Thursday, May 1, 2008

Management Commitment

I am continually struck by the misunderstanding of management's role in process improvement in any size organization. Many times the all the senior manager feels that they have to do is give a directive to achieve a Maturity Level by some date. And that is the extent of their involvement, expecting that the Maturity Level will simply happen because they said so. And then to make matters worse, this same senior manager does not understand why the people they put in charge of implementing the process improvement program can't make things happen faster, especially when they are perceived as setting capricious and arbitrary deadlines without asking the process team if the new dates are achievable.

Managers who are committed to correctly performing process improvement both "talk the talk" and "walk the walk". They understand the importance of:
  1. setting realistic process improvement goals
  2. providing the necessary support to the process team
  3. addressing process improvement challenges and removing obstacles
  4. instilling the process improvement mindset throughout the management structure
  5. encouraging process improvement suggestions
  6. being a process improvement advocate

Without being actively supportive of their process improvement goals and emphasizing this same expected behavior from the rest of the management, their process improvement goals are at serious risk. Management does have to become engaged and not simply expect that things will happen just because they spoke.

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