Making Process Improvement Work for Service Organizations: A Concise Action Guide

Making Process Improvement Work for Service Organizations: A Concise Action Guide

by Neil Potter, Mary Sakry
Making Process Improvement Work for Service Organizations: A Concise Action Guide

Making Process Improvement Work for Service Organizations: A Concise Action Guide

by Neil Potter, Mary Sakry


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Process improvement too often reflects a significant disconnect between theory and practice. Making Process Improvement Work for Service Organizations bridges the gap–offering a straightforward, systematic approach to planning, implementing, and monitoring a process improvement program. Managers and practitioners will appreciate the book’s concise presentation style and will be able to apply its practical ideas immediately to real-life challenges.


With examples based on the authors’ own extensive experience, this book shows how to define goals that directly address the needs of your organization, use improvement models appropriately, and devise a pragmatic action plan. In addition, it reveals valuable strategies for deploying organizational change, and delineates essential metrics for tracking your progress. Appendices provide examples of an action plan, a risk management plan, and a mini-assessment process.


You will learn how to

  • Scope and develop an improvement plan
  • Identify and prioritize risks and mitigate anticipated difficulties
  • Derive metrics that accurately measure progress toward business goals
  • Sell your improvement program in house
  • Initially target practitioners and teams most open to new approaches and techniques
  • Stay focused on goals and problems
  • Align the actions of managers and practitioners
  • Delay major policy documents and edicts until solutions have been practiced and tested
  • Use existing resources to speed deployment

Incorporate improvement models, such as SEI CMMISM for Services, into your improvement program

For those managers who are tired of chronic problems during service creation and delivery, constant new improvement schemes, and a lack of real progress, this easily digestible volume provides the real-world wisdom you need to realize positive change in your organization.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780132929585
Publisher: Pearson Education
Publication date: 05/01/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Pages: 164
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Neil S. Potter and Mary E. Sakry are cofounders of The Process Group, a company that consults in process improvement. They have been working in service delivery and product development organizations since 1985 and 1976, respectively. They are both SEI-certified Lead Appraisers.

Table of Contents

Foreword xi

Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xix


Chapter 1: Developing a Plan 1

Scope the Improvement 5

Develop an Action Plan 20

Determine Risks and Plan to Mitigate 36

Summary 45


Chapter 2: Implementing the Plan 47

Sell Solutions Based on Needs 48

Work with the Willing and Needy First 53

Overcoming Resistance 61

Keep Focused on the Goals and Problems 67

Align the Behaviors of Managers and Practitioners 68

Summary 70


Chapter 3: Checking Progress 73

Are We Making Progress Toward Our Goals? 74

Are We Making Progress on Our Improvement Plan? 82

Are We Making Progress on the Improvement Framework? 83

What Lessons Have We Learned So Far? 94

Summary 105


Conclusion 107


Appendix A: Mapping Goals and Problems to CMMI 109

Definitions of CMMI Level 2 Practices Used in Mapping 111

Definitions of CMMI Level 3 Practices Used in Mapping 113


Appendix B: Action Plan Example 117


Appendix C: Risk Management Plan Example 123


Appendix D: Mini-Assessment Process 127

Step 1: Plan the Assessment 128

Step 2: Meet with the Interviewees to Explain What Will Be Checked and How 129

Step 3: Perform the Mini-Assessment Interview 130

Step 4: Communicate the Results 130

Step 5: Debrief on the Mini-Assessment Process 133

Step 6: Improve the Questionnaire 134

Step 7: Taking Corrective Action 135


References 139

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