8 Jun

Process Capability Determination with Automotive SPICE


In today’s technology driven world, all the OEMs and their suppliers are thriving to achieve the highest process capability level, so that they can showcase their presence in the market. The higher the capability levels, the higher the process efficiency and then higher the product quality resulting in higher customer satisfaction.

Let us first understand what is process capability

Process capability can be explained as, how well a process perform within defined specification to get the desired output. To achieve the process capability level. Process improvement acts as one of the strongest pillars, by continuous process improvement, process capability level can be achieved.

Now let us talk about Automotive SPICE, How Automotive SPICE helps to achieve the process capability level, to understand this we must know and understand the capability levels given in Automotive SPICE.


                                  Figure 1 – Capability Level and Process Attributes in Automotive Spice

There are 6 capability levels, which comprises of 9 process attributes, There is a small explanation of these capability level in the table below.

Capability Level






The process is not implemented or fails to achieve its process purpose.

In this level, processes are chaotic, and they fail to achieve their intended outcome, the output are not predictable



The implemented process achieves its process purpose

To achieve this level, Base practice associated to each process mentioned in Automotive SPICE V3.1 needs to be followed, Process outcome are achieved somehow



The previously described performed process is now implemented in a managed fashion (planned, monitored and adjusted) and its work products are appropriately established, controlled and maintained.

To achieve this level, you have to have strong quality assurance and configuration management, Process performance is controlled and work products are produced



The previously described managed process is now implemented using a defined process that is capable of achieving its process outcomes.

To achieve this level, you need to maintain define and develop the standard processes across the organization which can be tailored according to your project need following the tailoring guidelines



The previously described established process now operates predictively within defined limits to achieve its process outcomes. Quantitative management needs are identified, measurement data are collected and analyzed to identify assignable causes of variation. Corrective action is taken to address assignable causes of variation.

To achieve this level, you need to follow a quantitative analysis and control approach. Gather the performance data of the process, statistically analyze the data to have a better control over the process efficiency and product quality



The previously described predictable process is now continually improved to respond to organizational change.

As the name is suggesting, this capability level can be achieved by innovating the process improvement task by using quantitative feedback


                                  Table 1 – Capability level’s definition and their brief explanation

The concept of process capability determination is showcased in two dimensional framework, first dimension covers up the process in Automotive SPICE also known as process dimension and second dimension covers up the process attribute, capability levels given in Automotive SPICE also known as capability dimension.

Figure 2 – Showcasing the relationship between Process, Capability Dimension and assessment indicators – Ref Automotive SPICE V 3.1

Let us take a dig on the above figure, Process dimension shows the process 1, process 2, process 3 and so on, here processes mentioned in process reference model of Automotive SPICE for i.e. Project Management, Quality Assurance, Software requirement Analysis, System Architecture Design are placed. This dimension will be having the domain and scope of process performance, process purpose, process outcomes, work products, assets used while performing the process. It completely depends on the sponsor or the organization to choose the processes for capability determination.

Let’s take an example, a supplier to an OEM does not perform the system requirement analysis, then we are going to keep system requirement analysis out of scope from this dimension, It is not a mandate to keep all the processes here for capability determination and if the supplier is responsible for quality assurance, project management and want to get the assessment done, both these process’s work products such as project plan, QA plan, QA methods, Quality report, Project status report etc., scope, purpose and outcome will be kept in process dimension to perform the capability determination.

When we talk about the second dimension it comprises of capability levels, process attribute, ratings. As mentioned in figure 1, we have a total of 6 capability level comprising of 9 process attribute which are derived from ISO/IEC 33020 to Automotive SPICE.

The third box is for Process assessment model, which provides the basis of process capability determination, it comprises of process performance indicators and process capability indicators.

Process performance indicators comprises of base practices and output work products which are specific for each process, by following each base practice and developing each work product, capability level 1 can be achieved which is also the requirement of GP 1.1.1. Base practices are indicators which are activity oriented and work products are indicators which are result oriented. Process performance indicators are especially meant for Capability Level 1.

Then comes in process capability indicators which comprises of generic practices and generic resources which are given in Automotive SPICE for each capability level respectively and by following these generic practice and developing the generic resources capability level 2 to 5 can be achieved depending upon the which capability level GPs are followed and GRs are developed. However, there is a catch!!! We will talk about this later once we are through with the rating parameters of capability level. Generic practices are indicators which are activity oriented and generic resources are infrastructure oriented indicators.

To achieve a particular capability level, it’s process attribute should be rated, Automotive SPICE gives the rating scale to rate the process attribute which is also derived from ISO/IEC 33020, which is mentioned in below table.



Percentage value as per ISO/IEC 33020



Not Achieved

0 to ≤ 15%

There is little or no evidence of achievement of the defined process attribute in the assessed process.


Partially Achieved

> 15% to ≤ 50%

There is some evidence of an approach to, and some achievement of, the defined process attribute in the assessed process. Some aspects of achievement of the process attribute may be unpredictable.


Largely Achieved

> 50% to ≤ 85%

There is evidence of a systematic approach to, and significant achievement of, the defined process attribute in the assessed process. Some weaknesses related to this process attribute may exist in the assessed process.


Fully Achieved

> 85% to ≤ 100%

There is evidence of a complete and systematic approach to, and full achievement of, the defined process attribute in the assessed process. No significant weaknesses related to this process attribute exist in the assessed process.


                                                     Table 2 – Rating Scale – Ref Automotive SPICE V 3.1

When the process attributes of a particular capability level are rated as L or F, then that process achieve that capability level for which those process attributes were rated. Quite confusing, isn’t it!!!

Let us understand with an example. Let us suppose we are determining the capability level for Project management process and if we are going for capability level 2, then both the process attribute performance management and work product management process attribute should be either rated L or F to reach achieve capability level 2. However, there is a catch!!!

Now we are going to discuss the previous catch and this one here. To achieve a capability level, you need to be achieving the previous capability level process attributes fully. Let us take the previous project management example once again. To achieve capability level 2, first you need to achieve the capability level 1, The process performance process attribute needs to be fully achieved to move further. That means to achieve capability level 2 below are the parameters

Process performance process attribute – Fully achieved                                                                 

Performance management process attribute – Largely or Fully achieved                                                   

Work product management process attribute – Largely or Fully achieved

Below figure showcase the basic of achieving the capability levels 


                                                           Figure 3 – Process Capability Rating


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