Book Review: Process Improvement Essentials
The book gives the overview of process improvement and the relevant standards CMMI, ISO 9001 and Six Sigma for the three broad categories of process managers, the executive managers and everybody else good enough for taking the next steps towards comprehensive process improvements and choosing the appropriate standard to follow. The emphasis is on IT. The book is divided into two sections of four chapters each.
The introductory chapter gives the beginning concepts and gives the reader an idea of what to expect from the rest of the book. The second chapter builds on the need of process improvement to be in place, the myths that keep the organizations from adopting process and the real benefits of implementing the process. The third chapter deals with establishing the process program. The covered topics are building through executive sponsorship, capitalizing on strengths, understanding what is liked to be done better, focusing on targeted improvements, borrowing from the industry, building from the inside, building to grow, training the people in the organization, providing support for the process program, patience for the process to become a part of the corporate culture of the organization. The fourth chapter which is also the last chapter in part one gives the concepts for sustaining process improvement. The continuous use of the process program is emphasized and twelve considerations for the maximum successful implementation of a process program.
The second part of the book discusses the standards of ISO 9001:2000, CMMI, Six Sigma in a brief fashion and then gives the possible considerations of selecting one of the three for process improvement program in an organization. The fifth chapter gives the overview of the ISO 9001:2000 is a generic quality standard developed and sponsored by the International Organization for Standardization in Geneva, Switzerland and can be applied to any manufacturing environment, including information technology. The next chapter discusses the Capability Maturity Model Integration process improvement framework established by the Software Engineering Institute of the Carnegie Mellon University on Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It represents a collection of 22 Process Areas consisting of a series of industry-recognized best practices for IT development. The seventh chapter explains the Six Sigma which is a process improvement tool based on statistical analysis and data-based decision making. The customer wants and needs are the main concern of Six Sigma. The last chapter gives the possible considerations for implementing one or multiple of the process improvement models.
The book is a fairly good introduction to the topic and allows the intended audience to grasp the necessary fundamentals to form an opinion of the best model(s) for their respective organizations. Further comprehensive documentation for the process improvement models explained in this book should be a perfect complement to the busy manager in a hurry. A highly recommended introductory book for this topic.