We often come across the term “continuous improvement” in a software firm. This principle has trickled down from production processes.
It helps you identify opportunities for streamlining work and effectively reducing wastage. It gained into prominence with the application of Kaizen in manufacturing companies and is now used widely by all types of companies across the world. It is the relentless pursuit of improving your products, services and processes using Kaizen principles.
Deming Cycle is one of the most popular tools for continuous improvement. It is a 4-step model that works along the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle.
Plan: Find an opportunity or create a plan for change
Do: Make the changes in incremental cycles
Check: Monitor the results and see if your efforts are making a difference
Act: Was the change successful? Execute it on a wider scale and monitor your results. Go back to planning stage if the change didn’t give the expected results.
You can also use Six Sigma, Lean, and Total Quality Management for continuous improvement.
The process of continuous improvement can be followed by three Kaizen paradigms:
Feedback: Keep evaluating the processes using self reflection and monitoring
Efficiency: Identify areas of improvement and work towards improving them
Evolution: Follow the continuous improvement process in a series of incremental steps rather than a big overhaul
It requires a continuous process driven by small increments to achieve a goal and an open mindset to learning. Here is how you can use feedback in a safe environment.
Every feedback is an opportunity to promote learning between team members, divisions, and teams. Feedback should always be given and taken in a sporting way.
Feedback can be offered in different ways. Feedback in all its form is a step towards continuous improvement. From automatic feedback to formal one-on-one sessions, feedback should be a stepping stone towards the improvement.
Giving feedback requires stepping outside the safe boundaries of the workplace. Receiving feedback may also hurt someone’s feelings. We need to find a way for the feedback to transcend the emotional boundaries and comfort zones. Senior employees will need to set behavioral expectations such as work timings and deliverables. Higher management people should embed a transparent work environment. Giving and receiving the feedback will require lowering the defense mechanisms and trusting each other.Here are a few questions you can ask yourself as you set about giving feedback.
– What are the limits for the comfort zone of a person?
– What are my limits and boundaries when I get a feedback?
– How do we convey feedback to someone who’s privileged at the company?
Starting on the path of continuous improvement may require some adjustment but it is a necessary process. Curious to know more about continuous improvement and how it has helped our clients? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would love to discuss it in depth with you.