Improvement Process Team

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The improvement process team will drive quality improvement within your company. Quality improvement activities include solving problems, corrective action, audit issues, defects, process issues, system issues, administration issues, etc. Improvement teams are important to quality assurance and ISO 9001 certification

Most problems cannot be solved by one person alone. Rarely does one person have enough knowledge, skills, and experience to understand all process related issues. Major gains in improvement come from teams.

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What is a team?

An improvement process team is a group of people pooling their knowledge, skills, and experience to tackle problems and deliver effective and permanent corrective action.

Continuous improvement teams are usually cross functional. Members of the team are stakeholders. Each member needs the problem to be solved. Each member desires the improvement.

Normally, senior management identifies the important larger problems or work process to change. The process improvement team isolates the detailed problems needed for improvement and forms actions to solve those problems.

The success or failure of a continuous improvement team has significant impact on the organization as most projects are highly visible. Teams deliver permanent solutions to those problems.

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Improvement Process Team Members

  • Team Leader: Runs the team, facilitates the meeting, and handles logistics

  • Quality Expert: Trained in CI tools and statistics. Understands team dynamics and helps keep the team on target

  • Scribe: Takes notes and tracks action items

  • Team Members: Stakeholders who have change influence. They work closely with the process or problem. The team project is now part of their job. Completes assignments from the team meetings.

Top Management Commitment

  • must determine the team goal(s)
  • provides the resources
  • selects the team members
  • nominates the team leader and quality expert
  • allows for team time
  • pushes, pulls, enforces, and insists the team actions are completed throughout the organization
  • monitors team’s progress
  • forces the team to stay on target

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Improvement Process Team Guidelines

  • follow an agenda
  • have a facilitator
  • take minutes
  • allow no disruptions
  • assign action items and responsibilities
  • evaluate meeting efficiency


Create the agenda from the previous meeting's minutes. Send the agenda to the team prior to the next meeting. Usually the team leader is responsible for the agenda. The agenda covers

  • topics
  • presenters
  • time guidelines
  • break information
  • meeting evaluation

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The facilitator keeps the team focus, on target, and moving forward. The facilitator allows for everyone to contribute and prevents members from dominating the meeting. The facilitator keeps the team on the agenda and follows the time guidelines.


The scribe takes the meeting's minutes and tracks the team member action items. These are important because team members may need to be reminded of previously discussed items. I recommend using a responsibility chart to track the action items.

The scribe copies items from a chalk board or flip chart. If possible, a scribe uses a laptop and types information as the meeting progresses. Use the minutes to create next the meeting's agenda.

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No Disruptions

Conduct only one meeting. Do not have side meetings. People in the room should leave for emergency reasons only. Set cell phones off or on vibrate.

Start and end the meeting on time. If people are late let them know the importance of the meeting. If people are constantly late, you could implement a pay for lateness system. Those that are late pay a certain amount to the pot.

Assign Action items and responsibilities

Conduct the meeting such that people volunteer for the action items. The action items needs to be specific and realistic. Assign a due date for the action item. In some cases it may take more than one person to complete the assignment. Assign one person as responsible for the action item's completion and the others as support. 

I recommend using a responsibility chart to track the action items. It is available for download by subscribing to QA Solutions E-zine 

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Meeting Evaluation

At the end of the meeting, have the team evaluate the meeting. How can the next meeting be improved? What went wrong with this meeting? This helps the facilitator and team members conduct a more productive meeting during the next meeting.

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