Continuous improvement (ci) originates from the Japanese notion of kaizen, which means ‘change for better’. This process aims to find new ways to enhance efficiency throughout operations.
This entails evaluating existing processes and services to find how to optimise output while minimising waste. Today, continuous improvement is adopted by businesses across many sectors. Those adopting this philosophy are eager to discover cost-effective solutions and improve their software development practices.
As its name suggests, continuous improvement does not have an end point. It is very much an ongoing process that employees should gradually adopt into their day-to-day tasks. This transition should be embraced as an opportunity for innovation and collaboration.
Due to rapid technological advances and an increase in digital transformation providers, technology supporting continuous improvement programmes has become more accessible.
Teams are also more adapted for continuous improvement processes as a result of the development of working methodologies. For example, an agile approach uses an iterative approach, which is comparable to the central principle of continuous improvement.
How organisations unite these two areas under continuous improvement is the key to efficiency and successful operations. This article will identify some of the key benefits that continuous improvement can bring throughout projects.
Technology facilitates improvement
Continuous improvement and technology share a common node for reducing complexity. Both areas, as such, aim to uncover better working techniques through innovation. As internal processes become more complicated and old methodologies become inefficient, digitally adapted continuous improvement frameworks are required.
As hybrid-working becomes the norm, these requirements become even more important. Distributed teams need tools that allow them to readily access data and seamlessly collaborate with colleagues.
Here is where cloud computing technology can facilitate continuous improvement. These systems make data widely accessible to users, which provides greater visibility of data for team members. This technology also ensures that team members can work in collaboration wherever they may be. This accessibility means that teams can quickly examine any issues that occur and evaluate the available solutions.
There are cases where artificial intelligence is drastically helping these processes too. AI empowers development teams to assist them to read and analyse large amounts of data quickly. This has the potential to help teams examine their processes more efficiently.
Using prior outcomes and additional variables, AI could predict how probable changes would influence an organisation in the future. Research shows that 54% of all improvements improve product quality overall. This finding shows that the ability to spot and resolve potential bottlenecks is crucial to project success.
Teams improve and transform
Continuous improvement without human intelligence can only be so successful. An over dependence on technology can sever employees' understanding of processes. A lack of knowledge in this area then reduces the ability to make improvements.
Opportunities for continuous improvement are beneficial to teams, not merely because they benefit the entire organisation. It also motivates employees to do the kind of hard work that propels transformation and innovation forward. To help enhance buy-in to these improvement initiatives, it’s critical to communicate this value at a team level.
By its nature, continuous improvement requires change. This could prove to be particularly fruitful for employees with repetitive workloads. Opportunities for improvement offer respite from this grind and opens the door to innovation.
Undergoing these developments also allows for short-term goals to be formulated. These goals inspire teams to accomplish things that they might not do in their normal responsibilities.
In any case, continuous improvement allows team members to strengthen their abilities by working through necessary changes to a product.
In addition, continuous improvement creates an open communication atmosphere. Improvement entails change which is, in turn, fuelled by suggestions and criticism. People are more willing to speak up when a team is clearly striving to improve.
Technology can improve working processes, but these benefits can only be realised when integrated into an innovative culture with teams who are motivated to improve.
Unifying these areas — people and processes — under a framework of technology will ensure that the project's value and ROI are increased.
Iteration leads to innovation
Iterative development acts as the glue that binds teams and technology together. Continuous improvement involves a culture change. The key to its success, therefore, comes from working with an approach that compliments your working culture.
Under an agile approach, software development meshes easily with continuous improvement processes. The focus on ongoing feedback loops and releases, in particular, aids functionality, whilst reducing issues before they escalate.
Being agile will allow you to effectively respond to unexpected developments in your project and reach solutions faster. The ability to adapt to changes — in working environments, markets or client requirements — ensures competitive advantage.
In projects, for example, the requirements will have often changed by the time you've finished developing a project or process. That's why a more incremental approach, which can be iterated over time, is more beneficial.
This iteration phase will also give teams additional visibility into the earlier stages of development. This access means that they can better evaluate success, drawbacks and anything else that can impact long-term objectives.
Crucially, companies should emphasise the value of continuous improvement and incorporate it into each stage of their working processes. Teams should form an intimate understanding of these processes and the technology that supports them. As they do, organisations will begin to see the full benefits of continuous improvement — in productivity, performance and much more.
Audacia is a trusted software development company in the UK who has helped organisations across sectors to deliver digital transformation initiatives that are underpinned by continuous improvement.
Interested in finding out more about your organisation could benefit? Get in touch with us today on 0113 543 1300, or email email@example.com.