Assessments / Audits
Management and planning decisions should always be based on factual evidence rather than speculation or assumptions. When factual evidence is available to support a business case, all stakeholders have more confidence in your team’s decisions. And decisions can be made faster, with more accuracy.
So why is it that executives often make their decisions based on “experience” and “gut-feel”?
It’s often easier to trust a colleague’s experience of a new technology or the evidence about a new management technique shared at an executive seminar than it is to sift through mountains of marginally-useful information.
More strategic decisions are made on the golf course than in the board room because when the data isn’t there, the decisions still must be made.
A good management system has the right information available whenever it’s needed. Management needs more than just financial data to manage effectively. You also should expect to have:
• observable, traceable, and trackable operational metrics, enabling you to tell customers how you’re progressing
• data that can be used as a direct input into Executive Management’s strategic planning process
• an ability to predict with reasonable accuracy the level of quality and success that can be expected in future projects
• evidence that demonstrates achievement of your performance objectives, including schedule, costs, productivity, and customer satisfaction.
What happens when processes break down
For any system to work effectively, information flow must progress along the right paths of the organization’s processes, with no disconnects on its way to reaching its planned destination. If there’s a course deviation, contingency is planned. Faulty information, whether inaccurate or channelled off course and not available when needed, becomes unreliable . When decisions are made based on unreliable information, the consequences cascade throughout the organization until ultimately, the system fails.
Large multinational corporations often believe they are immune from such catastrophes, but the reality is that they often just have more resources with which to fix their problems. But when they do go down, it’s usually in a big way.
While larger organizations may not suffer as many visible incapacities as smaller organizations, they do just as much of a disservice to their shareholders, customers, and employees through the sheer volume of rework and waste that results from defective information.
Visibility & Discipline
To improve the management quality of an organization, and its flow of information, consistent and clear oversight is required. Visibility is mandatory and its achievement is in direct proportion to the degree of discipline exercised within the organization.
The first step to achieving this visibility is through an audit or assessment that exposes the problem areas. Only by determining the degree of the organization’s conformance to its own policies and processes, as well as its current and potential capability, can effective remedies be applied. This initial baseline provides a benchmark against which all improvement activities are measured, with ongoing surveillance assessments measuring progress.
The real objective of process management is to enable everyone in the organization to work toward and achieve the same goals. Audits and assessments help you do that by:
1. measuring your organizational performance, from the product’s cradle to grave from the perspective of the customer:
Result : an objective, quantitative benchmark that identifies organizational and operational strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats
2. providing an insight into and oversight over the organization’s inner workings
Result : to clearly and accurately have the right decision-making information to detect and fix:
– broken processes – so they can be reintegrated into the process flow
– mistaken assumptions – to ensure accuracy and prevent mistakes
– miscommunicated or outdated objectives – to help you achieve the right goals
– lack of understanding of policy, process, or strategy – to educate
– lack of direction – to guide ensuring the right path is taken
– high defect density ratios – to reduce rework, costs, and schedules
– lack of efficiency – to reduce rework and improve productivity
– low productivity rates – as a result of inefficient or broken processes or lack of training or direction
– high maintenance and support costs – as a result of too few peer reviews and development controls
– too many shortcuts – as a result of lack of process definition, discipline, or communication
– costs overruns – to increase your bottom-line profits.
3. exposing the faults and analysing their root cause
Result : establishing the priorities for improvement, assigning appropriate resource, developing tracking mechanisms, and establishing measurable improvement goals
4. providing a reliable and repeatable quantitative measurement of the organization’s maturity and capability
Result : plans reliably implemented, providing assurance of your commitment to the needs of your current and prospective customers.
…in short – all of the aspects of processes that are people-driven, and thus prone to error.
Every significant process change requires a well-considered plan as a vehicle for communication, managing, tracking, and measuring progress, especially planned versus actual.
Whether the plan is all-encompassing, covering all processes, or focuses on only selected, specific process requirements, a well-managed plan is necessary to plot the activities, timelines, budgets, resources, and work breakdown structure and to track and sustain progress. The plan should include all the variables that will affect the initiative.
One of a project’s biggest challenges is managing the relationship with the client and ensuring that requirements changes are properly managed (documented, prioritized, matched with previous requirements, estimated, tracked). Good requirements documentation entails ensuring that analysts know to write requirements. Managing change, hence requirements, is a critical factor in managing scope creep and also in scaling up projects, such as adding more people. For product-line type organizations, Requirements Management is critical to ensuring that there is no duplication in functionality between core reusable assets and customized assets (or Configuration Management can become a nightmare). A strong link also has to be established between requirements and testing.
Configuration &/or Documentation management
Configuration Management involves identifying and controlling the configuration of the software (i.e. selected software work products and their descriptions) at given points in time, systematically controlling changes to the configuration, and maintaining the integrity and traceability of the configuration throughout the software life cycle. Without adequate configuration management throughout the life cycle, control over work products and change management becomes exceedingly difficult.
In-house classroom training seminars for any of the following can be provided on your site to support learning, adoption, and implementation of many of the processes and systems within the software / environmental development life cycle. Most courses are based on International or IEEE Standards.
Software Development Life Cycle
Sustainable Development Life Cycle
Peer Reviews & Inspections
Verification & Validation
Internal Quality Auditing
Software Quality Assurance
Introduction to ISO 9001
Introduction to ISO 14001
ISO 9001 Internal Auditing
ISO 14001 Internal Auditing
ISO 14001 Elements
ISO 9001 Elements
ISO 9001 for Software Using ISO/IEC 90003 Guidance for Software.
A maximum of 14 students is recommended to ensure optimal student participation and interaction.
Small Company Group Training
ISO 9001 is now essential to most companies – large or small – across most industry sectors. Whether your goal is to expand into foreign markets, achieve an advantage over competitors, or improve your overall operations, ISO 9001 has become a condition of doing business – both domestically and internationally. But how do you get there if you’re a small company with a low budget?
VHG’s ISO 9001 Group Training Program. To accommodate clients with limited resources and budgets, VHG started ISO 9001 group training specifically for small (less than 30 employees) companies. Our program is a unique, cost-effective solution to your ISO 9001 implementation. We give you ISO 9001 training, coaching, and assistance throughout the implementation process. By working together as a group, companies share not only experiences, but also substantially reduced costs.
The year-long training program consists of a series of biweekly sessions. The seminars and workshops cover every step of the registration process. There are assignments and exercises, as well as checklists and templates to expedite the development of your qualify system. We give you the professional guidance you need to get and keep your ISO 9001 implementation project on track.
One single registration fee covers all course expenses and materials, a significant saving when compared to the cost of similar programs, individual consulting services, or attempting ISO 9001 implementation alone. The fee is payable over a six-month period, making our program your cash flow-friendly ISO 9001 alternative. And VHG’s past training programs have been recognized and supported by the Towns of Markham and Etobicoke, and the Ontario Skills Development Corporation.