Accelerating Process Improvement Using Agile Techniques: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Accelerating Process Improvement Using Agile Techniques

1st Edition

By Deb Jacobs

Auerbach Publications

392 pages | 78 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2005-12-16
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Accelerating Process Improvement Using Agile Techniques explains how agile programming is applied to standard process improvement. By applying agile techniques, IT organizations can speed up process improvement initiatives, minimize the resources these initiatives require, and maximize the benefits of process improvement. The book details step-by-step how to implement the Accelerating Process Improvement Methodology (APIM) and how to integrate APIM with various standard process improvement models and methodologies, including the ISO 9000 series, SPICE, TQM, SPIRE, PMBOK, and CMM/CMMI. Agile process improvement enables organizations to rapidly set strategic goals, meet a greater percentage of user requirements, and realize a quicker return on investment.


About the Author

Deb Jacobs is a Professional Consultant with Focal Point Associates specializing in process improvement and project management. She currently provides support to organizations in training, process improvement consulting, project management consulting, software engineering consulting, and proposal development. Ms. Jacobs has over 25 year’s in project management, process improvement management, system/software engineering, and proposal development with a BS in Computer Science.


“… enhances the likelihood of success for IT projects. This volume describes a proved methods for accelerating process improvement that helps set the goals and directions of organizations. The book offers several real-world scenarios describing situations prevalent throughout IT organizations regardless of the primary business in which a company may be engages. Without the process improvement techniques described in this volume, organizations are at risk of losing valuable employees, as well as money, reputation, and clients. … walks the reader through many process improvement methodologies, describes CMMI in detail, and then writes about agile process improvement using an easy-to-read, “cookbook” approach. Her toolkit in the appendix will give the beginner valuable tips for developing schedules, work breakdown structures, and meeting agendas and minutes. The process improvement information presented in this book is complete and easy to read. …”

— Jan Scott, in, 2007

Table of Contents


Why Accelerate Process Improvement?         

Staying Ahead of the Competition

What is Process Improvement?

What is a Process?

Process Maturity

Process Maturity Effect on Day-to-Day Operations

Process Maturity Enhancers and Barriers

Evolution of Process Improvement


How to Accelerate Process Improvement?

Finding New Cheese

Questions, Questions, and More Questions

What You See Is Relative to Where You’re Standing

Selecting the Right Model or Methodology

Keeping It Short and Simple


Key Success Criteria   

Key Success Criteria

Change Management Challenges

CMMIÒ Basic Training

Flavors of CMMIÒ

CMMIÒ Terminology

CMMIÒ Maturity Levels

CMMIÒ Continuous Capability Levels

CMMIÒ Categories

CMMIÒ Process Areas

CMMIÒ Specific Goals and Practices

CMMIÒ Generic Goals and Practices

SW-CMMÒ Mapping to CMMIÒ


Implementing the CMMI®

Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) Cycle


Organizational Processes

Developing Processes

Organizational Process Library

Tailoring Processes

Enforcing Process Use

Accelerating Process Improvement Methodology (APIM) Introduction

Accelerating Process Improvement Methodology (APIM)


Agile Programming Methodology


APIM Phases


Pre Maturity Phase: Step 1-Launch

Process Improvement Goals

Executive Management Buy-in

Resources and Budget

Initial Master Schedule

Authorization and Approvals

Executive Steering Committee

Process Team Generation

Kick-off Meetings

Marketing Process Improvement


Pre Maturity Phase: Step 2-Planning

Action Planning

Key Planning Areas

Tools for Success: Techniques, Methods, Models, and Databases

Detailing the Master Schedule

Measures for Success

Selecting Projects for Process Improvement

Team Action Plan

Organizational Kickoff Meetings

Establishing Regular Status Meetings and Reports

Process Group Team Meetings

Executive Steering Committee

Process Group Training

Organizational Training


Maturity Phase: Step 1—Awareness

Mini-Assessment Methodology

Mini-Assessment Team Composition

Mini-Assessment Scope

Mini-Assessment Process


Maturity Phase: Step 2—Triage

Triage for Prioritization

Learning from Mistakes

Keeping it Agile

Triage Process Group Meeting

Managing Actions


Maturity Phase: Step 3—Resolution

Process Action Teams (PAT)

Resolution How-To’s

Monitoring PATs


Maturity Phase: Step 4—Training

Training Methods

Training Conduct

Standard Contents for Training Sessions

Training Survey/Evaluation

Use Training To Gain Buy-In


Maturity Phase: Step 5—Deployment

Process Piloting

Evaluating the Process Effectiveness

Process Group Mentoring Piloted Processes


Maturity Phase: Step 6—Trial

Putting Processes on Trial

Evaluating Effectiveness

Final Approvals

Deploy Processes

Formal Appraisal or Not

Lessons Learned


Post Maturity Phase: Step 1—Assess

Some Formal Assessment Methods

Assessment Preparations


Post Maturity Phase: Step 2—Improve

Keeping the Momentum Going

Changing Over Time

Auditing for Process Adherence

Training Assessment


APIM Checklist


Implementing APIM

The People Side of Process Improvement

Process Improvement Effort Staffing

Executive Management

All Organization Stakeholder


Organizational Change

Process Improvement is Like Cat Herding

The Science of Organizational Change

Tools and Strategies to Effecting Organizational Change

Planning and Managing Change


Bottom Line

Slow and Easy versus Accelerated Process Improvement

Lessons Learned

Keys to Remember

Bottom Line


Accelerating Process Improvement Methodology Toolkit

Appendix A       Work Breakdown Structure

Appendix B       Wideband Delphi Estimating Method Typical Procedures

Appendix C       Schedule Checklist       

Appendix D       Budget Checklist          

Appendix E       Initial Executive Management Kickoff Meeting Agenda      

Appendix F        Initial Executive Management Kickoff Meeting Minutes     

Appendix G       The Goose Story           

Appendix H       Overall Process Improvement Action Plan           

Appendix I         Major Activity (PAT) Action Plan 

Appendix J        Process Template         

Appendix K       CMMIÒ Process Stop Light Charts         

Appendix L        Process Group Meeting Agenda 

Appendix M       Process Group Meeting Minutes

Appendix N       Executive Steering Committee Review Meeting Agenda    

Appendix O       Executive Steering Committee Review Meeting Minutes   

Appendix P       Process Notebook Excerpt        

Appendix Q       Audit Schedule 

Appendix R       Audit Plan        

Appendix S       Audit Checklist 

Appendix T        Audit Report     

Appendix U       Gap Analysis Checklist 

Appendix V       Sample Criteria Grids    

Appendix W      APIM Checklist 

Appendix X        Acronyms        

Appendix Y       Glossary of Key Terms  

Appendix Z        Useful Web Sites          

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Quality Control
COMPUTERS / Information Technology
COMPUTERS / Software Development & Engineering / General