Process improvement is a series of actions taken to identify, analyze and improve existing processes within an organization, including education, to meet new goals and objectives. These actions often follow a specific methodology or strategy to create successful results. A sampling of these are listed below.
- Benchmarking is the process of comparing the cost, cycle time, productivity, or quality of a specific process or method to another that is widely considered to be an industry standard or educational best practice. Essentially, benchmarking provides a snapshot of the performance of the organization and helps in understanding the status of the organization in relation to a particular standard.
- Systematic Improvement is a systematic approach to help any organization optimize its underlying processes to achieve more efficient results. Systematic Improvement focuses on "doing things right" more than it does on "doing the right thing." In essence, it attempts to reduce variation and/or wastage in processes, so that the desired outcome can be achieved with better utilization of resources. Systematic Improvement works in the following ways:
- Defining the organization's strategic goals and purposes (Who are we, what do we do, and why do we do it?)
- Determining the organization's customers (or stakeholders) (Who do we serve?)
- Aligning the processes to realize the organization's goals (How do we do it better?)
The goal is a radical change in the performance of an organization, rather than a series of incremental changes.
- Process Re-engineering (PRE) is an approach aimed at improvement by means of elevating efficiency and effectiveness of the process that exists within and across organizations. The key to PRE is for organizations to look at their processes from a "clean slate" perspective and determine how they can best construct these processes to improve how they conduct business.
- Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) in organizational development is a process improvement approach that provides organizations with the essential elements for effective process improvement. It can be used to guide process improvement across a project, a division, or an entire organization. CMMI helps integrate traditionally separate organizational functions, set process improvement goals and priorities, provide guidance for quality processes, and provide a point of reference for appraising current processes.