Recently I was the host of the Unicom Conference “Recent Trends in Process Improvement” in Amsterdam. My scene setting talk explained to the audience why we need to uncover better ways to do process improvement. This blog post takes a deeper look at the needs of the business and customers for process improvement, and discusses some solutions to find better ways to do it.
Why does the business and our customers need better process improvement?
Your business wants Process Improvement to be Better-Faster-Cheaper. There’s limited money to invest and too many choices fo them, so you have to make clear why management should decide to invest in Process Improvement. And then start delivering by improving the way of working in the organization (AKA process), and make it visible how things are improving in the organisation, and how process improvement is contributing to that.
Also the (end-)customers are expecting Better-Faster-Cheaper products and services. Customers do not accept products and services with insufficient quality, and won’t wait until problems have been solved. They will vote with their feet and walk to another supplier. To be able to meet the demands of our customers, we need to be able to deliver working software with sufficient quality, and continuous improve our products and services. Process Improvement has to provide the knowledge and solutions to do this.
Uncovering better ways to do Process Improvement
Maybe this isn’t new for you (I sure hope so!), but business and customer needs are increasing at a high speed, and my opinion is that process improvement is insufficiently able to keep up with their demands. Process Improvement must become more effective, and better able to deliver short cycled continuous improvement.
The solution is to eat our own dogfood as a way to improve the way we improve. Yes, do it yourself, just do it. Does that sounds scary to you? Well, if you don’t improve yourself, how can you expect your customers to improve! To lead change in organizations, process improvement professionals have to be an “example in change”. They have to experience themselves how it is to change, reflect and learn from leading improvements and get better at doing it.
Are there better ways to do process improvement?
Yes, there are! Let me give some examples:
- If you want your organization to become agile and lean, then use agile and Scrum to do process improvement.
- Since a process is the way we work around here, be open about why and how you do process improvement, for instance by stating your goals and asking for feedback.
- If you need to keep focus in your process improvement initiative, here are some golden rules for agile process improvement that can help you.
- You can increase transparency and visibility in your organization, by being an example on making quality and process improvement visible
At the Unicom Conference “Recent Trends in Process Improvement: Focus on Products & Services” in Amsterdam, November 15, I presented why we need to uncover better ways to do Process Improvement:
[pdf http://www.benlinders.com/wp-content/uploads/Unicom-15-nov-PI-Ben-Linders-Scene-Setting-Extended.pdf 640 450]
I’m interested to hear about your experiences? Please share them with us!