Performance improvement

Performance improvement is measuring the output of a particular business process or procedure, then modifying the process or procedure to increase the output, increase efficiency, or increase the effectiveness of the process or procedure. Performance improvement can be applied to either individual performance such as an athlete or organizational performance such as a racing team or a commercial business.

In organizational development, performance improvement is organizational change in which the managers and governing body of an organization put into place and manage a program which measures the current level of performance of the organization and then generates ideas for modifying organizational behavior and infrastructure which are put into place to achieve higher output. The primary goals of organizational improvement are to increase organizational effectiveness and efficiency to improve the ability of the organization to deliver goods and or services. A third area sometimes targeted for improvement is organizational efficacy, which involves the process of setting organizational goals and objectives.

Performance improvement at the operational or individual employee level usually involves processes such as statistical quality control. At the organizational level, performance improvement usually involves softer forms of measurement such as customer satisfaction surveys which are used to obtain qualitative information about performance from the viewpoint of customers.

The United States Coast Guard has published the Performance Improvement Guide (PIG), which describes various processes and tools for performance management at the individual and organizational levels.

Performance is a measure of the results achieved. Performance efficiency is the ratio between effort expended and results achieved. The difference between current performance and the theoretical performance limit is the performance improvement zone.

Another way to think of performance improvement is to see it as improvement in four potential areas. First are the resource input requirements (e.g., reduced working capital, material, replacement or reorder time, and set-up requirements). Second, is the THROUGHPUT requirements, often viewed as process efficiency; this is measured in terms of time, waste, and resource utilization. Third, OUTPUT requirements, often viewed from a cost/price, quality, functionality perspective. Fourth, OUTCOME requirements, did it end up making a difference.

Performance is an abstract concept and must be represented by concrete, measurable phenomena or events to be measured. Baseball athlete performance is abstract covering many different types of activities. Batting average is a concrete measure of a particular performance attribute for a particular game role, batting, for the game of baseball.

Performance assumes an actor of some kind but the actor could be an individual person or a group of people acting in concert. The performance platform is the infrastructure or devices used in the performance act.

There are two main ways to improve performance: improving the measured attribute by using the performance platform more effectively, or by improving the measured attribute by modifying the performance platform, which in turn allows a given level of use to be more effective in producing the desired output.

For instance, in several sports such as tennis and golf, there have been technological improvements in the apparatuses used in these sports. The improved apparatus in turn allows players to achieve better performance with no improvement in skill by purchasing new equipment. The apparatus, the golf club and golf ball or the tennis racket, provide the player with a higher theoretical performance limit.

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