How does a Robust Process Improve Quality?

A good process ensures good results. A robust process delivers exemplary results. It’s all about the process undertaken in question. As simple as that. Let’s move to the actual definition of the term. “A robust process is one that is operating at Six Sigma and is therefore, resistant to defects. Robust processes exhibit very good short-term process capability (high short-term Z values) and a small Z shift value.”

Robust process

What are the characteristics that comprise a robust process?

Similar to almost everything in technology, robustness points towards to the durability as well as the effectiveness of a prepared plan. The below ready-reckoner should guide IT teams on building a robust process.

Clearly defined objective: To start with, the aim and objective of the process must be well laid out. This would assist everyone chosen for the task to be a be in sync with each other. This helps in closing the task faster and better.

Identification of the sponsor: Is the task at hand large that would require more minds to complete it? Unless you have a mega team in hand, you wouldn’t obviously be able to complete it successfully. Well, once the objective is clear, scout for a sponsor who matches your dream of executing a good job and thereby, is eager to help.

Choose the team lead for the project: With sponsorship under your belt, the next obvious step has to be identification of the trusted and proven leader within the system. He would be the process owner & the onus of a successful completed project has to be on him. He needs to guide oversee, communicate and execute a well thought out plan. Give him the authority to form his team and trust him to take it to the finish line!

Identify your primary and secondary customers: Who would benefit from the project? Who would your final customer be? Identify them and try to involve them in the process. This would warrant a practical design that in turn, could guarantee a success. The secondary customers are those who are less likely to use the process. They may use in the future, but not as frequently as the direct customer. The bottom line being the strategic and informed choice of the primary customer as that is what defines any business. For example, suppose you design a process to request the re-print of a report or the restore a file. Your primary customer is the user in the administration team who requests the service on a regular basis; while his manager would be the secondary target.

Identify and involve suppliers: Any reliable and robust process would have input and output entities for its success. He would do the groundwork that leads to soft inputs such as data, research or even hard tangible inputs like hard disk, CD, or tape. The supplier is he who directly provides input to the development of the process. They may be external specifically to IT, but internal to the IT department. Process suppliers are mostly hardware and software vendors who may provide details about how an upgrade is to be performed.

Taking a cue from ‘A Practical Guide to Information Systems Process Improvement’ that is largely regarded as a hand guide for shaping robust processes, documenting small, critical steps of a process ensures the larger picture of its success.  

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