Continuous Process Improvement in the Software World

Your secret weapon in the battle for better business

No matter the size of your organisation, achieving and maintaining a high level of operational efficiency is part of the success journey. Usually, striving for efficiency means that the organisation becomes more profitable.

The most successful organisations are always trying to improve the way they operate and finding new and innovative solutions that improve performance. They know the importance of making sure they stay ahead of the competition - at every step of the way.

Generally speaking, continuous process improvement (CPI) seeks to determine if an organisation’s business processes are meeting company goals. There are various tools that are used to achieve this fast - but getting the improvement part right is a little trickier. We’ll get into this in a minute, but first, let’s look at CPI’s application in software development.

CPI in software development - The Dark Horse

For developers, CPI is an ongoing effort to improve products, services or processes through continuous testing and optimisation. This means that attention is put on making sure a business’ products are up-to-date, bug-free and secure. This process is done on a continuous basis as part of a developer’s maintenance protocols.

Changes are implemented either incrementally or in one fell swoop (also known as breakthrough improvement). The advantage of making incremental changes is that improvements are made almost as soon as they have been discovered. 

Once these have been processed, the next step is to ensure that you constantly go back to reanalyse all processes throughout the lifecycle of the project and make additional changes. This is one of the pillars of an agile environment.

Getting it right

One of the most popular CPI models used is PDCA, which stands for Plan, Do, Check, and Act. By carefully going through these steps, the ongoing cycle of continuous improvement can be achieved as the model controls and regulates the processes. 

One can also start by using business process mapping to visualise all the business processes that require monitoring and assigning responsible individuals. Below is a breakdown of the PDCA model.

  • Plan: The planning phase is the initial element in the model that sets out to identify objectives and challenges within the particular project. The problem identified would need to be solved in alignment with expected outcomes. A number of possible solutions are identified, with the most favourable solution touted first.
  • Do: The selected solution or solutions are then implemented, initially starting off on a micro scale. Data is collected for analysis purposes to measure the progress of the implemented changes. The main purpose of the Do stage is to ensure that the proposed solution is fully tested before it can be rolled out fully to the entire system. 
  • Check: The checking stage involves taking the data collected during the Do stage to compare if it matches expected outcomes. The purpose of this is to assess whether the solution was successful and if additional improvements are necessary. Any useful information that can be gathered is recorded and the Do and Check processes are repeated.
  • Act: This phase involves actual implementation after all the pros and cons of potential solutions are laid out, based on the information gathered in Do and Check stages. Any feedback received is also considered. If the solution is not as successful as initially expected, an alternative is then considered. 

Once a workable solution is implemented, it’s time to focus on the next identified urgent areas to improve and the same cycle repeats.

Why should you use CPI?

There are a host of benefits when it comes to using CPI for your brand. These ensure that the quality and integrity of the software is kept at a high level. Here are five key benefits:

  • Quicker feedback: With continuous testing, the development team is able to receive feedback on any issues that require their attention within a short timeframe. By monitoring all stages, early feedback means fewer defects are found in deployed products.
  • Cost reduction: The cost of development can skyrocket unexpectedly if errors are not monitored and resolved timeously. As fewer defects are found within products, there will be a reduction in the back-and-forth between the client and their developers, leading to the costs of development being significantly reduced.
  • Improved quality: Using CPI is one way of ensuring that the quality of the product is improved. The quality assurance process via the back-and-forth of process improvement results in better products with fewer errors. Ultimately, user experience is more pleasant leading to greater customer satisfaction.
  • Faster deployment: One major benefit of CPI is that any updates or upgrades to products can be deployed quickly, while being able to respond to industry changes more efficiently. Automated testing helps to make sure testing is constant and meticulously done. 
  • Better compliance: With continuous testing comes increased employee engagement and collaboration. As the development team becomes aligned to the software improvement process and overall organisational goals, it creates a culture of success and improved morale leading to better compliance.

CPI is a critical element of any software developer team, creating high quality products that stand the test of time while optimising business processes and achieving its goals. Standardisation is thus necessary in terms of implementation best practices.

Each improvement process needs to be thorough to maximise output and returns on investment. At Digital Grind, it's a part of who we are, as CPI and maintenance are implemented in our development projects. 

We strive to ensure that your brand receives quality outputs that are adaptable and enhanced on an ongoing basis according to evolving needs. Start a development project with us. Our team is always ready to listen.


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