The Evolutionary Process Of Continuous Improvement

Posted by anthillsoftwareleeds in Insights - Last updated

Adopting a process of continuous improvement is table stakes for aspirational organisations.

Over the past 20 years, countless household names, previously seen as untouchable, have fallen foul of more dynamic upstarts.

Think Netflix and Blockbuster. Missguided and Topshop. Apple and Blackberry.

“Implementing a process of continuous improvement in an organisation should be standard practice.”


They took the opportunities whilst the established industry leaders remained static.

As such, they weren’t leaders for much longer.

It was an inability to adapt, and a lack of continuous improvement that proved to be their ultimate downfall.

There’s a lesson there for any organisation, irrespective of industry.

To stay ahead of the competitor curve, you must be constantly reviewing and revising your operations.

Adopting A Process Of Continuous Improvement

When it comes to improving, most companies recognise the requirement, but fall down on the application.

Either trying to do too much at once, or acting too quickly without consideration for the implications of change.

Incremental tweaks, rather than total process overhauls, are the way forward.

Not only are they more manageable, they allow for organisational quirks and unaccounted roadblocks to emerge before a new approach is rolled out company wide.

“Large changes often feel frightening and destabilising to organisations.

By approaching change in small, incremental steps, the continuous improvement model reduces the fear factor and increases speed to improvement.”


In theory, a process of continuous improvement is easy to understand.

However, in order to make a meaningful difference, evolution must be iterative. With scope for scaling and repetition.

There is limited use in annual reviews. Responses must be swift and data must be live.

Otherwise, critical revenue defining decisions are being made on outdated information.

To adopt a process of continuous improvement, you must be open to tweaking as and when changes are required.

It is a mentality shift on an organisational scale; not a flash in the pan when it’s already too late.

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Plan, Do, Check, Act

So how to initiate a process of continuous improvement?

There are several schools of thought, yet many revolve around the principles defined by Shewhart and Deming.

Their straightforward thesis consists of 4 simple steps:

Shewhart & Deming Cycle: Plan, Do, Check, Act.


In the “planning” phase, you need to establish which process is the focus of your efforts.

Likewise, you need to define what success in this particular part of your operation looks like.

Without a singular focus, and an ultimate aim, you run the risk of your efforts being wasted.

Once you have your project and goals ironed out, it’s time to “do”.

This is where you execute your plans to give your new approach a real-world test run.

After your project has run its course, you need to “check” back on achievements versus expectations.

This review stage is arguably the most critical of all.

If your analysis suggests overall enhancements, you can look to widen the roll out. If you haven’t achieved what you set out to, consider where further revisions could be made to optimise performance.

Last of all, it’s time to “act”.

You’ve created your ideal process, tested it’s application and tweaked where necessary. Now the time has to come to put theory into practice.

But don’t forget to continue reviewing. A process of continuous improvement is, by it’s very nature, never complete.

“By noticing and celebrating the small wins you achieve along the way, you can keep everyone engaged whilst proving the positive impact of installing the new process.”

How To Make Your Team Follow A Consistent Process

Entice your colleagues to buy into continuous improvement by regularly showcasing precisely how it will help them.

Once the benefits have been made clear, instigating continuous evolution becomes significantly easier.

Benefits Of Continuous Improvement

Speaking of the benefits, it would be remiss to ignore the “why” of adopting a process of continuous improvement.

In truth, the benefits are almost endless. Not only are you improving internally, you’re moulding your organisation to better serve your customers.

Combined, these two forces become irresistible.

By adopting a process of continuous improvement, you facilitate:

  • Increased productivity.
  • Enhanced teamwork.
  • Greater agility.
  • Less waste.
  • More efficiency.
  • Increased customer satisfaction.
  • Increased ROI.
  • Improved clarity and visibility at scale.

It’s time to invest in your future success. It’s time to invest in continuous improvement.

Updated 21/7/2022

Ready to explore how Anthill can help you embrace a process of continuous improvement? Schedule a demo today.

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