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Making Process Improvement Work for Service Organizations: A Concise Action Guide by Mary E. Sakry, Neil S. Potter

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1. Developing a Plan

Unplanned process improvement is wishful thinking.

—Watts Humphrey [Humphrey89]

We have seen many approaches to improvement since 1989. Two stand out as the most common. With the first approach, teams document the tasks they typically perform during their day-to-day activities. The notion is that if their current practices are documented, they can be shared among the group and the best ones will become “best practices.” When everyone adopts these best practices, the theory goes, the service quality problem will be solved. Unfortunately, the result is often numerous documents that everyone ignores.

With the second approach, a company strides toward the achievement of an improvement framework such as ISO or the Software Engineering ...

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