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Q 39 - Is there anything called a mature process? When do you say that a process has good maturity? If a process is supposed to be improved or redesigned periodically, does an assessment for the maturity of a process carry any significance? 


(To get more clarity to the third question above, please read on - We like to believe that there is always scope for process improvement. Let us assume that a process is assessed and found to have high maturity. If this process is highly mature, does it mean it has little scope for improvement or redesign? On the other hand, if this high maturity process is being improved (or redesigned), does it mean that it was not highly mature at the first place?)  


This question is a part of the November Episode and can be answered by approved Excellence Ambassadors till 10 PM on November 7, 2017. There are many rewards amounting to 0.5 million INR or more. Just being regular here earns you a reward. Even a streak of 3 great answers can get you a reward. All rewards are mentioned here - https://www.benchmarksixsigma.com/forum/excellence-ambassador-rewards/


All questions so far can be seen here - https://www.benchmarksixsigma.com/forum/lean-six-sigma-business-excellence-questions/ 


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Process Maturity in an organisation means, all the processes or whatever the organisation does as business , is done in a documented way and everyone knows what is expected of them and performs accordingly. In such organisations, performance is not dependent on individuals or just by things falling in place without intension, but due to proper process flow. All decisions are made on proper situation analysis and documented decision logic.

Once there is total confidence in the organisation that the above mentioned is true and not a mere desired concept, there will always be a scope for measurement & analysis of every process or cascading sub processes. The process maturity thus embodies the indication of how close a developing process is to completion and stable enough to capable for continual improvement- it goes without saying that qualitative measures and analysis need to be applied. It is noteworthy that for good level of Measurement and analysis , relevant data needs to be accessible as and when required.  So, all processes which are complete in it’s purpose or usefulness to the big organisational needs and are automated as much as possible and are reliable in information with the scope for continuous improvement are Mature processes. Required data, which is relevant for measurement and analysis towards improvement is available from within a mature process.

Thus , it may not be wrong to say that the prerequisite for a process to improve is that the process needs to be mature- at whatever level . Hence, the assessment for maturity of a process carries great significance. The substantial science behind the concept of process maturity is that there are 5 levels to define the maturity of the process- Level 1 is the least mature and the level 5 is the most mature. The processes at any level address the features of the lower levels – The ground level is level 0 where there is no defined process for the activity- Obviously  it is not mature at all!!

The 5 levels to define the maturity of the process:

Level 0- Person dependent Practices- No Documentation

With experience it is seen that all activities are adhoc , as there is no fixed documented process . There is no guarantee of achievement of purpose or of Turn around time(TAT). The communication between functions is minimal and is mostly with a directive approach. Because the activity is person dependent, If there is any change of person who owns the activity, knowledge transfer or handover of the method may not happen most of the times.

Level 1- Documented process

The sponsor, most of the times the CEO or COO of the company approves the documented processes , However the control on the process is not evident because of many reasons including process drift from what is documented or other changes that have occurred in the business environment since the document was drafted.

Level 2- Partial Deployment

Here the documented process is deployed, but inconsistently- many a times not in all intended locations/ sites or and not in all functions or and not by all the intended “doers”….etc. Thus the documented process has variations and hence there is inconsistency in results.

Level 3- Full Deployment

The deployed processes match the documentation and caters to all  intended sites , doers and all functions are linked as is defined. The consistency of the process is better than ever before and the communication between functions are complete and closed.

Level 4- Measured and Automated

Noteworthy improvement is the adherence to timelines , better customer satisfaction, cost control with measurement for each matrix. The process is system driven such as ERPs, Csats, VOC and other custom made softwares.

Level 5- Continuosly Improving-

The process matrices af being analysed for positive changes & improvement . The targets and goals are also being set with due analysis of trends and possibilities through DOE and other techniques such as Six Sigma, Kaizen etc. The systems being used are also being regularly upgraded and scope for errors are also reduced with strategies like poka- yoke.

The Table below summarises the Maturity levels-

Maturity Level

Person Dependent

Documented Process

Partial Deployment

Full Deployment

Measured & Automated

Continuous Improvement

Level 0







Level 1







Level 2







Level 3







Level 4







Level 5








As aforementioned, The processes at any level address the features of the lower levels. The above table can be used as a checklist to definen the current status of the process being followed . This can be an effective tool before augmenting on the redesign or improvement of a process. Hence the concept of and assessment of the maturity of an existing process is very significant. As is always said the right place to start is “as is Now”!!



