit analysis, benefit realization plan etc. Identify the major steps in the initiation phase and ask the above questions. Collate the answers to determine the maturity level in the initiation process. Repeat the steps for all members of process groups. Collate all the answers from all the process groups and will determine the project management maturity level in the organization.

The above model can be applied to portfolio management assessment, IT financial management assessment, IT investment management and etc..

Application Portfolio Assessment – Key metrics and its measurement technique

Quality attributes of a system are few key metrics used to perform the application portfolio assessment. Quality attributes like maturity, adaptability, flexibility, availability, stability are quite a few frequently used metrics in the application portfolio assessment. All of them are subjective metrics and can not be measured directly. All of these metrics are measured through various other observed parameters. Among the listed quality attributes maturity and stability are predominately used in the assessment.

Let me propose how the maturity and stability of the systems can be measured in the landscape to perform the assessment. The purpose of the application portfolio assessment is to rank the system in various categories (same as the Boston consulting methodology). In simpler words, the list of applications which are cash cows to the company, list of applications which are dogs, list of applications which are stars and “?” question mark.

The idea is, as an enterprise architect and IT strategist, you want to make sure all the cash cow applications are stable, matured and in general, has very low risk. Measuring the stability and maturity are very subjective and often it is difficult to present the realistic picture in the exercise.

Stability represents the availability of the system. If a system is stable means that it is running in a solid platform provides a better high availability. The availability of the system can be measured by collecting the number of outages occurred, number of preventive measures (emergency change controls), number of special care taken (like special jobs, running jobs manually which are planned to run as per the schedule), number of upgrades and technology architecture. All these factors come together to derive the probability of the system failure in a given time. The probability translates to the stability of the system. If the probability of failure is negligible, then the system is very stable and if the probability of failure is very high and then the system is very unstable.

Maturity represents the obsolescences of the system. Technology and functional obsolescences are two parameters represents how much of the functionality of the systems are continued to be used by the end users, and how technology obsolescences presents the number of legacy technologies being used in the system. If the technologies used in the systems are kept up to date and fully supported by the software providers, then the technology obsolescence is considered very low. The functional obsolescence can be calculated by counting the number of functional points in the system and total number of functional points that are being used. More the number of functional points not being used by the end user the more the functional obsolescence is. More functional obsolescence is less the system maturity is.

Stability and maturity of the system can be used by the above proposed approach.