Sunday, 10 June 2007

Great Value Toolkit For Process Improvement Projects

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Quality Companion from Minitab

I wanted to tell you about a new piece of software I have been playing with and that has impressed me greatly. Those that know me will know that tools in the process space do not easily impress me!

If you have not already come across it yet, then I would advise you to take a look at Quality Companion 2 from Minitab Software. Minintab are most widely known for being the de facto standard for statistical analysis in Six Sigma. This new(ish) product has a more universal applicability and provides a whole host of features that make it very useful to anyone working in the BPM or Process Improvement arena.

But, before discussing the tool, it is worth mentioning just how low the cost of the product is. Depending on the number of licenses you need the price varies from £180.00 to £280 per user, a price that makes it easy to provide copies for all members of the team.

In terms of tools contained in the product I am only going to focus on the ones that might apply outside the Six Sigma arena.

On the organizational side of things the product comes with: Presentation Tools, Project Roadmaps, Project Charters and, Project Prioritization.

Then we move onto an amazing list of techniques/tools for the actual project work these include: Process mapping, Brainstorming, Cause & Effect, Balloting, SIPOC, Value Stream Map Comparisons, Stakeholder Analysis, Project Risk Assessment, Financial Analysis and Control Plans.

Quality Companion 2 also comes pre-packaged with a set of "coaches" to help guide you through the "how to" in using the various tools and techniques. However, in larger organizations will tend to write or create their own "cookbook" or methodology and this is where Quality Companion really scores highly by allowing you to write your own hints, tips and coaches and attach them to each of the techniques.. This customization should make it very easy to adapt the product to suit your environment.

It may just be me, but I found the tool very intuitive and easy to use. It seems to be one of those tools that you really can just pick up and run with.

Of course the process mapping can't match the best of the modeling tools, but then again those tools would probably struggle to compete with breadth/focus and ease of use. Of course modeling tools also struggle to compete on price. The nearest price competitor has to be Visio and I would say that Quality Companion offers better value for those working on process projects.

All the while I was using Quality Companion I was struggling to classify the product, it seems to offer "light" functionality from a whole number of areas including Modeling, Project Planning and Management, Analysis, Presentation. The light being in reference to the fact that they seem to have extracted the most relevant pieces and left some of the "bloat-ware" behind?

If you want to take a look and see just how easy it is to use then you can get a free trial here

1 comment:

Lean Six Sigma Training said...

Good blog.....

Keep up the hard work!