The fallacy of maturity assessments | Chris Hohmann

“Maturity assessments are a kind of qualitative audit during which the current ‘maturity’ of an organization is compared to a maturity reference model and ranked accordingly to its score.[…] The maturity assessment is usually quite simple: a questionnaire guides the assessment, each maturity level being characterized by a set of requirements. It is close to an audit.

The outcome of such an assessment is usually a graphic summary displaying the maturity profile or a radar chart, comments about the weak points / poor scores and maybe some recommendation for improvement. […]

Maturity assessments are not a bad thing per se, but their practicality and simplicity are often misused to assess more than just maturity (or awareness). This is most often misleading because of the false underlying assumptions and promoting wrong behaviors and practices.”

Sourced through Chris Hohmann’s blog

Michel Baudin‘s comments:

I agree with Chris’s analysis, but my conclusions are blunter. Scoring an organization in terms of compliance with a set of practices is like judging a chess player by the number of pawns moved per game. It’s doable but irrelevant, and a distraction from the real work of improvement. The record of this approach is that you have organizations scoring top marks on every axis while going bankrupt and low scoring organizations that prosper.

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Meeting in Paris with Pen Pals Philip Marris and Christian Hohmann

Philip Marris and Christian Hohmann have been on-line pen pals of mine for years, but we had never actually met. My visit to Paris this week was the opportunity to fix this and trade manufacturing war stories for four hours while having dinner at the landmark La Coupole restaurant.

Both Philip and Christian Doc - Mar 1, 2014, 10-55 AMhave been consulting as long as I have and are authors of books about Lean in French. Philip is an Englishman who speaks French without even a trace of an accent, and writes in French. He describes his own book,  Le Management Par Les Contraintes, as “very boring,” because, unlike Eli Goldratt’s The Goal, it is focussed on technical nitty-gritty rather than entertainment. As I told him, this is my favorite kind.

Christian Hohmann has written the following four books:

He has also posted 50 short videos on Youtube. I first approached Christian 15 years ago, when writing Lean Assembly. I had found a picture of an electronics assembly line that he had posted. I wanted to use it in the book, and it had some features I did not understand. I asked him and he gave both the answer and permission to use the picture. When I thanked him this week, he had forgotten about it.