An underlying theory is a framework of goals, solutions, and assumptions that guide how we observe situations and define problems. In science, the underlying theories, like particles, waves, relativity, plate tectonics, and evolution, are well known and well understood. In process improvement, the underlying theories are not so well understood. To address that problem, we present a system of patterns. The system includes six patterns for theories that underlie many of the well known practices in process improvement. The patterns are Plan, Best Practices, Flow, Feedback, Systems Thinking, and Living System. These patterns are found in ISO 9000, PMBOK, CMMI, SPICE, Lean, TQM, Six Sigma, and Agile. Like all patterns, the patterns in this system are structural configurations that solve a problem in a context.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/michael-vanhilst/8/