Chicago Software Process Improvement Network

(C-SPIN) Meeting

Thursday, August 2, 2001

Process Improvement Infrastructure in a Large IT Organization


Margaret Lakins



Within large organizations, process improvement efforts often have a difficult time getting off the ground. And when they get off the ground, many times they have to make an emergency landing. At SBC-Ameritech, mergers, changes in management priorities, and process-improvement halts all have thwarted past process improvement initiatives. Within the past year, the SEPG has taken a different approach to process improvement. And this year, two groups within SBC have been assessed at CMM Level 2. One contributor to this success is the new process improvement infrastructure, which has helped to overcome some of these obstacles. This presentation focuses on how process improvement efforts have been organized (a central process improvement organization with distributed process and quality assurance groups) and the philosophy of the process hierarchy (a thin common layer "what" and local practice "hows"). This talk provides some suggestions on how to approach process improvement in large organizations.


Margaret Lakins has over 21 years of software development, software management, and process improvement experience, most of which was gained in the defense industry in embedded systems development. For the last five years, she has been involved in the IT process improvement effort at SBC-Ameritech.