SEMPER user-guide

SEMPER User Guide


SEMPER diagnostics provide organisations with a quick, simple yet accurate ‘dashboard’ overview of organisational effectiveness: the integration of business purpose, business process, business relations, business knowledge and business performance.

Unlike conventional metrics, SEMPER identifies ‘lead indicators’ that highlight strengths and challenges for future development of the organisation, and point to appropriate techniques to enhance and optimise overall effectiveness.

SEMPER assessments usually reflect a single person’s perspective on the organisation, but may also be aggregated, using standard statistical techniques, for a variety of different purposes such as:

  • perspectives across different departments
  • perspectives within and between multiple levels of the organisation
  • 360° feedback (with less emotional loading than conventional 360°-feedback techniques)

At present there are two main variants of SEMPER:

  • Standard SEMPER: assesses four asset-types (purpose, people, knowledge, process), six link-themes and overall integration
  • SEMPER-5: simplified version of Standard SEMPER; assesses five domains (purpose, people, preparation, process, performance)

SEMPER-5 is available for use free of charge through this website; the more complex Standard SEMPER is available for use only by accredited consultants on a per-fee basis.

To conduct a SEMPER assessment, create a new assessment record (usually through the ‘My Assessments’ page) and open the assessment-summary. If necessary, click on the ‘show edit’ link at the top of the page to make the edit-links visible, then click on any link in the summary to open the edit-page. Assign a score to each statement:

  • select from the ‘Scoring’ pull-down list the quote which most closely matches the context of the statement
  • select from the ‘Trends’ pull-down list a trend-value: upward, downward or stable
  • optionally, add any descriptive comments

Repeat this process for each statement, to build the complete assessment picture from this perspective.

You can display and print the assessment-summary as a table, optionally including any comments you’ve entered; or as a ‘dashboard’ grid, optionally including a second grid indicating the probable results of any trends.

You can also export completed assessments in .CSV format for further processing with Excel and other programs on your own system.

Context-sensitive help

Most pages provide links to context-sensitive help, indicated by a [?] symbol. Click on this symbol to open a popup window describing the current context and available actions. When you’ve finished reading the help-text, click the ‘close window’ link at the foot of text to close the popup window.

(Note: The help-system uses Javascript to open the respective window. In some cases, dependent on your system configuration, a help-window may take several seconds to appear; help-windows may not be accessible if you have disabled Javascript on your browser, or have ‘popup-killer’ software installed on your system.)

Access-rights and access-control

Access to assessments and assessment-data is controlled via a user-name/password via a logon facility:

  • unidentified ‘guest’ site-visitors can view any of the ‘demo’ assessments
    • note: you only have ‘guest’ access-rights until you log on to the site
  • general logged-on users can view, create, edit, export and delete their own assessments, via the ‘My Assessments’ list, but cannot view anyone else’s own assessments
  • logged-on users with view, edit, delete and/or administration access-rights for specific organisations registered with Tetradian may also carry out those actions on assessments for that organisation, via the ‘Assessments’ and ‘Organisations’ pages

(Note: Tetradian’s system-administrators have ‘master’ access-rights, and at present may access any assessment as necessary for security or maintenance reasons.)

The access-control mechanism uses ‘cookies’ to keep track of session-data. If you have disabled ‘cookies’ on your browser, you will not be able to log on, and will not be able to access most of the website’s features.

By default, the website ‘remembers’ your logon-status between sessions, using a persistent ‘cookie’ stored on your browser. This means that in general you won’t need to logon for each session. However, if you use a shared system or access the website from a public terminal, we strongly recommend that you should logoff at the end of each session, to prevent others from accessing your assessment-data.

The SEMPER home-page

The home-page provides links to all aspects of the SEMPER diagnostics. Different links may be present depending on your current access-rights – including whether or not you are currently logged-on.

