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Process Improvement in Practice: A Handbook for IT Companies

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Faster – better – cheaper. This is the challenge that software companies face every day. How to meet customer expectations in a world where continuously changing environments, organizations and technology is the rule rather than the exception.

One way to meet these challenges is to share knowledge and experience – use what others have already learnt. This may seem self-evident, but experience shows that a lot of people struggle to get started. A lot of good books have been written on the principles and theories behind for example total quality management, change management and knowledge management.

What makes this book different from the others is that this book is a practical handbook. It is intended for small and medium-sized software companies that develop software – and that need some help to get started with systematic improvement work.

The handbook is filled with useful hints and examples to help leaders and employees to get started quickly. There is not much theory in this book.

This handbook is made to help project leaders and project participants in small and medium-sized software organizations to improve the work practices in their own company.

Here, you will find practical information on what you need to know to get started with and implement improvements in your organization.

The improvement process and techniques described in the book are adapted to software organizations from the principle of total quality management and continuous improvement

The handbook gives you an introduction to basic principles for knowledge and learning in software companies, it describes a detailed improvement process based on experiential learning, it describes how measurement and process assessment can be integrated into the improvement process, and it includes a section of techniques that can be helpful in the practical improvement work. References to these techniques are marked in italics, for example: brainstorming.

Before we start with some of the more detailed descriptions, we will take a short look at some basic terms, look at the advantages of process improvement and give some hints on how you might get started.
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