Going to the plain basics, maturity is to deliver what we promise. I heard this definition from a successful sales executive of product development company. For me this summarizes everything!
Meeting commitment is arguably the most important criteria for success. I use the measure of requests percentage which have deviation from target date exceed “x” days. This measure helps to quantify our maturity as organization. It represents the Voice of the Customer (VoC)
This measure can be organizational wide and it can be used to drive the whole improvement initiative.
The following chart gives high level analysis of causes of immaturity as suggested by this measure.
The foundational cause is the inability of people to timely communicate their issues. I worked with developers who had one month-long tasks and kept reporting that things are according to plan till they report failure at the very last day! I carry the responsibility by not allowing trust environment which encourages them to talk and share their concerns.
Sales people making commitment without consulting engineers is well-known issue which can be solved if they are educated about the capacity measures. These capacity measures can directly improve the above VoC measure. The capacity measures include Average Lead Time for each Class of Service. This measure allows sales people to provide informed estimates in the very narrow window that they might have to secure a deal. They can add percentage of uncertainty based on the inherent risks. I suggest this should be maximum of 20% with promise of being reduced as we proceed into the project.
Finally, a key assumption for failing to meet our commitment is the poor definition of customer valued request. Delivery on time requests which are not meaningful actually invalidates our improvement effort.