Process improvement

A few concepts that might be useful when you’re tackling process issues…

When I was working in quality assurance and concentrating on process improvement, we identified six factors affecting process effectiveness.

  1. procedures – How well do the established procedures work?
  2. tools – Do the people have the tools that they need? Do the tools work well?
  3. training – Do the people doing the work have adequate training in the procedures, how to use the machines, general background information?
  4. the reward system – What are you actually rewarding? If management says  it wants a quality product, but promotes people who deliver a product quickly regardless of product quality, then the de facto reward system is rewarding speed, not quality.
  5. the inputs to the process – If you are getting crappy inputs, you’re going to produce crappy outputs. (If a home builder gets toxic drywall from China, he builds a toxic house.)
  6. the suitability of the people to the job – Here, the problem is your hiring process. If you hire square pegs to fit in round holes, then of course you will have problems.

Notice that there is no category for “lazy and stupid people”. This is not a useful category if you’re actually trying to improve a process.

About these ads