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Process starts its journey from ground zero where everything is reactive. First good step process journey takes if standardization at the local level focusing on specific area of work. Later the learnings from this area has to be shared to larger audience, that way standardization will stretch to more work area and standardized ways of working across larger audience to make sure that we do not reinvent the wheel. Later process takes its next step establishing quantifiable measures to remove subjectivity of the improvement and refine the improvement. Later the measurements are strengthened and used as a lever to predict the future of the process and to take proactive steps. Ultimately process takes the tip of the maturity pyramid by attaining continuous evolution by getting better than what it was earlier. So the journey keep going on.

In this quest of process excellence, process can be compared with its own history and see the progress and assess how good the maturity is. Process can also look at industry baselines to get good perspective of the maturity. Process improvement and redesign is an integral part of the good evolving process, which needs motivation factor of assessing the maturity of the process and set the course towards betterment. So maturity assessment is a key part of Process excellence journey.

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We may start responding to this question by having a brief look at the levels of maturity for a process. The concept of maturity levels have been widely popularized by the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) brought out by Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon University. The 5 maturity levels as per CMM model are Initial, Repeatable, Defined, Managed and Optimized. Though CMM is associated with software processes, the concept can be seen with a generic outlook.


The levels of maturity for a process may be defined as follows:


Level 0 – No formal process exists

In this level, there is no process documented, but the activity still happens. High amount of human dependency and no repeatability is assured. Predictability in terms of achieving results within specified time line is poor. Any change in people can seriously impact the outcome and no formal knowledge transfer exists.


Level 1 – Documented process:

Basic level documentation exists for the process that would even have been approved by supervisory staff. However, compliance to this process is not guaranteed. It is not sure that even if the documented process is adhered the process will deliver well, because, the documentation might not have been updated.


Level 2 – Partial Deployment: 

In this level, the documented process is deployed, but with inconsistencies and incompleteness. The inconsistencies could be result of poor deployment discipline or due to lack of realistic updating of the documentation.


Level 3 – Full Deployment: 

In this level, the deployment inconsistencies no longer exist and the process has been deployed with compliance and completeness. Better inter functional co-ordination and communication will be seen.


Level 4 – Measured and Automated: 

This is a stage of maturity where process metrics are available being used for tracking the effectiveness and efficiency of the process against set standards. The process may also be governed by IT tools such as automated workflow or enterprise resource planning applications.


Level 5 – Continuously Improving

This is considered the highest state of maturity for the process. Not only are the metrics monitored for ensuring the process goals are met, but are also tightened for continual improvement using programs such as Kaizen and Lean six sigma. Continual improvements are done for automation and mistake proofing as well. Governance systems are in place for meeting the goals of the process as well as for driving continual improvement of the process efficiencies and effectiveness.


From the above discussion on the Process Maturity levels, it is seen that the highest matured state (Level 5) actually calls for inbuilt system to ensure continual improvement of the process. Hence a matured process by definition does not imply that there is not further scope for improvement. In fact, a good level of process maturity is a pre-requisite for driving continual improvements. if we try to do a improvement on  process that is not matured, we are likely to slip back on our gains and end up doing the same effort repeatedly.




As depicted above, the famous PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) wheel, (Deming Wheel), where, while we need to take the improvement wheel up the ramp, the gains have to be sustained by placing the wedge in the form of QMS (Quality Management Systems) to sustain the gains and prevent it from slipping back. Here the QMS represents the Process Maturity, which is a important pre-requisite for supporting continual improvement and also supports to sustain the improvement.

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Definitions of Maturity


The definitions for some of the various types of maturity are as under:


Psychological Maturity

Acquired ability to respond to environment in an appropriate manner

Financial Maturity

Stage, an investment reaches a state when it can be liquidated

Fruit Maturity

Time when the fruit is ripe and fit for consumption


The commonality in the above definitions is that there is something beneficial that comes out of the state called maturity, be it intangible like a response or something tangible like money or fruit. Amongst these, the best analogy for a “Mature” process would be that of a “Mature” person.


What does a Mature process do?


Just as a mature person is able to respond correctly to the environment and the changes therein, a mature process is able to take in its stride the changes that can impact it adversely and continue delivering to specifications.


Stability is just one sign of a matured process. But it is not just stability that makes a process mature. Prolonged spells of stability under different and varying environmental conditions are better indicators of the maturity of a process. The process continues to remain in control under different conditions and at the same time is also capable of meeting different sets of specifications with appropriate settings.


For a mature process, those causes that are traditionally considered as “special” will have only the same impact as a “common” cause. This is because the process has become sufficiently robust to withstand the adverse impact of special causes.


These special causes include but are not restricted to one or more of the following changes.


