3 MIN READ
How to Use a Maturity Model to Improve Your Customer Education Operation
This blog post is about how to use a maturity model in a very practical sense, but before we get into the how, let's define what a good maturity model does. A maturity model describes each stage of an organization's maturity and what things are generally happening at each stage. This is useful to understand because each organization is at a different stage of development and has different levels of capabilities, resources, and technology to support its operations. For example, a customer education team of eight people with a VP-level leader has a much different level of capability and maturity than a one person education team that just became a full-time role last week.
Considering the disparity between teams with low and high maturities, a model is most useful when it helps people see where they stand amongst the different stages, what actions they should take at each stage, and what they can expect to occur at each stage as they mature. This helps an education team make better decisions about how to move along the maturity continuum. No maturity model is perfect, but a good one provides a general breakdown of what life is like at each stage.
Now that we understand what a good maturity model does, let's turn to the how.
There is a basic three step process.
Step 1: Assess yourself
You need to first determine your current level of maturity. Simply by reading up on the maturity model of choice you can make an educated guess at your stage. Some maturity models have an assessment you can take to remove some of the guess work. No matter how you do it, you must determine your current state first.
Step 2: Determine how far you want to go in maturity
This seems obvious, but once you know where you are today, you can make decisions about how far you want to go. In other words, you want to answer the question, "Do you want to develop your education team to the highest level of maturity or keep the team small and scrappy?" In other words, you do not have to move your team all the way to the end of maturity. You could just want to take it up only one notch.
And that is OK.
A lot of this also depends on the culture of your company. The trick is to figure out what that culture is and set your maturity goal accordingly.
Step 3: Identify gaps
If you are at a maturity stage one, and you want to get to a maturity stage four, that is a big gap, and you will not have the resources in place to make such a leap overnight. You should not even try to skip right to stage four. You should ask yourself, "What actions do we need to take to get to stage two?" Then set goals and put plans in place to get to stage two. Once you get to stage two, you can repeat the process and try to get to stage three. Or, as we discussed in Step 2 above, you could just decide to stay at stage two.
The main lesson I want you to take from this blog is that a maturity model is useful to the extend that it helps you see your organization as it exists today and to visualize what life can be like in the future, if you take certain common actions that other education teams have taken at different stages of maturity.
Using the enterprise software training maturity model
Obviously we think maturity models are useful, which is why we created one for customer education teams. Although it is not perfect by any means, I have been told by nurmerous people that our maturity model is useful, and a few people have even used it to build their business cases for growing their customer eduation teams. If you have not read up on it, now is your chance. We wrote a guide that describes the model, and then we created an assessment to help you diagnose your current stage.
I believe the enterprise software training maturity model will help you take an honest look at your current operations and then visualize what is possible. It might even inspire you to make the case for growing your customer education function.
Give it a try.