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Friday, March 1, 2013

What is an Agile Process Improvement?

A process improvement program is successful only when the meaning of the word ‘process’ is clearly understood. Process means work. So when one improves, the other one also improves. The quality of the software depends a lot on the process. Whenever a change is introduced, a temporary drop in performance is always recorded. In most cases what happens is that the organization stops the implementation of changes fearing the disruption in the normal work since so much effort is required. To avoid such situations, the changes need to be adaptive. It is the agile process improvement that makes this possible. You might say that such a way of iterative improvement is not new. Well, the agile techniques introduce discipline in the whole program.

Stages of Agile Process Improvement

The following are the stages of the agile process improvement:
  1. Initiating:
Ø  Stimulus of change
Ø  Set context
Ø  Build sponsorship
Ø  Charter infrastructure
  1. Diagnosing:
Ø  Characterize current and desired states
Ø  Develop recommendation
  1. Establishing:
Ø  Set priorities
Ø  Develop approach
Ø  Plan actions
  1. Action:
Ø  Create solution
Ø  Test solution
Ø  Refine the solution
Ø  Implement solution
  1. Learning:
Ø  Analyze
Ø  Validate
Ø  Propose future actions

- The improvement cycles are meant to be followed systematically so that the results might be obtained in time ranging from 2- 6 weeks.
- The whole process lets you maintain a balance the workload as well as the improvement. 
- The flow of the process is as follows:
  1. Prioritized list of improvements
  2. Detailed plan for the current cycle
  3. Implemented improvement
  4. Feedback
- After this process, the following becomes possible for the organization:
  1. Identification and resolving of the issues earlier in the cycle.
  2. Learning process regarding how to tackle difficulties and working of this process.
  3. Adaption to the business needs that keep changing.
  4. Giving response to the feedback.
- The sponsor holds the responsibility for prioritizing the improvement backlog at the start of each sprint. 
- Also, he is the one responsible for ROI. 
- Prioritization is a good tool for the sponsor to direct the change. 
- Using prioritization, the goals and feedback can be revised from quality assurance. 
- A focus can be kept on the benefit received from each improvement cycle. 
PPQA deploys and evaluates the improvement in organization in every sprint. - The improvement package consists of 4 sprints namely:
  1. Prototyping
  2. Piloting
  3. Deploying
  4. Evaluating
- Active participation and leadership is required for a change to take place. 
- An endorsed vision and status quo is required for the beginning of the process. 
- Both of these are established via SCAMPI and CMMI. 
- The change is led by the management on an everyday basis.
- An excellent description is provided by the generic practices of CMMI for the leadership purpose.
- Similarly participation is a key element that is facilitated by the change team. - A vision is required for initiating the improvement project. 
- The initial improvement backlog is defined by 3 things namely scrumMaster, change team and the work owner i.e., the sponsor all based up on an assessment. 
- The organization is facilitated by the change team.
- With each sprint a tangible improvement is delivered. 
- The change is led by the management in a sprint.
- The effect introduced by the change is evaluated at the end of each sprint by PPQA. 
-The new improvements are defined by the work-owner who is also responsible for adding those in to the backlog of improvements and prioritizes it.
-Commitment is supported at the end of the sprint by appraisal.
-The improvements can also be continuously integrated in to the organization’s way of working. 

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