Click any link to open the respective page and access its functionality. Most pages provide a ‘breadcrumb trail’ at the top of the body of the page, showing your effective location within the Tetradian / SEMPER website; click on the ‘SEMPER’ link at the left-hand side of the breadcrumb-trail to return to this home-page.

The Assessments lists

The Assessments page shows a list of all assessments to which you have access, sorted by organisation and date.

Main links

  • click on a highlighted link in the list to open the summary-page for the respective assessment.
  • click on an ‘[info]’ link to the right of any item to view the background information (metadata) about the assessment.
  • click on the ‘my assessments’ link to the right of the headline to open your own ‘My assessments’ list
  • click on the ‘organisations’ link to the right of the headline to open the ‘Organisations’ list

Display-options (to the right of the breadcrumb-trail)

  • show/hide edit: show or hide additional links, dependent on your current access-rights:
    • ‘new assessment’: create a new assessment
    • ‘export’: create an export-file to export assessment-data to your system
    • ‘edit info’ (to the right of a list-item): edit the metadata for the assessment
      note: this link will be absent for ‘archive’ copies of assessments
    • ‘delete’ (next to ‘edit info’): delete the assessment
      • note: if you click on this link, you will be asked to confirm that you want the assessment to be deleted; assessment-data cannot be recovered after deletion

The ‘My Assessments’ list

The My Assessments page shows a list of all assessments for which you are the ‘owner’ – usually, those assessments you have created – sorted by organisation and date.

The links and display-options are essentially the same as on the main assessments list.

The ‘Organisations’ list

The Organisations page shows a list of all organisations for which you have access-rights.

The links and display-options are similar to those on the main assessments list.

Main links

  • click on a highlighted link in the list to view the background information (metadata) about the organisation and, optionally, a list of associated assessments.
  • click on the ‘all assessments’ link to the right of the headline to open the main ‘Assessments’ list

Display-options (to the right of the breadcrumb-trail)

  • show/hide edit: show or hide additional links, dependent on your current access-rights:
    • ‘edit’ (to the right of a list-item): edit the metadata for the organisation
    • (some additional links are visible only to system administrators)

Organisation-details page

This page lists the metadata for the organisation, and optionally the assessments associated with the organisation. Some metadata-items, such as access-rights for the organisation’s data, are visible only to organisation-administrators.

Display-options (to the right of the breadcrumb-trail)

  • show/hide assessments: show or hide the list of associated assessments
    • the links in this list are the same as on the main ‘Assessments’ list
  • show/hide edit: show or hide additional links, dependent on your current access-rights:
    • ‘edit’ (to the right of the headline): edit the metadata for the organisation
    • ‘new assessment’: move to the ‘New Assessment’ page to create a new assessment associated with this organisation

Viewing assessments

The main links on assessment-lists lead you to the assessment-summary. (The ‘info’ and ‘edit info’ links open other views, as described further below).

The summary can be displayed in either a table- or grid-view:

  • table-view provides more detail, optionally including any comments entered for each domain/effectiveness-category combination
  • grid-view is more compact, showing a ‘dashboard’ that will usually fit on a single printed page

The right-hand side of each view shows the current scoring for the assessment, in both numeric and colour-coded form. A ‘0’ score in any cell means that the domain/category has not yet been assessed; a blank means that the domain/category is not assessed in this assessment-model.

A small text-block at the foot of each table or grid summarises the statistics for the respective assessment and trends.

