I have recently noticed a number of articles discussing the use of various maturity self assessment tools, and last week received notification that Forrester have launched a new tool. In view of this current interest, I thought I would bring attention to a tool that we wrote and released a couple of years ago – EAvaluator – that is available for use from our EAS website. The tool is free to use, and we collect no data about organisations so there is complete anonymity.
EAvaluator is a rules-driven assessment which takes the form of a multiple choice questionnaire. Simply answer the sixteen questions, which should take about five minutes, and EAvaluator will provide an assessment of your organisation’s maturity broken down into eleven architecture disciplines. The disciplines include things such as Architecture Process, Business Linkage, Decision Support and IT Investment and Acquisition. For each of these eleven disciplines you are presented with a 12 bar indicator which gives you a rating for that category from 1-5 and some suggestions of what may be required to move to the next maturity level.
When we developed the tool we toyed with the idea of producing an overall assessment rating with some idea of priority regarding what to tackle first. We decided not to do this as we were unsure of the benefit, thinking that actually focusing on the maturity level for each of the disciplines is more useful than simply looking at one overall score.
We have had feedback, however, that an overall assessment level is something that users of EAvaluator would like, and we noticed that Forrester did have an overall mark in their tool. I guess that it is easier to monitor and report on one rather than eleven marks, so this is something that we have added to our list of things to look at – although unless we get feedback to the contrary – it is behind a number of Essential updates that we have planned.
However, creating this overall score is not as straightforward as simply adding up the scores and dividing by 16 as, obviously, some areas are more critical than others. For example if you had a 5 for Architecture Communication but a 1 for Architecture Process and Architecture Development then actually the overall score should be nearer 1 than 2.5 as clearly there is little point doing fantastic communications if there is nothing of value to communicate – it isn’t always true that any publicity is good publicity!! Any overall score would need to be rules driven and assess the maturity of each of the disciplines not only individually, but also compared to each other to give a true overall mark.
We think that maturity assessment tools are useful to allow you to take a step back, look at what is going well and areas that have maybe been overlooked and assess, with your particular organisation’s issues in mind, where to focus next.
We would be pleased to hear any feedback that you have on EAvaluator, or maturity assessments in general.