1.    Origin of one or more of the input material or information

2.    Type, Quality and Quantity of one or more of the input material or information

3.    Type and Quality of tools used if any

4.    One or more of machine or process settings either planned or accidental

5.    One or more machine parts

6.    One or more Operators or staff

7.    Maintenance schedules

8.    Training schedules

9.    One or more output specifications

10.  End users or end uses of the output

11.  Duration of working – shift times and number of shifts, number of days in a week

12.  Shift supervision, Management

13.  Vendors related to the process

14.  Initiatives launched in the Department or organisation like QMS Certification, Structured Improvement approaches etc.


The mature process is able to withstand these and other special causes which would be expected to put the normal, “In control” process, out of control.


How does a process mature?


Maturity of a process is not a chance occurrence or an accident. It is a set of well-planned and executed actions over a period of time. Each step in the maturity progress of a process is a milestone and also an opportunity for lessons to be learnt for making the process more robust.


A process would start off with a basic level of process management in the form of a controlled pilot. After the pilot is successful with or without corrections and iterations, the process reaches a stage when it can be managed by characterising the various aspects of the process and any issues are immediately attended to and the process is swiftly brought back within control. Various small improvements are implemented or improvements already implemented in other areas of the organisation are extended to this process also. The process is capable of meeting the specifications and the purpose for which it was created. The process is maturing.


After some time, the process management becomes more proactive and potential problems are anticipated, predicted and attended to, without allowing them to impact the process. More improvements and early warning systems are either implemented afresh or read across from other processes. The process with some tweaking is capable of meeting a wider range of applications and their specifications. The process is further maturing.


Yet further down, management of the process becomes more and more measurement based and the fineness of control improves, along with the robustness of the process, which is now at a high level of maturity. Improvements become more data driven. Process stability is practically de rigueur and process capability for a variety of applications and specifications is also improving.


All the hard work done, all this while brings the process into an optimised state of operation in which, when anything is changed, the process remains not just stable but also capable. Improvements are further fine-tuned and the process can now be said to have matured.


Process redesign and Improvement


The changes in the market and as a result, changes in the business strategy will obviously result in changes to an organization and the processes that run in the organization. This will include these mature processes also. In fact, these mature processes will be the easiest to change and also the fastest to mature again under the new design and new operating conditions.


All the improvements that have been implemented and that have matured the process have now cleared the deck for a transformation or a quantum, breakthrough improvement, including possibility of redesign. Redesigning a process that is not matured will involve a lot of additional work, experimentation and data collection which is tantamount to almost reinventing the wheel.


Process maturity is not voided by process redesign or improvements. On the contrary, the process’ maturity has facilitated and simplified redesign

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Q. Is there anything called a mature process?


Process maturity is the extent to which a specific process is unambiguously defined, well managed, properly measured & controlled and highly effective ... The capability of a mature process is known.


The maturity of the process is defined to be 1 of  5 levels as below…


Maturity Level

Maturity indicators

Explaining  maturity in the way of Managements

Requisites for achieving maturity levels



Change management - Capable process, Perpetual Innovation, Benchmarking performance

Implementing continual proactive capability improvements/innovative process & resource optimization for achieving business targets.



Capability management -Predictable results, reuse/knowledge managements, reduced variation

Managing process/people/asset competency effectively with facts and figures  and exploits benefits of standardization and empowered practices



Competency management -Productivity growth, effective automation, Economies of scales aligning with the business strategy and objectives

Establishing standard operating process, measures and training for products & service offerings ,incorporating effective automation for productivity growth and collaborative work culture



Proper management -Reduced rework, Repeatable practices, defect controls ,Satisfied schedule ,defined role and responsibility

Establishing disciplined work unit management to stabilize the work and controlling commitments by creating better work /process environment ,imparting right training and proper communication methodology



Inconsistent management -Mistakes ,Adhoc methods, improper asset utilisation,Hero worship ,Person dependent etc.

Creating awareness and motivating people to overcome the problems and just get the job done.


Q. When do you say that a process has good maturity?


A disciplined process is called to be good maturity which has proper documentation with well-defined role and responsibility of individuals and standard operating process clearly mentioning the activity to be carried out with a proactive focus on optimized resource utilization and continual improvements with innovative practices and technological solution to achieve business goal and objectives



Q.If a process is supposed to be improved or redesigned periodically, does an assessment for the maturity of a process carry any significance? 


Yes, whatever maturity the process is achieved, always there is a room for improvements and assessments of that process will help to find if the current process is sustainable and there is any scope for improvements as a part of continual process innovations and optimizations.

Nothing is constant except change/continual improvements. Which is the best available option today will change tomorrow with some or other new innovative approaches or technological solutions.