Main links

  • click on the assessment-number (in the breadcrumb-trail) to view the metadata for this assessment
  • click on the organisation-link to view the metadata for the organisation (if listed)
  • select a domain from the ‘Assess domain’ pulldown list and click the ‘Go’ button to edit a domain in the assessment
    • note: the pulldown-list is only displayed if ‘show edit’ is active and the assessment is editable
  • click on any highlighted link in the table (in table-view) or any cell (in grid-view) to edit the respective domain or domain/category
    • note: these links are only displayed if ‘show edit’ is active and the assessment is editable

Display options – both views

  • basic/advanced edit: select basic-edit to set up to edit the assessment via one domain/category combination at a time; select advanced-edit to edit all categories in a domain at once
  • score-text/bars: show scores as numeric links (text) or as graphic bars (bars)
    • note: ‘score-text’ loads the page slightly faster; ‘score-bars’ is somewhat easier to read, and prints correctly on colour printers
  • show/hide edit: show or hide additional links to the edit-views, dependent on your current access-rights and the status of the assessment (editable, completed or archive):

Additional display-options – table-view (default)

  • show grid: switch to grid-view
  • show/hide comments: show or hide the optional comments associated with each assessment-statement
  • sort by category/domain: change the sort-order of the table to sort by domains (primary) or effectiveness-categories (secondary)

Additional display-options – grid-view

  • show table: switch to table-view
  • show/hide trends: show or hide the second ‘trends’ grid, showing the future effectiveness indicated by the trends

View assessment-metadata

This page shows the background information or ‘metadata’ about the assessment, such as its purpose and status.

Main links

  • click on the organisation-link to view the metadata for the organisation (if listed)
  • click on the ‘Do/review assessment’ button to open the assessment-summary view
    • note: the button will be labelled ‘Review assessment’ if the assessment is marked as complete

Display options

  • show/hide edit: show or hide additional links, dependent on your current access-rights:
    • ‘edit’ (to the right of the headline): edit the assessment metadata

Creating a new assessment

To create a new assessment, click on a ‘new assessment’ link in the Assessments-list page, My Assessments page or an Organisation-details page.

  • note: if you start from an Organisation-details page, that organisation will automatically be associated with the new assessment
  • note: if you can’t see the ‘new assessment’ link, click on the ‘show edit’ link at the top of the page to make all edit-related links visible

If you’ve previously created one or more assessments, and at least one still exists on the website, you’ll move directly to the Edit assessment-metadata page to describe the background-information for the assessment.

If not, you will first need to confirm your agreement to the website’s SEMPER Conditions Of Use.

Agreement to conditions of use

This page only appears when you start to create your first SEMPER assessment. You’ll need to tick the checkbox and click on the ‘Confirm’ button to confirm your agreement to the SEMPER Conditions Of Use before you can move on to the Edit assessment-metadata page and create the assessment.

You can also review the Conditions Of Use at any time.

Edit assessment-metadata

Use this page to specify the background information or ‘metadata’ for a new or existing assessment.

When you complete your edit, the assessment-summary will be shown.

Form fields

  • organisation / model: select the required combination of organisation and assessment-model (the default – often the only entry in the list – is ‘my assessment : SEMPER-5’)
    • note: this pulldown-list is only shown for a new assessment; for existing assessments, non-editable text-fields are shown
  • purpose: enter text to be shown in the respective link in assessment-lists
  • prepared by: enter the name of the person responsible for the assessment (default is your own name)
  • comments: enter optional comments, which will only be shown on the ‘View assessment-metadata’ page
    • note: comments may be added automatically to this field during some system processes, such as creation of archives or data-imports
  • completed: when the assessment is complete, select ‘Yes’ from this pulldown-list
  • save changes: select from the pulldown-list whether you want to save changes to the existing assessment (default), or create a new editable copy or non-editable archive copy of the assessment, then click the ‘Store’ button
  • ‘to same record’: save the changes to the existing assessment-record
  • ‘to new copy’: create a new editable copy of this assessment and its existing assessment-results (if any), with a new assessment-ID
  • ‘to new archive’: create a non-editable archive-copy of this assessment and its results, with a new assessment-ID


  • show/hide edit: show or hide additional fields (visible only for organisation-administrators)

Editing an assessment

Once the assessment-metadata items have been defined, you can conduct the main part of a SEMPER assessment, identifying scores for each of the assessment-statements.

