Communication: Making Quality & Process Improvement Visible

VisibleImprovementCommunication is an important factor in improvement programs. Communication using visual management pictures the goals and approach. It motivates people to commit to change, by showing expected benefits and early results. But wrong or too much communication can also frustrate people, getting them to resist changing.

Many improvement programs are run by technical persons, in a technical environment. Often communication is undervalued and underestimated, and perceived as difficult. It is something that people are inexperienced in, which makes them feel uncomfortable. But if you get started, and learn along the way, you will get better in it. And, if you want people to do something, it helps a lot if you let them know what you expect from them.

There are several ways that we communicate in improvement programs, and how we show results in the organization. Different communication tools and techniques serve different purposes. Most improvement programs use a balanced mix of paper and electronic communication means, like:

  • Posters, fyers and brochures
  • Website
  • Newsletters
  • Mailings
  • Mailboxes
  • Forums
  • Wiki’s
  • Blogs
  • Movies
  • Twitter and/or yammer

Even more important is face 2 face communication, from the improvement team to the organisation under change. These richers forms of communication help to understand the changes, and to build trust. Change is about showing up, and being visible! Possible forms of communication are:

  • Kick-off meetings or all employee meeting
  • Training and coaching
  • Open spaces
  • Team meetings
  • One on one meetings
  • Walking around (walk the talk)

A presentation that I gave at the International Conference on Software Process Improvement gives some background on how to use some of the above mentioned the communication means effectively.

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Communication is vital communication is for improvement programs. (as is feedback, I’ll address that topic in a next posting). It influences and supports the behavior change, and what should be done to sustain improvements, and make them last. Also it keeps the stakeholders of involved, and links the improvents to the goals that they want to reach.


Ben Linders

I help organizations with effective software development and management practices. Active member of several networks on Agile, Lean and Quality, and a frequent speaker and writer.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Carmen January

    Good Day
    This article was very informative. As a new QM I struggle to implement new refreshing initiatives in the company. To maintain staff commitment to ISO/Quality is very challenging and requires more refreshing ways than the usual. Any new ideas would be welcome.
    South Africa

  2. BenLinders

    Thanks Carmen for your nice words!

    I’ve written a series of blogs on What Drives Quality. This series explores why quality is important and what you can do to support people to improve quality. Several articles dive into software development activities and discuss the stakeholders that are involved. If more people are interested in this then I want to expand it into a book on Software Quality.

    There are also some example in the my presentation Continuous Improvement, make it visible!.

    One last suggestion are the Golden Rules for Agile Process Improvement. They have helped many people to continuously improve they way they develop software.

    Let me know if this helps you?

  3. Amrinder Singh

    Very nice presentation. Explained in such a simple way.

    1. Ben Linders

      Thanks, nice to read that you like.

      I prefer to keep things as simple as possible, but not simpler. My approach to share and help people 🙂

  4. sara

    thank you
    organizations focus on improving the competitive advantage by using TQM as an approach through which; continue for improving quality of products, human resources, services, processes, and environment can be achieved.

    1. Ben Linders

      Lots of wisdom and practical stuff in TQM, thanks for bringing it up.

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