Few examples of continual improvements of process maturity…


1. Land phone to  mobile hand phone to today’s smart phone

2. Old big picture tube TV changing to LCD ,LED and new generation smart TV

3. Single door refrigerator to double door refrigerator with inverted technology

4. Survival for existence leads to evolution of new form of life and still continual improvements are happening for adopting to the environment

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Process maturity is an indication of how close a developing process is to being complete and capable of continual improvement through qualitative measures and feedback. Thus, for a process to be mature, it has to be complete in its usefulness, automated, reliable in information and continuously improving.

A Lean Six Sigma maturity assessment should follow a three-phase approach: 1) assess, 2) analyze and 3) address.

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My first bits in this forum.. A great question indeed.

Maturity or Capability of any process is subjective to the needs of the organization / work / task. It is a common knowledge that maturity is measured across multiple Process areas while capability is measured with respect to a single area. When we say a Process is mature, we mean the work carried out involving relevant Process areas are optimal and desirable outcomes are guaranteed. But the needs of the organization may change or sometimes technological influences can alter certain Process areas making them redundant or sub optimal thereby enforcing 'a matured Process until now' to undergo further changes. So, it all boils down to the time when an assessment was made and if there are influences from then on that mandate revision of the 'matured Process'. Process improvement per say, is and will always be continuous and synonymous to an endless journey (of course, in the right direction !).

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Management which follows no standards has no means to assess the maturity of their business processes. They will have no method to assess the risk, immature processes pose to the projects, or to identify the root causes of weaknesses in their process workflows which if and when addressed, can reduce cost and increase operating efficiency. A process may be defined as “A system of operation or series of actions, changes, or functions that bring about an end or result including the transition criteria for moving from one stage or process step to the next.” A process is thus a predetermined course of action and a standing plan for people to follow in carrying out repetitive administrative tasks in a systematic way.  Processes play prominent role in coordination of activities between individuals and departments. They establish formal lines of communication and cooperation between organizational units.

A framework (ideally which is a top down structure from planning to action ) should be created for the business processes to guide the organization as they move from immature, inconsistent business process to mature, disciplined processes and also provide a roadmap for continuous process improvement. This will help identify process deficiencies in the organization and guide the improvements in logical, incremental steps. This framework should emphasize on the service level agreement (SLA) and metric definition for each business process. In other words, the organization needs to focus on improving the maturity level of key business processes. It is a must for quality improvement, cost reduction and reducing delivery-time and thereby improves organization’s commitment to quality. With this in mind companies go in for certifications like ISO, CMM/CMMI, and PCMM etc.

The maturity of a process or activity can be defined to be at one of five levels, from Level 1 (the least mature) to level 5 (the most mature). The ground level is Level 0 where no process exists for the activity. The process in this level is informal and adhoc and performance is unpredictable.


Mature processes on the other hand are ones that are:

– Defined- Practices are defined and integrated

– Repeatable and predictable- Project management system in place and

Performance is repeatable

– Controlled, measured and monitored- Product and processes are

Quantitatively controlled with detailed measurement

– Optimised for improvement- Process improvement includes change management and defect prevention.



Through the Organization’s growth, the maturity of its processes usually improves. But this may not be the case for all its business processes. Some processes may still be at the lower levels. This shows that the organization does not have an all-round maturity of its processes. There may be cases where the maturity levels may drop if not monitored or if the documents are not revised, according to changes in the business. So an established business may contain processes at different levels. To improve all business processes, an organization needs to spend a great deal of money, effort and time. In order to avoid this the organization needs to prioritize its business processes and enhance the process maturity levels gradually.

Thus process maturity is an indication of how close a developing process is to being complete and capable of continual improvement through qualitative measures and feedback. A mature process is one that is complete in its usefulness, automated, reliable in information and continuously improving. Six Sigma, Kaizan, business excellence, total quality management and similar methodologies encourage a quality and continuous process improvement culture.


The ‘capability’ of an organisation is measured by the maturity of its processes. Business-critical processes are the ones that have a stronger impact on the overall maturity of the organization. To have an all-round improvement of business processes, the Six Sigma DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) methodology can be used. Other well-known process models that can be used are Waterfall model, Spiral Development Model, Rapid Application Development, Incremental refinement.

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The process maturity model shows you how close your project is to being complete and whether it is capable of improvement, in order to be mature. A mature project has to be completely useful, reliable and continuously improving.

