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Continuous Improvement, make it visible - ICSPI 2006 - Ben Linders

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Communication is an important factor in improvement programs. Communication pictures the goals and approach of an improvement program. It can motivate people to commit to change, by showing expected benefits and early results. But wrong or too much communication can also frustrate people, getting them to resist changing.

Many improvement programs are run by technical persons, in a technical environment. Often communication is undervalued and underestimated, and perceived as difficult. It is something that people are inexperienced in, which makes them feel uncomfortable. But if they get started, and take some hurdles, they can get better in it. This presentation provides hands-on information, and hint & tips.

This presentation will show how vital communication is for improvement programs. It supplies a set of tools and techniques to improve the visibility of targets and results, and will explain how this has been used to monitor and steer continuous improvement in an R&D organization. Views on continuous improvement from different stakeholders are included, to show their needs on communication.

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Continuous Improvement, make it visible - ICSPI 2006 - Ben Linders

  1. 1. International Conference on Software Process Improvement Page 1 www.icspi.com Continuous Improvement, make it visible! Ben Linders Operational Development & Quality Ericsson R&D, The Netherlands ben.linders@ericsson.com, +31 161 24 9885
  2. 2. International Conference on Software Process Improvement Page 2 www.icspi.com Quotes Lee Iacocca (Ford Motors): You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere. Larry King (TV Talk show host): I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening. Chinese Proverb There is no wave without wind.
  3. 3. International Conference on Software Process Improvement Page 3 www.icspi.com Ericsson, The Netherlands • Market Unit Northern Europe & Main R&D Design Center • R&D: Intelligent Networks – Strategic Product Management – Product marketing & technical sales support – Provisioning & total project management – Development & maintenance – Customization – Supply & support • +/- 1300 employees, of which +/- 350 in R&D
  4. 4. International Conference on Software Process Improvement Page 4 www.icspi.com Improve? • Better, faster, cheaper • Preventing problems iso solving • To increase revenue • New markets, products • To compete in the market • (New) organizational targets • Everything changes, we will adapt ourselves Improvement is necessary in all organizations
  5. 5. International Conference on Software Process Improvement Page 5 www.icspi.com Communication Communication: ¾ Get commitment ¾ Change behavior ¾ Motivate people • Which problem are we solving? • What have we done already? • How did we do it? • What did it bring us?
  6. 6. International Conference on Software Process Improvement Page 6 www.icspi.com Past (1980-2000) Early Days: Process establishment • Processes part of the product • Detailed instructions on every document • Extensive training program Corporate improvement programs • CMM used to manage improvement • Process Areas responsibles, strict follow up • CMM level 3 in 1995, level 4 assessment in 1998 ¾ Separate process organization ¾ Large investments in process creation & support
  7. 7. International Conference on Software Process Improvement Page 7 www.icspi.com Past: Improvement Communication Large improvement programs: • Management attention • Communication is required • Communication plan • Budget, people • People want to know (audience) • Measurements Communication part of improvement project: “Relatively easy”
  8. 8. International Conference on Software Process Improvement Page 8 www.icspi.com Intermezzo (2001-2003) Economical situation • Cost reductions • Focus on processes largely reduced • Lay-offs, loss of process knowledge • 2003: Back to profit! ¾ Focus on core business ¾ Essential improvements (Operational Excellence) Communication part of restructuring
  9. 9. International Conference on Software Process Improvement Page 9 www.icspi.com Present (2004 onwards) Process Disciplines Programs: • Coordinated top-down • Business Cases, improvement top 3, Scorecard driven • Long term, major investment Continuous Improvement: • Gathered bottom up • Audits, retrospectives, Root Cause Analysis, best practices • Short term, quick wins ¾ Processes integrated in the line ¾ Time available for process work heavily reduced ¾ Effective and efficient communication needed
