Continuous Process Improvement

By A.sainath

Definition of Process
Process refers to business and production activities of an organisation. The process is the interaction of some combination of people, material, equipment, method, measurement, and the environment to produce an out come such as product or service.

other process attributes can also be the focus of improvement .Process improvement Understanding existing processes and introducing process changes to improve product quality. However. Most process improvement work so far has focused on defect reduction. This reflects the increasing attention paid by industry to quality. reduce costs or accelerate schedules.

Process attributes Process cha rac teristic Understandability Visibility Supportability Acce ptability Reliability Robus tness Maintainability Rapidity Description To what extent is the process explic itly defined and how easy is it t o understand t he pr ocess definition? Do the process activities culmi nate in clear results so that the progress of the process is externally visible? To what extent can CASE tools be us ed to support the pr oce ss activities? Is t he defined pr oce ss acce ptable to and us able by the enginee rs responsible for p roducing the s oftware product? Is t he process designed in such a way that process errors are avoided or trapped b efore they r esult in pr oduct errors ? Can the process continue in sp ite of unexpect ed pr oble ms ? Can the process evolve to reflect changing org anisational requirements or identified process imp rovem ents? How fast can the pro cess of deliv ering a sys tem from a given specific ation be comp leted? .

.5 Golden ways to improve 1.Make the process safer 5.Make the process more satisfying to the person doing it. Reduce resources 2. Meet or exceed expectations of downstream customers 4. Reduce errors 3.

The process improvement cycle .

The current process is assessed and bottlenecks and weaknesses are identified. Changes to the process that have been identified during the analysis are introduced. Process analysis  Process change  .Process improvement stages Process measurement  Attributes of the current process are measured. These are a baseline for assessing improvements.

Improvement Strategies Repair Refinement Renovation Reinvention .

It is important to note that the repair strategy does not make the process better than the original design .Repair This strategy is simple ± anything broken must be fixed so that it function as designed.

Refinement This strategy involves activities that continually improve a process that is not broken Improvements to processes. products. and services are accomplished on an incremental basis Refinement improves efficiency and effectiveness .

Renovation is more costly than the previous strategies and is usually undertaken by teams rather than individuals . Innovation and technological advancements are the key factors in this approach.Renovation This strategy results in major breakthrough improvements.

.Reinvention Reinvention is like a clean sheet of paper Reinvention is preceded by the feeling that the current approach will never satisfy customer requirements Reinvention might also be desirable to maintain organisation vitality or advantage.


Plan what is needed Do it Check that it works Act to correct any problems or improve performance .

Do. understanding how things work. finding root causes and creative solutions and planning their careful implementation. The problem with these is that if things go wrong. focusing in on the problem. Check. Doing is not always as easy as it might seem. It may include training of people and other project management activities. . and is the basic principle for continuous improvement. but the biggest and simplest traps are often last minute changes. Planning means understanding what you are trying to achieve. you cannot backtrack to the decision that led to the action and consequently have to start all over again.PDCA stands for Plan. Act.

Walter Shewart and called it the Shewart Cycle. honesty and integrity is required to stick to the process.g. PDCA is often called the Deming Cycle or Deming Wheel. The key question when things go wrong is µWhy¶. With a well documented process you will be able to go back to the exact point where an incorrect decision was made. this is the part where courage. which either means holding the gains and standardizing the process (e. although Deming attributed it to his teacher. When things go wrong and good results are not found. which properly is Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA). Acting means acting on what you found during the µcheck¶ phase. which Plan-Do-Studyemphasizes the detailed approach during the Check phase . within an ISO9000 system) or acting to learn from the experience and start again at the appropriate place.Checking means checking the results and also comparing them with what you were expecting.

Project management .Problem-solving process Problem.Human resources development .Daily routine management-for the individual managementand/or the team .Continuous development .Vendor development .New product development .Process trials .Benefits of the PDCA cycle: .

quality programme. Top management must accept and adopt the new philosophy 3. its implications and the direction to take 2.Every activity must be recognised as a step in a process and the customers of that process identified. Top management must communicate the plan and the necessity for it to the people in the organisation 4. The customers are responsible for the next stage of the process .The Seven Point Action Plan 1 Management must agree on the meaning of the . the basis of quality improvement 6. Each stage must adopt the Deming or Shewhart Cycle . Action .Plan. Everyone must be enabled to contribute to this process 7. outputs. Team working must be engendered and encouraged to improve inputs and outputs. Construct an organisation for quality with the support of knowledgeable statisticians . Check. Do.

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