The maturity of a process can go from Level 1 (the least mature) to level 5 (the most mature):

  • Level 0 ­ no guarantee of either achieving the desired result or respecting timelines.
  • Level 1 ­ it may be doubtful that the activity is being performed according to the document.
  • Level 2 ­ the activity is being deployed, but there is inconsistency in the deployment.
  • Level 3 ­ no inconsistency between the documented process and the deployed process
  • Level 4 ­ The process is measured against its goals and automated
  • Level 5 ­ The goals that were set for the process are being analysed for achievements and improved regularly.

Improving your project's Maturity with the help of a Process Maturity Model

For improving your business processes, the Six Sigma DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, Control) steps can be used:

  • Define: Apply the maturity levels to the organisation, by using a questionnaire to assess the maturity level of each business process. Below is a template for the questionnaire.
  • Measure: use the questionnaire to arrive at each process’ maturity level.
  • Analyse: a plan of action must be created on how to improve the maturity level of specific processes, this way improving the overall level.
  • Improve: redefining or redesigning processes, automation, etc.
  • Control: a control plan must be generated and assessments of maturity levels of processes must be performed

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Yes. Processes of level 4 and 5 can be called "Mature Processes". An internal checklist can be created to quantify levels of maturity. Score achieved in the checklist can show the current level of the process which can be used as a baseline for improvement.



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A process in a simplistic term, can be said to be in a mature state under following scenarios:
  - If it is highly consistent and stable, with minimal or less variation, over a period of time [which

    means it operates within the specification limits and also well within the upper and lower

   control limits]
  - When it is compared with other similar processes and if it out-performs them
How does a process maturity happen?

Every process can get elevated to different levels at various stages. At its infancy, a process may not be a process at all and it depends on the individual efforts to provide the right results.  Then consciously efforts might be taken to increase the efficacy of the process. That might result in the process addressing the efforts put by the individuals.  This can be followed by standardization of the process, followed by a concerted effort to stabilize the process by constant reviewing of the process and ensure that everything is in control.  Finally, the process is optimized such that continuous improvements are made to ensure that the process is capable enough to meet the rapid demands/needs of the market/customer.

Does an assessment for the maturity of a process carry any significance?

The maturity of a process needs to be known for various reasons.                                                        
a).Knowing  the current level of process maturity helps the stakeholders  to know as what needs

    to be done to get to the current market/customer needs,  in case if the process is below the

    expectation or need.
b).Knowing the process maturity , helps the leadership team in deciding whether the existing 

     process can be used for further improvements (to cater to changing customer/market needs)

    or whether a new process can be created.



Maturity of a process is a relative term. As market/customer needs increases or changes, the process which produces the necessary results need to be improved to cater to the changing needs. The maturity level of the process also accordingly need to be raised. There is chance that a process which was matured enough to handle the existing requirements , being not good enough to handle or becoming inconsistent to handle the new needs/changes.  Hence always a constant review is needed on such processes to ensure that the process is matured as it was earlier. 


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Yes a mature process is there,  it's like maturation of anything else similar to that.  For example a human being is mature thoroughly lifespan if we see the life cycle from birth to death.  Many stages comes like physical,  mental like that.  If we see a baby,  that also mature in a 9 month span after that baby birth possible so same case goes with manufacturing and other companies.  

As I am from car Manufacturing so will explain you by a example. 

For example we have a process to reduce parts on machine through dies., whenever any new model going to come,  it's trial starts and it's dies goes through many stages,  many trial to get the desired specific results or product as per specification so die is going through stages for maturation but the quantity and Quality of parts are affected while these stages,  when finally quality of parts achieved as per standard then finally die handover to production department for mass production.  The real problem starts from here because initially very few parts were made to achieve quality parts,  now thousands of parts you are going to produce.  So die maturation or process maturation totally depends on how many parts are you producing and what is your straight pass means how many parts are passed without handwork in other word first time yield and how much Rejection is there.  If over a period of time production department is capable to maintain the output withing standard with defined straight pass and Rejection target then we can say that process is matured enough or dies are matured now because parts producing from dies are meeting quality parameters with achieving all targets of rejection and straight pass.  


So possibility are there to modify process or redesign the process but still significance of mature process is there.  Because we have history card of the same process how it behaves in all situations and Wear and tear will be there while running on line and Improvement will be there to achieve the quality products but having all points in mind the behaviour of process,  dies we can go for modification and again check the parts quality whether meeting standard or not and check our targets of rejection and straight pass.  If it meets all criteria over a period of time again we can say that process is matured but we done some improvement,  continuous improvement to maintain the quality as per defined standard and defined target. 

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The "maturity" of a process is an indication of the extent to which the specific process is explicitly defined, managed, measured, controlled and predictable. It indicates the level to which the process is accepted by the organisation and is documented, understood, followed and is effective.


