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Process Improvement Essentials by James R. Persse PhD

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The Conscious Organization

All organizations use process. Many times they are not well defined. Many times they are just embedded in the culture. Often they are the wrong processes. Management may not even be aware of what they really are. But if you look closely to see what these processes are, you can learn a lot about what's important to a company.

Process reveals an organization's values, priorities, and preferences. They naturally emerge from the actions an organization employs to see its work through.

I once worked with a software company that regularly, always around release time, scheduled marathon testing and defect-correction sessions: 12-hour days, weekends included. It was an all-hands-on-deck routine. The company's values, priorities, and preferences were just about all focused on market perception and competitive position. But not so much on planning. And less so on its people.

One of the early benefits of implementing a formal process program is that these values begin to visibly emerge. In the example above, management probably would have balked had it been asked to document the marathon sessions as a matter of company policy. I think if they were asked to consciously commit such descriptions to paper, they would have naturally realized that such routines are not very commendable. Weak management can hide behind a lack of formalized process. But when a company is committed to growth—committed to catalyzing its own growth—the visibility of formal process becomes a welcome ...

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