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September 27, 2006

Process Improvement Essentials: Understanding and Implementing CMMI, ISO 9001, and Six Sigma

Sebastopol, CA--The fact that most companies can benefit from some kind of process management focus became painfully apparent when the dot-com bubble burst around 2000. The software industry seemed to be going haywire, with the venture capital industry along for the ride. Hundreds of millions of dollars were being pumped into the most superfluous of concepts, and managers paid little attention to integrated design, team organization, product requirements, and event the most basic of business school management fundamentals.

"Today the industry is becoming wiser," observes James R. Persse, author of Process Improvement Essentials. "The fact that there is increased interest in ISO, CMMI, and Six Sigma is an indicator of that. This is a good trend, but it hasn't yet matured.

"Technology spending in the US is in the trillions of dollars. And technology has become an inescapable and essential factor in business success," Persse adds. "Programs like CMMI, ISO 9001, and Six Sigma help technology shops control spending, delivery quality, and increase operational efficiencies."

Process Improvement Essentials serves as an introduction and guide to the three leading process improvement programs:

  • ISO 9001:2000 Quality Management Standard from the International Standards Organization (ISO)
  • Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) from the Software Engineering Institute
  • Six Sigma, a methodology for improvement shaped by companies such as Motorola, Honeywell, and General Electric
  • "Many people come to me and ask, 'Of these three popular process standards--CMMI, ISO 9001, and Six Sigma--which one might be right for me?'" says Persse. "I wanted to write a book that gives people a quick look at each of these three and then gives them the general process improvement information that would let them see that all three can work together to help a company achieve its process and quality goals."

    The chief purpose of Process Improvement Essentials is to help people who are new to the subject get a basic understanding of the purpose, aim, and structure of this growing field and to help them understand how ISO 9000, CMMI, and Six Sigma relate to the industry and to one another. It's also designed to help set beginners on the way to making an informed decision should they wish to move into deeper exploration along more specific lines.

    Persse begins with a general look at the intent of process improvement. He then provides concise descriptions of the three programs with comparisons to help readers decide which one is right for them. Persse also offers guidelines for establishing a process improvement program in an organization with techniques for sustaining the value of process improvement.

    With more than twenty year's experience in management and process improvement, Persse has implemented successful process improvement programs across multi-industry discipline. Using straightforward language and clear examples, he makes the subject accessible to all readers of his book. "I think readers will appreciate the fact that process improvement can be implemented in a 'light' way," he says. "It does not have to be heavy or a special burden for any technology shop."

    Advance Praise for Process Improvement Essentials:

    "The book delivers the best message I have read on succeeding at software process improvement. The material is well written and comprehensible. The author does an excellent job of helping the reader navigate the concepts and practices required to instill a successful program. A must read for those serious about implementing a process improvement program."
    -Richard L. Upchurch, Professor, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

    Additional Resources:

    Process Improvement Essentials
    James R. Persse
    ISBN: 0-596-10217-8, 334 pages, $44.99 US, $58.99 CA
    order@oreilly.com
    1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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