In my opinion, the assessment of the maturity level of a process is critical. It may not be a good idea to invest time, resources and energy into Improvement initiatives on inconsistent processes in an organisation. The efficiency or performance issues of the process might be just due to its inconsistency and unpredictability and special improvement exercise may be irrelevant.


Any process, that is worth being mapped (process maps) and analysed, needs to have a certain degree of consistency, predictability and discipline or in other words “Maturity”.


Various Levels of Process maturity have been defined as follows:


1.    Level 1 – Ad-hoc Process

  • Person/Individual dependent – high “Tribal” knowledge
  • Poor or no Control
  • Reactive in nature – “Firefighting” process
  • No or minimal documentation
  • No integration or communication between functions
  • Example: Entrepreneurial / Freelance Business trying to just get things done.

2.    Level 2 – Organized -Documented, Managed, Repeatable Process

  • Some level of documentation is maintained
  • Characterised for projects and is often reactive
  • Consistent templates incorporated
  • Some integration with other functions
  • Basic management and control in place to track progress.
  • Process is repeatable
  • Example: Small organisation standardising process to repeat success and measure results.

 3.    Level 3 – Structured – Defined Process

  • Detailed documentation is maintained
  • Characterized for organization and is proactive
  • Consistent templates incorporated
  • Standardized and integrated with an organization wide methodology
  • Better process control in place to track progress.
  • Example: Organization with standardized documented processes implemented company wide

4.    Level 4 – Quantitatively Managed – Measured Automated and Controlled Process

  • Process output is measured and controlled
  • Fully traceable.
  • Measured against goals
  • System driven by ERP and CRM software
  • Example: Large Organizations standardizing and aligning their processes to achieve strategic goals.


5.    Level 5 – Optimizing and Continuous Improvement

  • Focus on process improvement and integration
  • Goals are analyzed and improved
  • Outputs constantly measured and monitored for performance.
  • Organization understands their processes well and is capable of conducting experiments and evaluate improvements/benefits
  • Examples: Process undergoing continuous quality improvement via techniques such as Six Sigma, Kaizan,poka-yoke and so on.


Ideally a Process at Level 4 would be a good Maturity level. The process is well understood, followed, repeatable, predictable and is at a position where time and energy can be invested to map , analyze and further improve it.


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Q4, Episode 3 - Is there anything called a mature process? When do you say that a process has good maturity? If a process is supposed to be improved or redesigned periodically, does an assessment for the maturity of a process carry any significance? 


Today’s technological developed market requires a best product / service, for which they rely on the organizations which excels in their ways of working. Hence organizations have to excel in their processes / work to satisfy the customer. Merely creating a maturity model and implementing does not mean the business process is best / excellent. Matured process is a measure of how well the process is excellent to delight the customer, lead the market and sustain the growth of the processes by exceling. Maturity measure requires the Six sigma, kaizens , lean and continuous improvement plans. Gradually the process imbibes the technical essence of these and excel in the process to say the process is matured. In short, the process is more concentrated on its capabilities to reach the process excellence.


Process means “ a system of operations to produce the changes or end product/end result.” In any business framework, the essence of organization is people. Employees should work together to yield a business excellence at reasonable cost and overall efforts. Generally business processes follows the below framework for planning and execution of decisions and actions.  A business process generally includes all the functions / departments ‘s activities or all processes (output of one process being input of another processes.).


Why business process is important?

There are many processes involved making together as one business process. Eg. Coding company has many specialties like Inpatient coding, Outpatient coding, edits and claims, etc. For the business process to be successful with the overall efforts placed depends on the following factors as well.

Link between functions: Processes can be horizontally connected or vertically connected in the organization. The output of one processes is input of another processes. For the business process to excel, it is mandate that we concentrate on the entire fragments of business as one process and work upon to excel. Improving one process at the cost of another will not provide the expected end result.

Cost of transactions: It is very important for the organization to plan and document, then standardize the actions/ steps involved in the process to make the transactions cost effective. Document the initial knowledge developed in the process as tribal knowledge, which might help in the future.

Consistency in actions: Whatever the decisions and actions planned, the same have to be repeatedly followed to avoid rework waste and cost.

Reliability of information: If the data collection process is well designed, then the information gathered around the data would be reliable.

Assurance to top management: Providing confidence to the top management that the activities are taken care of in a proper way will build trust on team to trial any actions / decisions.


Levels of Process maturity:

The maturity of the process can be defined in one of the levels(0 to 5).

Level 0 – People dependent process – No documented process is followed here. All the activities / steps are depending on the people working. Hence there will be multiple reworks, errors, and customer satisfaction would be a question. Knowledge transfer is not possible due to shortcuts followed to get the end result.

