Quality Assurance Process Improvement is the next topic in our Blog Series. We completed a series of 4 on Assessments and at the end of the Assessment process a lot of organizations tend not to act on the results if they do not have a plan for moving forward. This is particularly true if the Assessment has not been tailored to the particular company. A standardised Assessment process generates standard recommendations which may not be applicable. Make sure you detail your expectations at the beginning of the Assessment so you get value from the process and your expenditure of time.

Assuming that you have the results of an Assessment available, the next step is often some sort of Process Improvement. So what is Process Improvement?

We define Process Improvement as a planned and measured activity that leads to a better process.

Planned – Process Improvement carried out without a plan is simply change for the sake of change with no knowledge of whether this is an improvement or not.

Measured – Measurements need to be taken both before and after the process improvement activity is completed. Before measurements provide a current baseline of how the process is currently operating. After measurements determine whether the process improvement activity has had the desired effect. Without both, there is no point to the process improvement.

Better Process – The measurement process tells us whether the process has improved at all. There is a number of things that could be measured. Maybe the process has got quicker; maybe it is cheaper in some way; maybe it is more consistent so the results are more similar; or maybe the end product or service generated from the process is better. It would be nice to get all four with one process improvement activity but frequently it will require multiple iterations of the process improvement cycle to start realising gains on all four items.

Next Week: Coming Meetings