Process Maturity Models Applied to ISD Processes

Warning – Opinions Coming…

Many who know me know that I see more to ISD Processes than ADDIE – or even more than Curriculum Architecture Design. Those are just 2 of the 47 in my T&D Systems View model, book and prior life’s consulting services.

A recent BPTrends Spotlight reminded me that I had long ago intended to address the maturity of ISD Processes using the Capability Maturity Model framework – used for many process types but its genesis was in Information Technology. See the BPTrends content for more background.

Hopefully you find this useful in assessing exactly where your Enterprise is on the maturity curve…

Level 1 – No ISD Processes are Organized
ISD, such as ADDIE is unique to each practitioner. Everybody does it “their own way.” As such ISD projects are NOT predictable in time/schedule, costs or quality. If a project went well, you just got lucky. Probably shouldn’t been at the race track’s betting window that day too.
But that is not good stewardship of shareholder equity. That’s no way to run a railroad or any other business. Whatever, whenever, however.

It ought to be a crime.

As the Maturity Model suggests – this is a very immature approach to ISD. Perhaps in your world this is appropriate. Perhaps not.

Where are you? Is it here?

Level 2 – Some ISD Processes are Organized
Here someone somewhere is getting a handle on some of what is needed to run an ISD (or a Performance Improvement) shop – at the business unit level.

Some processes may have been mapped formally and some people may actually be following the defined processes locally. Perhaps some are following some semblance of ADDIE plus other processes.

That’s a start – but there is more to any business entity than its New Product Development process, which is all that ADDIE is.

Is this where your organization is currently?

Level 3 – Most ISD Processes are Organized
As obvious by the title this is where more and more ISD Processes are mapped, communicated, and perhaps followed/adhered to – as driven by the Enterprise.

It can happen! I’ve seen it!

Is this where you are at?

…now please note the difference coming – this next level seems to me to be more of a “step increase” than just being at the next level…

Level 4 – ISD Processes are Managed
The language of organized versus managed should be/could be telling. It’s the difference between having an organized view of your processes – and actually managing them using data.
Do you know your own “development ratios” for your different types of deployment and complexity? Can you be predictive about costs, schedules and quality? Can you see where some efforts actually beat those standards – and where others do not?

Is this where you are currently at?

Level 5 – ISD Processes are Managed and Improved
Here the data being collected continuously or statistically is being used to find areas in the processes for tightening up and/or loosening up – improving them.

I am a fan of a Tom Peter’s phrase: loose-tight and tight-loose. That means/suggests that some processes should be tight. And others should be loose. And it sometimes means that that need is a situational variable. Be flexible when planning and conducting your ISD efforts.

Is this where you are at? Continuously improving your ISD Processes using data versus opinions? Cool! Well done!

So What? What’s the Big Deal?
If you were the single shareholder of your Enterprise you’d already know the answer. It would be your money that is being put to best use rather than wasted.

So ask: what’s in it for me/ the learner/ the management/ the stakeholders?

My book, T&D Systems View might be a source for your maturing efforts for your ISD Processes. It is available as a hardbound book and a Kindle book at – and as a free PDF at

Now please don’t think for one moment that I subscribe to the thought that you should perfect each and every one of the 47 ISD/T&D processes that the book overviews – and provides you with an assessment process and tools to self-determine “where you are at” across all 47.

The book is intended to identify the more critical, in terms of high risk and/or high reward – two sides of the same coin – so that you tackle improvements based on the ROI potential.

Not all broken systems/processes are of equal risk/reward. And there probably are bigger fish to fry outside of the ISD/T&D domain in your Enterprise. Perhaps your biggest target is way down on the Enterprise list of issues to address. Perhaps not.

Improvement investments are business decisions. Invest in improvements as if it were your own money – and I think you’ll be fine!

But that – of course – is just my opinion.

# # #

2 comments on “Process Maturity Models Applied to ISD Processes

  1. Pingback: L&D Maturity Model 2022 | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

  2. Pingback: ISD Processes: Maturity – Centricity – Alignment | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.