Start from the assessment-summary.

Click on a domain-link or domain/category link to open the edit-page. (If necessary, click the ‘show edit’ link on the summary page to display the domain/category links.)

Two editing modes are available:

  • basic edit: scoring, trends and comments fields for one domain/category combination and its assessment-statement; ‘previous’ / ‘next’ buttons to move between assessment-statements; additional links to move between assessment-statements without saving changes
  • advanced edit: scoring, trends and comments fields for all effectiveness-categories in the current domain; ‘save changes’ always returns to the assessment-summary

The advanced-edit mode is more convenient for experienced users; the basic-edit mode is less overwhelming for new users, and more suitable for general users without knowledge of the SEMPER framework.

Scoring a SEMPER assessment consists of assigning a score in relation to a set of statements that describe effectiveness in each domain/category combination. On the edit-form, the assessment-statement is displayed just above the respective scoring/trends pulldown-lists.

You can score an assessment in any order; you can also skip domain/category combinations as required and return to complete them in later sessions.

When an assessment is complete, you can protect it from further changes by setting its ‘completed’ status to ‘Yes’ in the assessment-metadata edit page. You can also create a new editable copy or non-editable archive copy of the assessment at any time, via the same edit-page.

Form fields

  • scoring: select from the pulldown-list a phrase (or, if numeric scoring is in use, a value) which most closely describes the response to the assessment-statement in the context
  • trend: select from the pulldown-list your opinion of the current trend for the score – steady, upward (improving) or downward (worsening)
  • comments: optionally, enter descriptive comments about the context
  • ‘store and: previous’ button (basic mode): save changes and move to edit the previous domain/category combination
  • ‘store and: summary’ button (basic mode): save changes and return to the assessment-summary
  • ‘store and: next’ button (basic mode): save changes and move to edit the next domain/category combination
  • ‘move to: previous’ / ‘next’ links (basic mode): move to the previous or next domain/category combination without saving changes
  • ‘move to: summary’ link (basic mode): return to the assessment-summary without saving changes
  • ‘save changes’ button (advanced mode): save changes for all categories in the current domain, then return to the assessment-summary

Display options
Warning: clicking on any display-option link causes the page to be refreshed with the current stored data. If you have made changes to any field, and click on a display-option link before clicking on a ‘store changes’ or ‘save changes’ button, you will lose your changes.

  • basic/advanced edit: switch between basic and advanced edit-modes
  • hide/show suggestions: hide or show advisory notes on how to score the respective domain/category combination
  • text/numeric scoring: show descriptive phrases (‘text’: default) or score-numbers only (‘numeric’) in the scoring pulldown-list
  • hide/show questions (advanced mode only): hide or show additional questions to prompt deeper assessments in each domain

Exporting assessment-data to your system

Use this page to export copies of assessments to your system, for backup or for further processing and aggregation.

The ‘Assessments’ list on the form shows all assessments for which you have edit-rights, sorted by organisation and date of first edit.

Form fields

  • assessments: select one or more assessments to export – hold down the ‘ctrl’ key or equivalent on your browser to select more than one assessment
  • comments: enter optional comments to include in the export file (not .CSV file-types)
  • export type: select a file-format for the export-file:
    • basic: text-based format suitable for backups that can be re-imported into the SEMPER system
    • encrypted: same as basic, but with simple encryption to protect the data from inadvertent exposure
    • WDDX XML: XML format using the WDDX (Web Distributed Data eXchange) standard XML schema
    • Excel CSV: standard CSV (Comma Separated Value) file for import into Excel and similar applications
    • CSV + header: alternate CSV format in which the first line is used for column-headers
      • note: due to the constraints of the CSV file-specification, export-files in either of the CSV filetypes contain only data from the assessment-results; other file-types also include assessment-metadata

Click on the ‘Export’ button to open the standard ‘Save file as…’: facility on your browser, through which to save the export-file to your system.