Public administrations in Germany are facing a challenge – a paradigm shift away from a focus on function and towards a focus on processes. To understand more closely the quality and effectiveness of process management in public administration, it is necessary to analyze and evaluate these factors and thus ascertain the degree of “maturity.” The key question is whether and to what extent conventional maturity models can be adapted to public administration and whether changes or additions are needed. This was the topic looked at by Sina Fischer as part of her degree at the Academy of Public Administration and Law, a Steinbeis Transfer Institute at Steinbeis University Berlin.
In her master’s thesis, Sina Fischer started with the assumption that existing maturity models used in process management do not match the requirements of public administration in Germany. Thus an existing process management maturity model would need to be adapted in such a way that it would match the needs of public administration and be used for self-evaluations.
The adaptation was based on a previously drafted list of requirements. These were identified by analyzing areas such as process management (definition and content), the differences between public administration and the private sector, the tasks of process management in public administration, and maturity models and how they work. Based on this, the student selected a maturity model for potential adaptations. Fischer chose a maturity model called Eden, which she then adjusted accordingly.
The adapted process management maturity model takes all stipulated requirements into account and can thus be used in public administrations in Germany as part of a self-evaluation program. This will help plan and modernize public administration bodies.
A maturity analysis always starts by determining the current status (“actuals”) of process management within the organization concerned. Actuals are broken down into nine dimensions. These are shown using five sequential levels of maturity. By comparing these to the desired (“plan”) status for each dimension, it is possible to identify specific areas of potential/ required improvement and key actions. To make it possible to use the maturity model properly in public administration, as a next step it will have to be introduced as a Web-based application and as an entry in the “national process library” – a research project with the aim of providing an overview of public administration process know-how in Germany.
The maturity model developed by Sina Fischer can be used by organizations as an instrument to conduct an initial maturity analysis. In its reduced form (36 criteria), it does not mean that a more detailed analysis is no longer necessary. Instead, it can be seen as a precursor.
There are many overlaps between process management and quality management, so if possible it should be checked to see if the maturity model can be linked to the Common Assessment Framework (CAF). Both models focus on public administration and are designed to work as selfevaluation tools. Further (ongoing) work on the process management maturity model, as well as the CAF, could make it possible to arrive at a solution that combines the two sides of the equation. Ideally, these would look not only at quality management maturity but also process management maturity, and thus make combined assessments and recommendations.