Baldrige Scoring System: Process

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Process Scoring Evaluation Dimensions: Approach, Deployment, Learning, Integration (A-D-L-I)

“Process” refers to the methods your organization uses and improves to address the Item requirements in Categories 1–6. The four factors used to evaluate process are Approach, Deployment, Learning, and Integration (A–D–L–I)—see Process Scoring Guidelines.

What are the [process] evaluation factors?

The scoring of responses to Criteria Items and Award applicant feedback are based on two evaluation dimensions: (1) Process and (2) Results. Criteria users need to furnish information relating to these dimensions. The specific factors for Process: Approach, Deployment, Learning, and Integration, are described below.



"Approach" refers to the methods used by an organization to address the Baldrige Criteria Item requirements in Categories 1–6.


- Appropriateness of the methods to the Item requirements

- Effectiveness of your use of the methods

- Use of a systematic approach

- Innovation

Questions to be asked in analyzing an approach:

- What approach or collection of approaches is discussed?

- What Areas of the Criteria Item does the approach address (e.g., 1.1a, 1.1b)?

- Is the approach systematic (with repeatable steps, inputs, outputs, and time frames; designed to allow evaluation, improvement, and sharing)?

- Is there evidence that the approach is effective?

- Is this approach (collection of approaches) a key organizational process? Is the approach important to the applicant's overall performance? (If yes, clearly state why it is important, and cite the key factors used to support your position.)

- Are any of the multiple requirements of the Item that are not addressed (gaps) relevant and important to the applicant?



"Deployment" refers to the extent to which an approach is applied in addressing the requirements of the Baldrige Criteria Item. Deployment is evaluated on the basis of the breadth and depth of application of approach to relevant work units throughout the organization.


- Relevance

- Complete coverage

- Consistency

- Breadth across all work units

- Depth through multiple levels

Questions to be asked in analyzing deployment:

- What information is provided to show what is done in different parts of the organization (early stages, well deployed but with some variation among areas/work units, well deployed with no significant gaps, fully deployed)?



"Learning" refers to new knowledge or skills acquired through evaluation, study, experience, and innovation. Organizational learning is achieved through research and development, evaluation and improvement cycles, ideas and input from employees, customer ideas and input, faculty, staff, students, patients, and other stakeholders; best practice sharing; and benchmarking. Personal learning (for employees, faculty and staff) is achieved through education, training, and developmental opportunities. To be effective, these types of learning should be embedded in the way an organization operates.


- Two types: Organizational and Personal

- Embedded in operations

Questions to be asked in analyzing learning:

- Has the approach been evaluated and improved? If yes, is the evaluation and improvement conducted in a fact-based, systematic manner (e.g., regular, recurring, data driven)?

- Is there evidence of organizational learning (i.e., evidence that the learning from this approach is shared with other organizational units/other work processes)? Is there evidence of innovation and refinement from organizational analysis and sharing (e.g., evidence the learning is actually used to drive innovation and refinement)?

- Are the measures, information, improvement systems complementary across processes and work units?



"Integration" refers to the harmonization of plans, processes, information, resource decisions, actions, results, and analysis to support key organization-wide goals. Effective integration goes beyond alignment and is achieved when the individual components of a performance management system operate as a fully interconnected unit.


- Begins with alignment

- Culminates in interconnectivity

Questions to be asked in analyzing integration:

- How well is the approach aligned with the applicant's organizational needs identified in the other Criteria Items and the Organizational Profile? How well is the approach integrated with these needs? (Examples of needs are strategic challenges, objectives, and related action plans; organizational mission, vision, and goals; key processes and measures; key customer/market segments and requirements; and employee groups and requirements.)

How do I use these [process] evaluation factors?

To ensure a more holistic evaluation of Process Items (Categories 1–6), answer the questions when drafting and before finalizing your comments. You should be able to strengthen and clarify comments using insights gained from answering the questions. Provide evidence from the applicant's response to support your comments.

See also Process Scoring Guidelines and Results Evaluation Dimensions.

Contact me directly for more information on how I can serve your organization.

Paul Steel 2008Paul Steel - original 1988 NIST Baldrige National Quality Award Examiner, longest serving active member of NIST Board of Examiners. 2009 NIST Baldrige Senior Examiner trained, EFQM experienced, and a management systems consultant since 1981.

President, Total Quality Inc (see sample of TQI services users worldwide)
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