Mindless Process Improvement

[article]
Just say NO!
Summary:

In this paper, we will explain an approach to scoping an improvement program based on problems and goals of the organization. By adopting this approach, organizations are able to make significant progress on real issues, and make progress on the process improvement model or standard they are trying to achieve. The problems and goals of an organization can scope and sequence your improvement program.

The most common approach for process improvement we have seen, over the past ten years, is for an organization to document all processes. This approach is amplified when an organization rushes to adopt a sweeping solution such as ISO9001 or the SEI CMM 1 1.

In light of a goal stating, "Be SEI CMM Level 3 by December," the approach of documenting all processes is reinforced and might even appear natural. This process-centric approach can work, but it has a high risk of failure.

In this paper, we will explain an approach to scoping an improvement program based on problems and goals of the organization. By adopting this approach, organizations are able to make significant progress on real issues, and make progress on the process improvement model or standard they are trying to achieve. The problems and goals of an organization can scope and sequence your improvement program.

About the author

Neil Potter's picture Neil Potter

Neil Potter is co-founder of The Process Group, a company that consults in software engineering process improvement. He has 14 years of experience in software design, engineering, and process management. For six years, Neil was a software design engineer at Texas Instruments, Dallas, developing electronic design automation software. The last two years at TI, he was a manager of a software engineering process group performing consulting within TI in America, England, and India. Consulting included software project planning, risk management, estimation, SEI CMM, and inspection. Neil is an SEI-authorized lead assessor for CBA-IPI process assessments. He has a B.S. in computer science from the University of Essex in England.

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