Process Improvement (CMMI, Six Sigma, SPICE, etc.)

Feb 17, 2020
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Perhaps you’ve seen a sign at an auto repair shop that asked, “What do you want: good, fast, or cheap? Pick two.” While humorous, the sign is also wise: it acknowledges the reality of trade-offs. You generally cannot optimize every desired outcome of a given situation.  The notion of such a “triple constraint” or “iron triangle” appears throughout project management. The problem is that I have seen numerous representations of the triangle with various parameters on the triangle’s vertices—size, cost, time, or scope—and various assumptions made about what is being held constant, such as quality or functionality. I’ve also seen diagrams that show four project dimensions. So, in my view, the traditional “triple constraint” is wrong, although the concept of constraints and trade-offs is certainly valid.

Jan 26, 2020
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Step one is get knowledge, step two: redesign for effectiveness then, lastly, step three, pull in IT. It is to start from a base of knowing what IT can do to support a more effective design, the costs of development drop to tens of thousands and everything developed gets used – an amazing feat in IT development. And the benefits delivered by the IT system are significant: Real-time visibility of the work, accurate information about demand and activity times, costs and materials employed.
Dec 22, 2019
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In Part 1 of this series John Seddon argued that Agile, as practiced, is bereft of knowledge, hence its ubiquitous failure. Here he argues that ‘get knowledge’ is the starting-place for effective change.

Part 2: Knowledge: the prerequisite for profound change

It may seem heretical to suggest that we make change without knowledge, but, as Deming pointed out, experience is not equivalent to knowledge; you can spend 20 years in an organisation without knowing how to change it for the better. Leaders, clients and stakeholders describe requirements or problems to solve on the basis of their current world view, governed by information from their current control systems, but what if their world view is flawed? What if there are bigger and different problems to solve?

Dec 15, 2019
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Five S can be applied in any work environment and prepares a work area for a follow-on Lean process improvement effort. In this case, 5S prepares my garage for Lean process improvement in doing home activities like automobile maintenance, appliance repair, and hobbies like gardening and woodworking. But, remember the preparation benefit is only realized if 5S is sustained. As I said I am the worst (ugly) in keeping the “new world order” in my garage.

Jul 29, 2019
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As the business analyst (BA) role continues to evolve, the responsibilities continue to expand. One of the best ways for a business analyst to add value to a project is to understand the processes involved in both the project life cycle (PLC) and the software development life cycle (SDLC). Contrary to popular belief, the two life cycles are independent of one another, however, it's best that they are aligned.
May 12, 2019
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Process modeling/mapping/flowing, can be an art, and science, based on the maturity of the organization, knowledge of those doing this work in the organization, and many other factors. What I have found can be challenging is identifying the actual processes to model/map/flow. The fight identification may not occur on the first attempt as this work can be quite iterative, however, there are some concepts that can help make the identification a little easier
Oct 21, 2018
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In a classic business analyst universe, requirements are the soul of all the work a business analyst does. If a business analyst fails to identify and translate the right requirements, they’re out of a job. This is the reason why a successful business analyst is always good at requirements handling/management process. What makes requirements...
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Chaos! Stress! Everyday mess! Isn’t this an everyday situation for a business analyst? If not, either you’ve job satisfaction or you’re not being introduced to the real world of business analysis.

A person might possess great skills, however, (s)he might not be able to utilize skills without the right mix of tools and environment. A toolbox enables a person to implement the skills in the most efficient way. Possessing necessary tools is just the one part of it. Another is the knowledge to utilize the right tools at the right time to cater the solution and ensure timely committed delivery.

What are these tools? How do we map the usage of tools to the given circumstance? How can we efficiently utilize the tool? Does it depend on the solution or the approach?

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In a large firm, a business analyst (BA) organization makes an effort to identify, analyze and provide a solution to the above questions. A BA organization is a prime pillar in optimizing resources to provide maximum value out of it to the business.

A BA organization consists of business analysts in various roles like Product Manager, Program Manager, Project Manager, Business Analyst, Business Systems Analyst, Business Systems Consultant, Business Process Analyst etc.  The prime objective is to analyze business to maximize value addition.

To understand more about the BA organization, it is important to understand what is business analysis

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I don’t know how many articles I’ve read where the author states requirements should be “what” the user/client needs, not “how” to deliver the solution. They say “A requirement should never specify aspects of physical design, implementation decisions or system architecture”... In my humble opinion, every requirement, even the business level needs, goals and objectives, are just the start of a long march to a solution.
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This short paper series, “Deep Dive Models in Agile”, provides valuable information for the Product Owner community to use additional good practices in their projects. In each paper in this series, we take one of the most commonly used visual models in agile and explain how to create one and how to use one to help build, groom, or elaborate your agile backlog.
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Process Flows are usually used for user facing projects/systems, although their cousin, the System Flow, can be used in virtually the same manner to document system processes and logic.  When on an agile project, the Product Owner (PO) or Business Analyst (BA) will usually elicit the high level process flow (L1) in a sprint 0 or planning type phase. From there, during that same planning type phase, the L2 processes to be created will be prioritized and the PO or BA will usually work on the 1-2 highest priority process flows at the L2 level. This is to build the initial backlog.

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A bid is like a product that, once designed, the team must be able to deliver it. This delivery includes manufacturing the product, testing it, preparing the marketing for the product launch and finally launch it.  We propose a staged approach that replace guessing a number with qualitative investigation. The model suggested, distilled from experience, shows how estimates are transformed into effort and, ultimately, into a coherent story with a price tag attached.
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BA needs to ensure that any process improvements benefit the end-customer – a quicker delivery, higher quality, or a less expensive product/service from the eyes of the customer. But what happens if the BA only evaluates a sub process? Can the end-customer value be harmed (i.e., slower delivery, lower quality, more expensive product or service)? 
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Lean techniques use a process-oriented approach. In non-industrial organizations however, the process is invisible. In order to apply Lean techniques successfully in this environment, the visibility of processes has to be significantly increased. Employees have to learn to look at their organization from a process viewpoint. Furthermore, it is important that the method is applied to all layers of the organization.

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