Feeds

Process improvement essentials

You picked the short straw. Now, what?

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Book review Process improvement, in the guise of the ‘big three’ frameworks of ISO 9001, CMMI and Six Sigma on the face of it would seem to have much in common and all aim to produce the same end result – improved quality through established and proven processes. With compliance to one or other of these frameworks increasingly being sought by governments and corporations, it’s no surprise that there’s a rush of interest in them now.

Unfortunately, reading about ISO 9001, CMMI and Six Sigma is often like wading through mud, only not as interesting. For those tasked with finding out about them, or worse still those being asked to select which one to go for there’s somewhere to turn to in the form of James Persse’s ‘Process Improvement Essentials’, published by O’Reilly.

The aim of the book is both to provide an understanding of the motivations behind, and the benefits of adopting, a process improvement policy. In many ways the benefits, (and the costs of achieving those benefits), are independent of which of these frameworks (or indeed of competing frameworks). To this end, the first part of the book looks at putting the case for process improvement, marshalling the arguments which apply generically in terms of improved planning, control and execution of projects and products. It discusses in some detail the process of establishing the process, pointing out both the pit-falls of ‘flavour of the month’ solutions hoisted on unwilling developers and also the need for executive sponsorship and a high degree of corporate commitment.

The second part of the book then moves on to the specifics of each of the frameworks. It puts each into context, providing the historical background, evolution and current status of each. Issues of ownership are high-lighted as well, pointing out the difference between ISO 9001, which is centrally ‘owned’ by the ISO, and CMMI and Six Sigma which are closer to open source in terms of ownership, usage and community input. Of course, the core of this section of the book is in describing in some detail the contents of the frameworks, allowing the reader to get a detailed over-view of what makes them different, where the emphasis lies for each of them and where they are most appropriately used.

The book is leavened with war stories, anecdotes, quotes from the great and the good from different industries and so on. But even with the war stories and the personal asides from the author, this is a book that you’re still unlikely to read for the hell of it. It’s a better source than some, and there’s no disputing that the book gets the material across to the reader, but there’s still a certain dryness of tone that seems to go with the territory.

However, if you look like you’re going to be ‘processed improved’ or you want to institute one or other of these frameworks than this is a good place to start. The author makes the point a number of times that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. For those wanting to pick and chose from the different approaches, or who are interested as much in cannibalising existing best practices this is also a great place to start.

Process Improvement Essentials

Verdict: A somewhat dry read, but if “process improvement” is going to be done unto you, this may also be a compelling read. It’s more accessible than many books on the subject.

Author: James R. Persse.

Publisher: O’Reilly.

ISBN: 0596102178

Media: Book

List Price: £31.99

Current Reg price: £22.71 inc. VAT (discount 29%)

Buy this book at Register Books at Reg Developer's special discounted price (subject to change)!

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Microsoft to bake Skype into IE, without plugins
Redmond thinks the Object Real-Time Communications API for WebRTC is ready to roll
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
Mozilla: Spidermonkey ATE Apple's JavaScriptCore, THRASHED Google V8
Moz man claims the win on rivals' own benchmarks
FTDI yanks chip-bricking driver from Windows Update, vows to fight on
Next driver to battle fake chips with 'non-invasive' methods
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Ubuntu 14.10 tries pulling a Steve Ballmer on cloudy offerings
Oi, Windows, centOS and openSUSE – behave, we're all friends here
Was ist das? Eine neue Suse Linux Enterprise? Ausgezeichnet!
Version 12 first major-number Suse release since 2009
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.