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Tutorial 2: Making Process Improvement Work - A Concise Action Guide for Software Managers and Practitioners


Target Audience:
People new to any flavor of process improvement.
People who see their current process improvement program as academic and non-value-added.

Level: Beginning

What will you learn :

  •  Scope and develop an improvement plan using business goals.
  • Derive metrics that accurately measure progress toward business goals
  • Sell your improvement program in-house
  • Initially target practitioners and projects most open to new approaches and techniques
  • Stay focused on goals and problems
  • Align the actions of managers and practitioners
  • Delay major policy documents and edicts until solutions have been practiced and tested
  • Use existing resources to speed deployment
  • Incorporate improvement models, such as SEI CMMI, into your improvement program

Process improvement too often reflects a significant disconnect between theory and practice. This workshop bridges the gap - offering a straightforward, systematic approach to planning, implementing, and monitoring a process improvement program. With examples based on our extensive experience, this workshop shows how to define goals that directly address the needs of your organization, use improvement models appropriately, and devise a pragmatic action plan. In addition, it reveals valuable strategies for deploying organizational change, and delineates essential metrics for tracking your progress. Class materials provide examples of an action plan, a risk management plan, and a mini-assessment process.


  • Developing a Plan
    •  Setting compelling goals for your improvement program

    • Directing all improvement towards achieving business goals and solving the organization's problems

    • Developing an action plan based on the defined goals and problems

    • Using an improvement model or standard to address the goals and problems

    • Deriving metrics for the goals

  • Implementing the Plan
    • Applying selling strategies to deploy new practices

    •  Increasing the speed of deployment by working with the willing and the needy first

    • Reducing the risk of failure by building and deploying solutions in increments

    • Delaying policy document creation and edicts until each solution has been practiced

  • Checking Progress

    • Using metrics to track progress based on defined goals

    • Determining corrective actions needed to get the improvement program back on track

    • Clarifying lessons learned and actions needed to make future executions of the improvement cycle more effective


Neil Potter
,  Co-Founder & Instructor
The Process Group

Neil Potter is co-founder of The Process Group, a software process improvement consultancy. He has 22 years experience in software and process engineering. Neil is an SEI authorized lead appraiser for SCAMPI appraisals, certified high-maturity appraiser, Intro to CMMI instructor and Six Sigma Greenbelt. He has a B.Sc. Computer Science from the University of Essex (UK) and is the co-author of Making Process Improvement Work - A Concise Action Guide for Software Managers and Practitioners, Addison-Wesley.