On Being a Quality Organization and the Journey to Operational Perfection
Tactis, DC’s leading consumer experience (CX) agency, has for the longest time understood the value of self-evaluation as a means to self-improvement. Looking inward – a process that entails continually questioning, assessing principles and procedures, striving always for that operational ‘sweet spot’ – is a proud part of our modus operandi.
As part of our journey, Tactis made the choice to become an Agile organization. This led to an effort to have the full staff Scrum-certified. Not only did the Agile methodology formalize how our teams already interacted, but also gave us valuable tools to develop solutions that evolve through the collaborative effort of self-organizing cross-functional teams. Becoming Agile was the first step towards setting the baseline on how we were going to undertake customer experience work for our clients moving forward.
The Naked Truth
With Agile in place, and in keeping with our philosophy of self-improvement, we continued to ask: How can we improve on the way we operate? Ultimately, as an organization, we wanted to know if we were producing consistent results, and that we are continually improving, not just at the project level, but across the organization.
Raising the Bar
Tactis began investigating CMMI and ISO certifications as guideposts to what we could do to implement measures to help us more effectively gauge the effectiveness of our work and identify opportunities to improve. We did not want to get in the way of Agile, because that is how we wanted to work, but we wanted to put enough controls in place to make sure there was consistency in how we did the work. CMMI certification was a logical next step.
CMMI – From Ad Hoc to Discipline
The CMMI Model – which stands for Capability Maturity Model Integration – is a proven set of global best practices that drives business performance through building and benchmarking key capabilities. CMMI best practices focus on what needs to be done to improve performance and align operations to business goals. It also provides a roadmap that guides improvement from an ad hoc way of working to a more disciplined and consistent process for achieving business objectives.
An additional benchmark of CMMI is that it requires organizations undergo regular assessments to ensure they are on track and running projects the way we said we would, and to course-correct where necessary. Further, it helps ensure all projects are operating using the same set of standards, and that they are sticking to them. The goal is to become more transparent as an organization, and to learn from other projects. Ultimately, it’s about having a baseline that we can use to measure against – and thereby improve – the outcomes we deliver both to our clients and to ourselves.
Tactis’s next step was to achieve not one, but two important ISO certifications. The first – ISO9001 (Information Technology Service Management) – specifies the requirements for a Quality Management System when an organization:
Would like to demonstrate its ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements
Aims to enhance customer satisfaction through the effective application of the system, including processes for improvement of the system and the assurance of conformity to customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.
The second – ISO20000-1 (Information Technology Service Management) – is similar to CMMI but hits on a broader set of requirements. It specifies requirements for the service provider to plan, establish, implement, operate, monitor, review, maintain and improve an SMS.
Why is this Helpful?
At Tactis, our end-goal is to ensure that we deliver consistency in the work that we do, and to be predictable from one engagement to the next in terms of the experience that the brands who work with us have. Moreover, the fact that we are independently assessed on these matters is also crucial. It creates a level of confidence for our management team and clients and creates more clarity in terms of expectations and accountability for all – from ‘the person putting their fingers on the keyboard, to the president of the organization.’
Tactis is a full lifecycle customer experience agency working for organizations across all points of communication, combining human touch with digital expertise to create outcomes that matter. By delivering high-touch solutions that span marketing, technology, and human interactions – through leveraging data and embracing technology – Tactis generates transformational customer experiences that ensure companies own the high-expectation, high-attention moments from which truly human experiences can emerge. For more information visit www.tactis.com.