Level 1 – Documented process: All the steps or processes are documented, recorded may be for future trainings. It will be created, reviewed and approved by the top management. If the process is at this stage, not moving to next,  or consistently delivering bad quality,  there will be a process drift since the document is not updated from the time drafted. So it is important, that we frequently update the document.

Level 2 – Partial deployment – All the business processes / functions are not deployed with the actions taken. There is inconsistency in deployment of the decisions/ actions.

Level 3 – Full deployment – No inconsistency found between the documented process and deployment process. Deployment happened in all functions as totality. This is as result of better communication.

Level 4 – Measured & Automated: Entire process is automated and hence it is measured then and there to level the progress of the product. Short term goals are set within the process like timelines, quality, rate of production, cost, etc. It is either system driven or resource driven during audits.

Level 5 – Continuously improving – The goals set already are regularly measured and monitored using the tight controls like Six sigma, kaizens, etc. the end goal of this initiative is error free product / service to the customer. Lean is made effective into the system to produce such environments.


When the organization is initiated, the model been utilized to excel in the processes built into the business. Even after the maturity is gained, the process can drop to the level, where it might require some process reengineering. In such cases, the documents revised, the levels are adhered and progressed to level 5 to sustain its maturity.


Apply DMAIC: (3 A Approach – Assess, Analyze and address)

Define – Develop the questionnaire

Measure – gather the documented process and audit the current process against the documented. Measure the gaps. Even if the process is automated and still not documented, then the process has deviations. It is considered a low level maturity process.

Analyze – Analyze the data gathered for information. Use that information to create the need and demand for process improvement.

Improve – Using Six sigma / Kaizen or some of the lean tools like standard work, etc, standardize the process.

Control – Document the changes and create control plans to sustain the maturity level of the process. If the sustenance plan is not maintained, the maturity may drop.


3A Approach - https://www.isixsigma.com/new-to-six-sigma/getting-started/are-you-ready-how-conduct-maturity-assessment/


Process Maturity framework –



Immature Vs. Mature process: 

Immature Process

Mature process

Immature process is always reactionary. It is also called fire fighting

Matured process is planned, documented and capable of producing the products

No realistic goals set.

Realistic short term goals are set to achieve the excellence model

Utilizes more cost / budget, time and resources than planned.

Cost effective, schedules are adhered. Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined.

Quality is compromised

No quality compromise is allowed.

No objective judgement / audit done to improvise the quality

Continuous improvements are trailed and documented to excel in the ways of working for customer.

Process is kind of outdated, which results in rework, and might lose the customer

Process is well disciplined due to the overall team efforts in implementing the actions and decisions.


If the process is highly matured, it should not need any improvement. If it needs any improvement, why is it called matured?


Yes. Any process which is highly matured, should not require any improvements, if the process is continuously documented and achieved the automated stage. In such cases, the error free environment is created. Which means the system enablers are driven with the resource planning, enterprise planning at the reasonable cost. The process as totality is studied regularly and measured using rating scales. Critical business processed will be identified, rated and analyzed for continuous improvements. Any highly matured process without unattended for a period of time would drop its maturity. Hence it is required to frequently measure them.


As the customer becomes educated about the product over a period of time, it is as important for the organizations also to educate themselves in the market and excel in the processes. Certain strategies like repeated usability of the process, effective communication and documentations of the process predominantly plays a major role. Usability has its own element like attracting work, doing work and communicating work. Usability of the processes and documenting the same with regular monitoring techniques will enable the process mature.



Leaders of each and every functions should begin to addresses their process’s strengths and weakness. Use brain storm technique to collect the data and list it. Use prioritization matrix to identify the critical ones or develop  a rating scale of 1-5 with 1 being least and 5 being best. Develop solutions or actions to improvise the process. Using Gnatt chart to effectively monitor the implementation of the actionable in totality. Organisation should continuously strive for kaizens to build a matured process along with the coordinated effort.




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Yes, a Process definitely can be termed as : Mature Process. A Mature Process can be defined as one that has 1) Minimum Special Cause Variation & Common Cause Variation 2) It is delivering the Output that is to the satisfaction of the Customer.


Process Matturity is a relative term. In comparison to Brand New Processes which are yet to deliver Outcome to expected standards, a Process which achieved the desired level of Quality/Outcome standards can be termed so. Eg : BPO Processes are called BAU after the process stabilizes.


The Process will definitely be open for "Continuous Improvement". A Redesign will be necessitated when the process has become outdated either due to change in the "Desired Outcome" or "Technology Enhancement in delivering the Product/ Service".


