Philosophy

Within the context of the core values of Improvement Focus, our activities are directed by our philosophy.

The customer is the owner of the change

A customer’s involvement within change programmes is crucial. It is one of the success factors. Making the customer the owner of the change ensures the customer’s involvement. We ask the customer for visible commitment to the change programme and we monitor this commitment during the programme. If necessary, we ask for corrective action to be undertaken.
In practice, this means that customers provide internal employees to support an implementation team. These employees are able to devote a substantial part of their time to the programme. Other responsibilities, e.g. daily responsibilities, are then delegated elsewhere.

Using situational coaching to achieve fast results

Each culture change programme requires a specific, tailor-made approach. The approach depends on the initial starting situation, the goals of the organisation and the current culture. One of the elements of our approach is coaching the change team of the customer. To support this, we have a model of situational coaching available to us. Our experience has shown that a tailor-made coaching approach culminates in the best and fastest results.

The result consists of unlocking potential

The result of a change programme consists of unlocking potential that can be expressed as a set of new capabilities. Designing an organisation to maintain the implemented change is part of the scope of the change programme.

More psychology and sociology than technology

The technology of a culture change programme is made up of documented processes. That is “the easy 10%”. This yields a “handbook” that, without further actions, will be put on a shelf and never looked at again. The “hard 90%” is the actual implementation of real change in what employees want and do and to institutionalize this into the organisation’s culture.
Culture change takes a long time. Nevertheless, it is important to show intermediate results, if only to maintain management commitment. Therefore, we believe it is important to work in small steps, delivering concrete results.

Freedom in restraint

We believe in standardisation of work processes, because we have seen and experienced this in practice. The required level of detail of standardisation is context dependent. Too much detail leads to bureaucracy, impeding business goals. Too little detail leads to too much freedom and ultimately, in no true standardisation at all.

Improvement Focus enables and then retreats to the background

The customer develops a new set of capabilities, in close cooperation with Improvement Focus. Improvement Focus trains the customer in the use and maintenance of the new capabilities. After this, Improvement Focus retreats to the background, having become superfluous.

Strategy

The strategy has a strong focus on customer intimacy. This means that we try to understand our customers completely: their interests, needs, etc. In consultation with our customers we can offer solutions that contribute to furthering their interests. The interests of our customers are typically focused on operational excellence.

Improvement Focus gives further content to its mission by employing highly educated and trained consultants, having knowledge of and experience with change programmes and familiarity with the customer’s line of business.

All Improvement Focus employees invest 10% of their time in further training and product development. This 10% is mostly taken invested during periods with limited customer involvement (such as holiday periods). These training courses include training on the reference models used, communication techniques as presentation and training skills, and overall business developments. Product development is based on the set of services that constitute Improvement Focus’s mission.

Improvement Focus cooperates with other organisations that operate in the field of improvement of software development organisations. To do this, we maintain our contacts and carefully guard our reputation.

Improvement Focus has developed a change management approach that is partly based on existing theory and has been tailored towards software development organisations, using best practices from our experience as input. This approach is continuously being improved.

Employees of Improvement Focus give regular presentations at several conferences, such as the Spider Conference, SEPG Europe and at academic institutes. Using this, we share our knowledge with the community, we keep learning, and we maintain our network. We also regularly publish articles in periodicals.

Improvement Focus develops measurement techniques for process adoption. Cooperation with the American Software Engineering Institute helps us to further contribute to the development of our field.

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