1.4. Moving Forward
Every day we can see how process helps businesses build business. Successful banks balance their portfolios of risky loans and secured loans using proven processes, ones that mitigate risk, provide for flexibility, and, in the end, average out in the plus column. Builders of tract homes rely on what they call "packages": highly reliable inventories of what goes into entry and mid-priced houses. The Big Mac you get at a McDonald's in Knoxville tastes exactly like the one you'd get in San Diego. That's because McDonald's has worked out a stable process for putting Big Macs together. You can purchase a Dodge Neona machine that consists of over 12,000 integrated componentsfor under $12,000 and expect to drive it for over 100,000 miles. Daimler Chrysler has meticulously engineered a detailed process that can bring those 12,000 components together in a highly predictable way.
Process works. And process can work in your technology organization, too. You'll find that with processeven light, malleable processyour planning becomes more accurate, your estimates are more dependable, and your expectations tend to remain aligned with those of your client. There are many other benefits in implementing process, and I'll take a look at these in Chapter 2.
You have taken a smart step in moving forward. The processes contained in programs like ISO 9001:2000, CMMI, and Six Sigma are proven to deliver distinct benefits, whether you're designing software, integrating systems, building components, or architecting solutions. Acquiring a good, beginning understanding of process improvement and of these three widely recognized programs will help you establish a process program in your organization that moves you toward your goals of quality, predictability, efficiency, and success.