Therefore, my vote is a YES to terming some processes as "Mature"; though the assignment is subject to Market Conditions/Evolving Business enviroment in that business space/ industry.


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Process Maturity

The essence of any business is that people working together to achieve a common goal.  For the overall efforts to be successful, decisions and actions must be coordinated among individuals and various groups of the company.  These actions must be consistent, coherent, and should yield satisfactory results at a reasonable cost.  These concerted actions are otherwise called process.  In other words, the process can be defined as “a sequence of steps performed to achieve certain goals”.  It is a predetermined course of action and a standard plan for the company staff to follow to achieve the set goals/objectives.


The business leaders should constantly monitor the current state of their business and the processes being exercised in their companies.  To keep up with the pace to achieve the company’s objectives, the leadership should keep on improving their processes.  By doing so, over a period of time, the processes of the company get matured while achieving their set goals.  Thus, process maturity is being achieved in every company like this.


Good maturity of the process

The highly competitive businesses around the world are focusing on their processes for meeting the SLAs, quality improvement, cost reduction, improving their ETA’s, etc.


The process maturity is an indication of how close a developing process is to being complete and capable of continual improvement through qualitative measures and feedback.  Thus, for a process to achieve a good maturity, it has to be complete in its usefulness, automated, reliable in information and continuously improving.  Also, it is important to improve the entire gamut of business processes to achieve the desired competitive edge.  All the above together helps in achieving the process to reach a good maturity level.


Significance of the process maturity Assessment

Even for the matured processes, assessment of the process maturity is very important, because the executive management has to assess their companies from the process point of view, to come to a conclusion whether the company is moving in the right direction or not.

This self evaluation is very much needed to help the industry leadership to initiate any other kind of quality methodologies to be implemented apart from what there in the company already.  In that way, the process maturity assessment takes significance, even though every time all the existing processes are to be improved and redesigned periodically.

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Process Maturity:

                              Process maturity is an indication of how close a developing process is to being complete and capable of continual improvement through qualitative measures and feedback. Thus, for a process to be mature, it has to be complete in its usefulness, automated, reliable in information and continuously improving. 


The maturity of a process or activity can be defined to be at one of five levels, from Level 1 (the least mature) to level 5 (the most mature). The processes at higher levels also address the features of the lower levels. The ground level is Level 0 where no process exists for the activity.

Level 0 – Person-Dependent Practices

Level 1 – Documented Process

Level 2 – Partial Deployment

Level 3 – Full Deployment

Level 4 – Measured and Automated

Level 5 – Continuously Improving


If a process is supposed to be improved or redesigned periodically, does an assessment for the maturity of a process carry any significance? 

                      The Highly Matured process is the Fifth stage, that is the Continuously Improving stage. Though the Process is in a Highly Mature stage also there is a chance or Scope for improvement, since it is a Continuously improvement phase. Processes at this level focus on continually improving process performance through both incremental and innovative changes and improvements. We have to monitors whether the Goals of the Process are achieved & completed, so that we can make New Goals & make continuous improvement

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I understand that Process maturity is the extent to which business processes in an organization are Defined, Managed, Measured, Controlled & ultimately Effective in delivering " Defect Free " Product / Service complying with Customer's Specs. / Requirement as stated in a PO or a Legal Contract.


Consistency in Quality of Product / Service delivered at an agreed Cost & within agreed Delivery time is the basic indication of a matured process. However there is always a scope/room for improvement even for a matured process to stay in tune with the ever-changing  business situation in terms of " Change in Customer's requirement , Change in number of Customers , Change in Product / Service necessitated due to geographic considerations ( warm woollen garments in Delhi will not be required in Chennai ) , Affordability of Customers in terms of Cost & waiting time etc.


In my view, the Customer's Demand i.e. number of units required / month vis a vis organization's capacity/ability to supply the units/month is a very good indicator of the Maturity of organization's business process. Ever increasing demand or " Repeat orders " from a Customer is another indicator of process maturity. 


Hot selling " Royal Enfield " from Eicher Motors is the best real-life example I can think of to understand the essence of my note above. 


Pl. visit 




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This is a question that fetched us a lot of similar answers, especially about the definitions of maturity levels. The similarity in answers made it specifically difficult to choose the three best ones.


Raghavendra Rao answered all parts of the question asked and also articulated the answer in his own words, though it could have been structured better to further improve the quality of the response.


Venugopal R has mentioned how assessing process maturity and not rolling back is the way to go. Not verbose at all, very well structured.


Rajesh Chakrabarty has clearly outlined how a process evolves and matures and also shared a tabular summary of maturity levels. This is the chosen best answer to the process maturity question.

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