Software QA FYI - SQAFYI

Triggering change - what for and how

By: Dr. H. James Harrington

Reasons for change can be expressed as a personal/departmental pain or desire, a business outcome, or a strategic focus (see tables below).

Regardless of the reason, fundamental changes aimed at improved process effectiveness and improved product/service potential are essential in today's marketplace.

Personal / departmental reasons for change:
Reason: Current Pains / Desires
a) tired of fire fighting
b) maintenance costs are too high
c) need greater predictability
d) tired of loosing contracts to the competition
e) simply desire a new market requiring improved capabilities

Measures of Success
rewards and recognition
more challenging work with less overtime

less chaos
meeting objectives
less turnover
improved credibility

Recommended initial approach
focus efforts -- apply the 80/20 rule
increase knowledge about enabling change (e.g., join associations like ASQ, attend workshops, ...)
document your core processes
begin tracking product/service defects

The ultimate business reason for change:
Reason: Desired Outcome
Competitive Advantage
Measures of Success
Short-term: cost, revenue and profit
Long-term: market size and market penetration
Recommended initial approach

To gain a sustainable competitive advantage takes time and is an outcome of effective strategies/objectives that often drive process change.

Begin your journey by first determining your business goals (see the next table: "Strategic reason for change"). As a prerequisite, consider conducting market research and/or applying benchmarking techniques. Once the right goals are determined, focus your strategic planning sessions and then use a change agent (internal or external) to facilitate the achievement of the objectives--do only a few objectives at a time.

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Triggering change - what for and how