  10. 10. International Conference on Software Process Improvement Page 10 www.icspi.com Present: Improvement Communication Diverse improvement: • Management is a scarce resource • Communication needs vary • No structural communication plan • Limited budget, people • Resistance to change • No standard measurement Improvement communication is difficult!
  11. 11. International Conference on Software Process Improvement Page 11 www.icspi.com Tools for communication of improvements Main “tools”: • Presentations • Intranet • Agile tools • Measurements The next slides will show examples & experiences
  12. 12. International Conference on Software Process Improvement Page 12 www.icspi.com Presentations • Kick off – Business need, goals – Approach, organization – Expected results • Progress – Intermediate results & changes • Wrap up & evaluation – Did we reach our goal? – Was it worth the effort? ¾ Large groups ¾ Create commitment ¾ Base for further communication
  13. 13. International Conference on Software Process Improvement Page 13 www.icspi.com Example presentation (1) Early Fault Detection project Kick off presentation • Need for the project • Expected business result • Deliverables • Planning • Way of Working
  14. 14. International Conference on Software Process Improvement Page 14 www.icspi.com Example presentation (2) Leading Efficiency Wrap up/evaluation • Results? • Project Goals realized? • Handover • Critical Success Factors • Experiences
  15. 15. International Conference on Software Process Improvement Page 15 www.icspi.com Intranet • Improvement project website – Overview of improvements – Newsletter – Archive • Results – Balanced Scorecards – Business Cases • Processes, methods, tools – Overview – Detailed instructions, templates, checklists, etc ¾ Supporting ¾ Promotion ¾ Do not expect that everybody sees it!
  16. 16. International Conference on Software Process Improvement Page 16 www.icspi.com Example Intranet Project Defect Model • Short paragraphs with main info • Links to detailed info & documents • Newsletters • Contact for more information Make it: • Clear & Concise • Up to date • Printable
  17. 17. International Conference on Software Process Improvement Page 17 www.icspi.com Agile Communication • Quick & Easy • Relevant • Access to information • Examples – Support Mailbox – “Road show” – Workshops – WIKI – Blogs
  18. 18. International Conference on Software Process Improvement Page 18 www.icspi.com Measurement of improvements • Targets – Assessments, Improvements – Budgets, ROI – Planned communication • Steering – Regular measurement – On track? – Results? ¾ Priority? ¾ Time/budget? ¾ Results?
  19. 19. International Conference on Software Process Improvement Page 19 www.icspi.com Example Measurement Improvement • Assessments • Improvements • Details Asse ssm e nts Done S D Tre nd 12 m onths 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 Apr M ay Jun Jul A ug S ep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb M rt -15 -10 -5 0 5 10 15 D ep 8 D ep 7 D ep 6 D ep 5 D ep 4 D ep 3 D ep 2 D ep 1 Unit S D finis hed R obus t S tretch Commit S D Open Improvements Done SD Trend 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mrt -40 -30 -20 -10 0 10 20 30 40 Dep8 Dep7 Dep6 Dep5 Dep4 Dep3 Dep2 Dep1 Unit Clos ed6 Months R obus t S tretch Commit OpenSD Kind of Impr., Result, Total Process Definition Process Deployment Tool Deployment Organization Other Value per department Dep 1 Dep 2 Dep 3 Dep 4 Dep 5 Dep 6 Dep 7 Dep 8 Value 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 1 2 3 4 5
  20. 20. International Conference on Software Process Improvement Page 20 www.icspi.com Conclusions • Diverse set of communication tools needed – Reaching all groups in the organization – Time dispersed, different needs, backgrounds • Communication tools support each other – Presentations: Commitment, general information – Intranet: Support, background, results – Agile tools: Updates, interaction, feedback – Measurements: Steering, decision taking, focus • Plan for communication – Time, people, opportunities – Skills, tools
  21. 21. International Conference on Software Process Improvement Page 21 www.icspi.com Further reading Papers: – Make what’s counted count, in Better Software magazine march 2004. Ben Linders. Books: – Managing expectations. Naomi Karten. – Getting things done when you are not in charge. Geoffrey Bellman. Ben Linders, Ericsson R&D, The Netherlands ben.linders@ericsson.com, +31 161 24 9885 Related Websites: – Tantara links to SPi and QA: http://www.tantara.ab.ca/info.htm – Software Engineering Institute: http://www.sei.cmu.edu – SPI forum: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/spi/

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