How user-centric is your organisation?

Do you know how mature your organisation is?

No, we don’t measure this by how much toilet humour your internal Slack contains, or whether you’re mostly of an age to remember dial-up.

We’re talking about product maturity; the level of robust processes and capability to deliver user-centric products and services.

Put the whoopee cushions away.🤡

What’s a product maturity framework?

Using a framework to understand where an organisation is up to with this isn’t a new concept.

Grandpa of UX Jakob Neilsen had the first pass at such a model in 2006.

He initially defined 8 stages of corporate UX maturity (refined to 6 in 2021), ranging from the openly hostile stance whereby ‘a good user is a dead user’ 😲 to the perfectly user-centric business where every strategic decision is informed by user research.

Jakob Nielsen's original 8 stages of Corporate UX maturity. 1. Hostility towards usability 2. Developer-centered user experience 3. Skunkworks user experience 4. Dedicated UX budget 5. Managed usability 6. Systematic user-centered design process 7. Integrated user-centered design 8. User-driven corporation

Showing wins and uncovering blindspots makes a product maturity framework a powerful asset to any business serious about their journey to user-centricity.

The difficulty of assessing product maturity

We’ve found that organisations can struggle to evaluate their product maturity internally.

With the best will in the world, it’s hard to critically evaluate your own position without the use of a strong framework and a way to mitigate against the biases we all hold.

Self-diagnosis is notoriously tricky!

Organisations looking to put users at the heart of their operations can also feel it’s too overwhelming a task to ‘fix’ everything at once.

Where’s best to start? What actions are needed to make the biggest change?

Fear of doing the wrong thing can lead to getting stuck in a state of paralysis, despite the best of intentions.

Blog post

How to break out of ‘business as usual’ for product success

Taking the first step to change can be daunting, especially when your product is big. Here are a few actionable ideas to help. 🙌

Read more

Enter Lightouse Product Beacon

At Lighthouse we’ve spent years helping businesses finesse their internal design teams and processes, so decided it was about time to turn this knowledge into a framework of our own.

It helps the forward-thinking organisations we work with shine, giving them actionable steps to take forward and achieve complete maturity. ☀️

Because we can’t resist a good light-based name, we’ve called it the Lighthouse Product Beacon.

How mature is your product and design team? Introducing Beacon

Measuring product maturity

When assessing maturity, we’re interested in how well an organisation is performing in three main areas, conveniently all beginning with P.

  • The product vision (purpose)
  • The product team (people)
  • The approach to designing products (process)
Purpose, people, process

High and low product maturity in practice

The easiest way to explain the three areas we’re concerned with is to imagine the attributes of an organisation doing well in each (scoring at the ‘luminous’ end of our scale), and then one where more work is needed (sitting on the ‘flicking’ portion of it).

High product maturity 😃

Low product maturity 😔

Purpose - How work undertaken is connected to an organisation's wider purpose, vision and strategy.

  • Product decisions are informed by an aligned vision.

  • An outcome-focused roadmap is prioritised based on a strong understanding of user needs.

  • Product decisions are transparent, have buy-in from the team and are informed by users, data and team expertise.

  • The organisation is focused on arbitrary deadlines.

  • Decisions are based on speed, ‘gut feeling’, and pleasing internal stakeholders.

  • Decisions are opaque and based on short-term thinking.

People - How connected team members feel to both each other and the work done.

  • Teams are high-performing and autonomous.

  • They respect each other's contributions and work collaboratively.

  • The right tools and resources are in place to work effectively together and focus on outcomes.

  • Teams suffer from silos and internal conflicts.

  • There’s a lack of accountability with skill sets and collaboration.

Process - How teams tackle the work to be done.

  • Product delivery is based on user insight.

  • It is facilitated by trained team members, who perform relevant robust research to elicit user needs.

  • Insights are accessible across the organisation to empower business and product decision-making.

  • Where research is done, it’s invalidated by bias or not used to inform product decisions.

  • In the worst scenario, internal stakeholders believe they know best and don’t see any value in speaking to users at all.

  • Time and money is wasted.


Mature organisations are 60% more profitable than their counterparts


Want to run your organisation through the framework?

Have the examples above have got your mind spinning with ideas for product maturity improvements within your own organisation?

Even when we work with businesses who sit at the very top end of our framework, the benefits of assessing what works and why are immense.

Regardless of the activities you’re already undertaking, increasing understanding and awareness of your level of maturity can only be a good thing.

No business is ever perfectly mature, and the process of measuring, learning and taking action is one that forward-thinking leadership teams embrace and enjoy.

Lighthouse Product Beacon

Find out how mature your organisation is 🔎

Take the survey