Quality Assurance Process Improvement is the current topic in our Blog Series. We completed a series of 4 blogs on Assessments because at the end of the Assessment process a lot of organizations won’t act on the Assessment results if they don’t have a plan for moving forward. This is particularly true if the Assessment has not been tailored to the particular company in question. A standardized 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.
Last time we looked at Why Carry Out Process Improvement and now want to address the question of “How to do it”. First we need to identify the processes that we want to improve. We will assume that this step has been completed already. Then we need to measure the existing process for what we want to improve. If we want it to be faster then we need to measure the time it takes. If we want it to be more consistent, then we need the measure the output against some standard. Once we have a baseline of measurements (you will probably be measuring more than one item since we do not want to improve one at the expense of another), then we can decide how we want to improve it. If we want the process to be faster, we might try to get the inputs to it at the right time or before they are needed. We might try cutting out any extra steps. While doing this we do not want to reduce the quality of the output so we will want to measure that as well. if you want it to be more consistent you might look for places where the product deviates from standard and try to improve those while making sure that does not make any other pieces of the product worse.
The post improvement measurements should always be carried out after the process has had a chance to settle down and achieve some stability. Measuring too soon may lead to erroneous conclusions.
The objective is to save the overall organization funds; not just the current project. As such the results of an Assessment and the activities done as part of Process Improvement must be assessed at the corporate level and not at the project level.
Next Week: Guest Blog