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Process Improvement Essentials by James R. Persse PhD

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Developing Process Program Components

This step represents the bulk of the work you'll undertake in creating your quality program. As its name suggests, this cycle is an iterative process. But it begins with a period of extended observation, questioning, and knowledge acquisition. The objective here is to learn the business. You and your team will be working to build standards, processes, and procedures to improve the business, but this can't be undertaken in a vacuum. You need to first learn how activities are being conducted, delve as deeply as you can into the rationale behind the activities, and then evaluate them for improvement opportunities.

Engage Relevant Work Groups

I find that a SWOT analysis is usually helpful here. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Just about any business strategy, situation, or activity can benefit from a SWOT analysis. In this case, you and your team look for what strengths lay in the current processes—that is, what is working well in terms of management, accountability, and control. Next you identify what appears to be working less well: what might be only partially fulfilling its purpose, what might be lacking structure, what might be missing altogether. Then you can analyze these strengths and weaknesses. You look and determine where you see potential opportunities for improvement. This may become clear with weaknesses, but bear in mind that you can make improvements to strengths, too. It's helpful to list these opportunities, ...

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