The underlying premise of process management is that the quality of products and services is largely determined by the quality of the processes used to develop, deliver and support them. A concept which has been closely related to process quality over the last few years is the maturity of the process and it is important to highlight the current proposal of Business Process Maturity Model (BPMM), which is based on the principles, architecture and practices of CMM and CMMI for Software and describes the essential practices for the development, preparation, deployment, operations and support of product and service offers from determining customer needs. When maturity models are in place, it is important not to forget the important role that measurement can play, being essential in organizations which intend to reach a high level in the maturity in their processes. This is demonstrated by observing the degree of importance that measurement activities have in maturity models. This chapter tackles the Business Process Maturity Model and the role that business measurement plays in the context of this model. In addition, a set of representative business process measures aligned with the characteristics of BPMM are introduced which can guide organizations to support the measurement of their business processes depending on their maturity.
As stated in (OMG, 2007), “the underlying premise of process management is that the quality of products and services is largely determined by the quality of the processes used to develop, deliver and support them”. Regardless of what the business of an organization is, whether software development, government business or manufacturing, the need to explicitly define, manage, measure, control, analyze and improve its business processes is the same. A concept which has been closely related to process quality over the last few years is the maturity of the process, especially in the context of software processes.
Process maturity is based on the first ideas of (Crosby, 1979) and (Humphrey, 1987) and represents the degree of explicit definition, management, measurement, control and effectiveness a process has. The works of Humphrey (Humphrey, 1987) were carried out in the context of the development of CMM (Paulk et al., 1993) and later CMMI (CMMI Product Team, 2002 and 20062006), and have become important reference models for improving the capability of software organizations. Since then, many similar standards have been developed for other processes, for example the People CMM (Curtis, 1995) which applied process maturity to the management and development of an organization’s workforce.
In a mature organization, processes are defined, performed and managed and accurately communicated to the staff, and work activities are carried out according to planned processes. These processes are documented and usable with roles and responsibilities that are clearly defined and understood by the people performing the associated activities. The needed improvements in selected processes are developed and controlled and aligned with business objectives. The quality of products and services are monitored, as well as the processes that produce them (OMG, 2007). Thus, the importance and benefits of process maturity in an organization are clear.
Recently, earlier proposals which have shown themselves to be useful in the context of software processes have been applied to business processes. The main example of this is the current proposal for a Business Process Maturity Model (OMG, 2007), which is based on the principles, architecture and practices of CMM and CMMI for Software and describes the essential practices for the development, preparation, deployment, operations and support of product and service offers from determining customer needs. The BPMM, like other maturity models, is expected to benefit organizations in terms of rework reduction, consistency and improvements in quality (OMG, 2007).
When maturity models are in place, it is important not to forget the important role that measurement can play. As a matter of fact, measurement is essential in organizations which intend to reach a high level in the maturity in their processes. This is demonstrated by observing the degree of importance that measurement activities have in maturity models. Measurement provides objective information about and a view of project performance, process performance, process capability and product and service quality. Moreover, measurement helps to provide objective insight into issues in order to identify and manage risks and to provide the early detection and resolution of problems.
The use of measures and other information makes it possible for organizations to learn from the past in order to improve performance and achieve better predictability over time. It also provides information that improves decision-making in time to affect the business outcome. Therefore measurement activities are fundamental for the improvement of process, product and service quality, since they provide objective information that can be used for decision making. An organization with a mature approach in this area will have confidence in its abilities to deliver products or services that meet its customers’ needs (Goldenson et al., 2003)
Key Terms in this Chapter
Activity: An element of work performed as part of a planned effort. An activity is often the lowest level work element in a work breakdown structure. It normally has an expected duration, an expect cost, and expected resource requirements, (BPMM, 2007).
Maturity Level: A maturity level is a defined evolutionary plateau of process improvement. Each maturity level stabilizes an important part of the organization’s processes, (BPMM, 2007).
Business Process Model: A Business process model is a model of a business process of an organization, where a business process describes one of the standard sets of activities the organization needs to do to address one or more business requirements, (BPMM, 2007).
Measurement and Analysis: A list of activities which principal objective is to use quantitative information (obtained with measurement activities) to guide management decisions. Moreover, they involve planning and preparing for measurement, specifying the measures and measurement activities and performing them. Later, measurement results are studied to offer utility for organizations. Examples of the types of analyses that are performed include: a) estimation to support planning, b) analyzing feasibility of plans and alternatives, c) monitoring work performance, and d) monitoring performance of products, (BPMM, 2007).
Process Maturity: Is the extent to which processes are explicitly defined, managed, measured, controlled and effective. Process maturation implies that process capability is improved over time, (BPMM, 2007).
Business Process Execution: Business process execution refers to the actual run of a process by a process engine, which is responsible for instantiating and controlling the execution of business processes. Process models are used by the process engine to instantiate and control the enactment of process instances, (Weske, 2008).
Maturity Model: A maturity model is an evolutionary roadmap for implementing the vital practices from one or more domains of organizational process. (BPMM, 2007)
Guidelines: They are a list of advices that can be used to support the implementations of practices of the process areas. They cover topics that are applicable for many practices, but they are considered to be optional for the practices, (BPMM, 2007).
Process Improvement: A program of activities designed to improve the performance and maturity of the organization’s processes, and the results of such a program, (CMMI, 2002).