There are many internationally recognised models and standards available, which can, if applied in the right way, provide significant improvements to a business. Some of the more familiar ones include, for example, the SEI CMMI models and ISO Standards such as ISO 9001/TickITplus, ISO 20000 and ISO 27000. However, these models and standards only state what should be done; they don't, for good reason, explain how to do it.
Using these references simply as checklists often results in very inefficient and bureaucratic business practices, which over time, either fall into disuse or, worse still, appear to be in place but are actually being side-stepped by staff who see more effective ways of working. This is not the fault of the models and standards as they aim to describe often complex, interacting business activities but through necessity have to be describe sequentially.
The approach we take to process improvement fully adopts the principle that all improvements are driven by the business needs, objectives and operational aspects of the organisation. We concentrate on understanding the improvement needs and use the models and standards that are best suited in a pragmatic and effective manner.
The resulting effect is processes that are simple, effective and easily understood by all stakeholders involved in their development, deployment, use and ongoing maintenance. The benefits are seen through verifiable achievement of the improvement needs and sustained use of the processes in practice.
Some of the typical activities include:
Analysis of the improvement needs of the business through discussion with top management and other stakeholders.
Assessment of existing processes and practices to provide a baseline on which to establish improvements.
Identification of both in-process and output measures to provide tangible verification of improvements.
Management of improvement teams, development of improvement plans and status reporting to stakeholders.
Development, deployment (including coaching and training), audit and maintenance of policies, processes, procedures, tools and associated work products.