Continual Improvement or kaizen

26 April,2014 by Tom Collins

There is an assumption that when a product or service  is delivered , the product or service is in its perfect end – state. In most IT organisations this assumption can lead to negativity and frustration .   The reality is often different – personnel have changed, budgets changed, requirements have changed. A change in mentality can lead to small but regular improvements.

A more enlightened  or realistic view is to accept that feedback will return information leading to an improvement of the process.  The formal discipline is called Continual improvement process. Some of it’s principles include a) self reflection  of process b) minimise\eliminate suboptimal processes c) incremental improvements

A similar process in Japan is called kaizen. Kaizen focuses on feedback from workers , and encouragers workers to become more efficient and effective in their work. Leading to ownership, team work and a higher level of motivation

I find these ideas interesting. They imply a sense of openness and transperancy – where it is assumed issues arise as infrastructure changes . Noting ever works optimally, because everything is changing. Assume failure and Resiliency testing assumes everything fails  and is part of the process

As a DBA – there is always room for improvement. Data sets are changing , underlying infrastructure is an state of flux and budgets change  regularly.

I’ve tried recently to set aside some time every day and reflect on ways to improve my work. Here are some ideas

1) Automate !!! - SQL Server DBA Top 10 automation tasks

2) Focus on exceptions  Exception based reporting

3) Not everything should be monitored  Database server : Monitoring versus reporting

4) Time management  DBA and the end of time management

5) Do more by doing less - DBA productivity and less is more


Author: Tom Collins (


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