PMI-ACP Tools and Techniques: Process Improvement
[PMI-ACP® Exam Study Notes] Process Improvement is one of the ten Tools and Techniques for the PMI-ACP® exam. Process Improvement includes the following toolkits:
- the Five WHYs
- retrospectives, intraspectives
- process tailoring/hybrid models
- value stream mapping
- control limits
- pre-mortem (rule setting, failure analysis)
- fishbone diagram analysis
PMI-ACP® Exam Importance: around 3-6 questions (~5% of all questions)
PMI-ACP® Tools and Techniques: Value Stream Analysis
Value is the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something
- objectives: to provide optimum value flow to customers through value creation processes by eliminating wastes in every process (e.g. design, build, maintenance)
- mainly used for process improvements and root cause analysis
- Value Stream Mapping
- Agile principle: Simplicity – the art of maximizing the amount of work not done – is essential
- Value stream mapping is a graphical tool for analyzing and improving the flow of material (in manufacturing) / information (in software development) take a product or service from its beginning through to the customer (as used in lean manufacturing)
- involves the following steps:
- understand the current state (value stream mapping of the current state)
- analyze and modify (value stream mapping of the future state)
- create a visual map of the value flow of the current state)
- distinguish between value-adding processes and non-value-adding operations (including wastes)
- find delays, wastes and constraints
- create a new value stream map for the desired state with optimization for delays, wastes and constraints
- communicate and carry out the improvements
- make use all team members understanding the values and follow the improvements
- develop a roadmap for implementing the actions to reach the desire state
- verify and validate the improvements
PMI-ACP® Tools and Techniques: The Five WHYs
- The Five WHYs
- a systematic approach to analysing identifying the root cause of a problem / cause-and-effect for the problem or issue
- perform by repeatedly asking the question “Why” for at least 5 times until the root cause has been identified
- imaginary example: Looking for the root cause for failing the PMI-ACP® Exam
- Why did I fail the PMI-ACP® Exam?
– Because I got a lower mark than the passing mark
- Why did I get a lower mark?
– Because I was not sure about the answers to many questions.
- Why was I not sure about the answers to many questions?
– Because I could not remember some facts for the exam.
- Why couldn’t I remember some facts for the exam?
– Because I was not familiar with the PMI-ACP® Exam content.
- Why was I not familiar with the PMI-ACP® Exam content?
– Because I did not spend enough time revising the PMI-ACP® Exam notes.
- Why did I fail the PMI-ACP® Exam?
PMI-ACP® Tools and Techniques: Fishbone Diagram
- Fishbone Diagram
- another tool for carrying out cause and effect analysis to help discover the root cause of a problem or the bottle-necks of processes
- aka cause and effect diagrams/Ishikawa diagrams
- to use Fishbone diagram technique:
- write down the problem/issue as the “fish head” and draw a horizontal line as the “spine” of the fish
- think of major factors (at least four or above) involved in the problem/issue and draw line spinning off from the spine representing each factor
- identify possible causes and draw line spinning off the major factors (your diagram will look like a fishbone now)
- analyze the fishbone diagram to single out the most possible causes to carry out further investigation
PMI-ACP® Tools and Techniques: Process Tailoring
- Agile framework or methodologies are not intended to be “one-size-fit-all”
- the Agile methodology and processes can be altered according to different projects (e.g. in terms of team size, nature, resources, criticality, etc.)
- the adaptation / process tailoring can be raised in the iteration retrospective to be carried out in the next iteration
- Note: Kanban is very tailoring-friendly while Scrum / XP do not recommend tailoring
- However, in the beginning of any projects, it is generally recommended to implement the Agile methodologies as it is for the first few iterations for assessment of the suitability before changes / process tailoring are introduced
- to have better understanding of the values of standard Agile methods and the relationship between different processes of Agile methodologies as some processes are mutually dependent
- It is recommended to follow the Shu-Ha-Ri model (by Alistar Cockburn) if you would like to make changes – Shu-Ha-Ri originates from masters of Japanese Noh theater
- Shu – Obeying the rules
- Ha – Consciously moving away from the rules
- Ri – Unconsciously finding an individual path
Summary: Process Improvement
This PMI-ACP® Exam Study notes touches upon one of the many tools and techniques of the PMI-ACP® exam syllabus – Process Improvement. Process Improvement includes Kaizen, the Five WHYs, retrospectives, intraspectives, process tailoring/hybrid models, value stream mapping, control limits, pre-mortem (rule setting, failure analysis) and fishbone diagram analysis.