Management theorist Peter Drucker once said ‘What gets measured gets improved,’ and that’s exactly the right way to think about your organization’s growth.
You’re not working in a stagnate business environment. Markets will shift and your consumers’ needs will change. To stay competitive, adapting is key. Successful companies consistently review their internal processes to see if any changes will boost their results. Because in the end, quality processes mean quality products.
So, let’s take a look at continuous process improvement and how it can lead to effective quality processes.
What is continuous process improvement?
Continuous process improvement (CPI) is a business philosophy for analyzing and continuously improving your internal processes to boost customer satisfaction. There’s no point waiting for something to go wrong before you work on a fix. CPI is a working style dedicated to consistently reviewing your results to positively affect outcomes.
‘Continuous’ is an important word here. It’s an ongoing initiative, rather than a one-off activity. You’re constantly evaluating to find out where problems might originate from.
Typical steps in CPI include:
- Identifying your current issues. Start by analyzing your processes. You’re mainly looking for barriers or bottlenecks that are restricting the speed of your workflow. Doing this will also help you create a benchmark of your current performance.
- Planning your improvements. Creating an effective plan will help you seamlessly roll out improvements. Keep in mind that you may want to scale up these changes down the line.
- Making the changes. Before you execute, be sure to test your changes to see if they’re having the desired outcome on your results.
- Reviewing the results. Monitoring and tracking changes will make sure your changes are providing value. Look back on your original benchmark and measure how well your improvements are faring.
The goal here is to create high-quality internal processes that will lead to the production of high-quality products. By constantly improving, you’re ensuring your processes never stagnate or become outdated.
It might seem like an obvious route to take, but from our experience, constant adjustment just might be the secret to effective quality processes.
The secret to effective quality processes: 3 benefits of CPI
1. Fitting into every project
Whether you’re carrying out monthly Case Analysis and Resolution (CAR), analyzing Pareto trends, or determining your Process Capability Baseline (PCB), continuous process improvement means you’re always working to the best of your ability. The benefits of these effective processes will ripple across your organization and positively affect everyone’s workflow.
This is because effective processes provide:
- Clarity. There’s no confusion around what’s expected of everyone’s roles. This keeps everyone focused.
- Control. Effective processes give confidence and assurance that things are going to plan. It also empowers employees to speak up about problems, knowing that management will review them.
- Consistency. Consistent processes mean things are done the same way every time, providing consistent results.
We recommend conducting a sprint analysis every three to six months to gather feedback about changes. This will help you monitor your progress and ensure everybody is benefitting.
2. Complimenting your existing process models
Do you use models like CMMi in your organization? Then you’re already in the right mindset.
Popular maturity and security models all require a focus on process improvement. So, if you’ve already got the philosophy embedded in your work, you’ll boost the value that these models bring.
According to CIO, one of the main goals of the CMMi model is to create ‘reliable environments where products, services and departments are proactive, efficient and productive.’ It develops behaviors that decrease risks in service, product, and software development. With a continuous process improvement attitude, these behaviors will be easier to integrate into your company’s culture.
3. Getting certified with process compliance
Eager to get certified and display a badge on your website? A certification in a well-known operating model can boost your credibility and customer trust.
However, achieving them isn’t easy. There’s a long list of criteria you need to pass, including staying compliant. This is particularly important in security certifications such as ISO 27001.
But, keep in mind acquiring a credential isn’t where the benefits are. It’s just a badge of honor. Rigorous implementation of CPI and a commitment to refining the way you work is what will boost your organization’s output and bring you results.
Never stop improving
‘Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.’ – Benjamin Franklin
You’re always striving for quality products—that’s a given. But to get there, you need to keep on improving your internal processes. Continuous improvement keeps you on track. It makes you aware of changes you can make and how they can boost your results.
CPI provides you with an architecture that supports your processes and your people. It creates an environment in which improvement is a priority through small, measured steps. The result will be high-quality products that will delight your customers and clients.