We use a number of models, methods, and tools as the vehicle for driving business performance improvement. Process improvement is not the goal, business performance improvement is!
Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI)
CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration), developed by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), is a process improvement approach that provides organizations with the essential elements of effective processes, which will improve their performance. CMMI-based process improvement includes identifying your organization’s process strengths and weaknesses and making process changes to turn weaknesses into strengths.
CMMI applies to teams, work groups, projects, divisions, and entire organizations. CMMI models are collections of best practices that help organizations to dramatically improve effectiveness, efficiency, and quality.
International Standards Organization (ISO)
International Standards, and their use in technical regulations on products, production methods and services play an important role in sustainable development and trade facilitation through the promotion of safety, quality and technical compatibility.
With the increasing globalization of markets, International Standards (as opposed to regional or national standards) have become critical to the trading process, ensuring a level playing field for exports, and ensuring imports meet internationally recognized levels of performance and safety.
Standards can be broadly sub-divided into three categories: product, process and management system standards. The first refers to characteristics related to quality and safety for example. Process standards refer to the conditions under which products and services are to be produced, packaged or refined. Management system standards assist organizations to manage their operations. They are often used to help create a framework that then allows the organization to consistently achieve the requirements that are set out in product and process standards.
Lean is a production practice that considers the expenditure of resources for any goal other than the creation of value for the end customer to be wasteful, and thus a target for elimination. Working from the perspective of the customer who consumes a product or service, “value” is defined as any action or process that a customer would be willing to pay for.
Essentially, lean is centered on preserving value with less work. Lean manufacturing is a variation on the theme of efficiency based on optimizing flow; it is a present-day instance of the recurring theme in human history toward increasing efficiency, decreasing waste, and using empirical methods to decide what matters, rather than uncritically accepting pre-existing ideas.
Six Sigma is a business management strategy, originally developed by Motorola in 1986. Six Sigma became well known after Jack Welch made it a central focus of his business strategy at General Electric in 1995, and today it is widely used in many sectors of industry.
Six Sigma seeks to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of defects (errors) and minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes. It uses a set of quality management methods, including statistical methods, and creates a special infrastructure of people within the organization (“Black Belts”, “Green Belts”, etc.) who are experts in these methods. Each Six Sigma project carried out within an organization follows a defined sequence of steps and has quantified financial targets (cost reduction and/or profit increase).
Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)
ITIL is a set of practices for IT service management (ITSM) that focuses on aligning IT services with the needs of business. In its current form (known as ITILv3 and ITIL 2011 edition), ITIL is published in a series of five core publications, each of which covers an ITSM lifecycle stage. ITILv3 underpins ISO/IEC 20000 (previously BS15000), the International Service Management Standard for IT service management, although differences between the two frameworks do exist.
ITIL describes procedures, tasks and checklists that are not organization-specific, used by an organization for establishing a minimum level of competency. It allows the organization to establish a baseline from which it can plan, implement, and measure. It is used to demonstrate compliance and to measure improvement.
Agile software development is a group of software development methods based on iterative and incremental development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams. It promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development and delivery, a time-boxed iterative approach, and encourages rapid and flexible response to change. It is a conceptual framework that promotes foreseen interactions throughout the development cycle. The Agile Manifesto introduced the term in 2001.