Manging improvements in increments

03 January 2021

It is easy to jump into a new project and either accidentally fail by trying to change everything at once. The better strategy is to make big changes through a series of small increments. The insight here is: during the lifetime of a project you will learn more about it and become better equipped to make decisions, at the beginning without a project is when you have the least information and in the worst position to make big decisions.

While there are a number of great reasons for working in smaller increments: easier to make decisions, each decision is smaller more informed decisions, more easily incorporate new information The biggest reason for me is knowing forward progress is being made. With large changes all at once, it can sometimes be unclear if forward is still the direction the project is going in.

There are 3 models that can help with incremental improvements


OODA is an Observe-Orient-Decide-Act loop, which originated in the United States Air Force and was adopted more broadly. The model uses 4 steps in a loop:

  • Observe, gather information
  • Orient, analyze information
  • Decide, make a decision
  • Action, execute the decision


DMAIC comes from six sigma and stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control: Define, pronounce the business problem and goal

  • Measure, get a baseline
  • Analyze, select the root cause
  • Improve, implement a solution
  • Control, keep the changes

IITL Continuous Improvement Model

ITIL which stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library has a continuous improvement model within its teachings. The model is 6 steps that break down into questions and actions:

  • What is the vision? Business vision, mission, goals, and objectives
  • Where are we now? Perform baseline assessments
  • Where do we want to be? Define measurable targets
  • How do we get there? Define the improvement plan
  • Take action Execute improvements plan
  • How did we get there? Evaluate metrics and KPIs