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BACKGROUND VARIABLES Variables which are of no experimental interest and are not held constant. Their effects are often assumed insignificant or negligible, or they are randomized to ensure that contamination of the primary response does not occur. 

Balanced Scorecard A framework which translates a company's vision and strategy into a coherent set of performance measures. Developed by Robert Kaplan and David Norton (published in the Harvard Business Review in 1993), a balanced business scorecard helps businesses evaluate how well they meet their strategic objectives. It typically has four to six components, each with a series of sub-measures. Each component highlights one aspect of the business. The balanced scorecard includes measures of performance that are lagging (return on capital, profit), medium-term indicators (like customer satisfaction indices) and leading indicators (such as adoption rates for, or revenue from, new products). 

Baldrige Award Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award: An annual award given to a United States company that excels in quality management and quality achievement. [Same as MBNA.] 

Bar chart A chart that compares different groups of data to each other through the use of bars that represent each group. Bar charts can be simple, in which each group of data consists of a single type of data, or grouped or stacked, in which the groups of data are broken down into internal categories.

Baseline - The current condition that exists in a situation or representation (model) of a situation. Usually used to differentiate between a current and a future representation.

Baseline A specification or product that has been formally reviewed and agreed upon, that serves as the basis for further development, and that can be changed only through formal change control procedures.

Baseline The current condition that exists in a situation. Usually used to differentiate between a current and a future representation. 

Baselining: obtaining data on the current process that provide the metrics against which to compare improvements and to use in benchmarking.

BAT Best Available Technology

Batch A definite quantity of some product or material produced under conditions that are considered uniform.

Batch Pertaining to a system or mode of operation in which inputs are collected and processed all at one time, rather than being processed as they arrive, and a job, once started, proceeds to completion without additional input or user interaction. Contrast with conversational, interactive, on-line, real time.

Batch processing Execution of programs serially with no interactive processing. Contrast with real time processing.

Benchmark A standard against which measurements or comparisons can be made.

Benchmark Data The results of an investigation to determine how competitors and/or best in class companies achieve their level of performance. 

Benchmark: a measurement or standard that serves as a point of reference by which process performance is measured.

Benchmarking A continuous process of measurement of products, services and work processes, against those recognized as leaders.

Benchmarking A method of measuring processes against those of recognized leaders to establish priorities and targets leading to process improvement. It is undertaken by identifying strategies, customers, processes and costs to benchmark and their key characteristics; determining who to benchmark; collecting and analyzing data from direct contact, survey, interviews, technical journals and advertisements; determining the "best of class" from each benchmark item identified; and evaluating the process in terms of improvement goals. 

Benchmarking A technique that involves comparing one's own processes to excellent examples of similar processes in other organizations or departments. Through benchmarking, rapid learning can occur, and processes can undergo dramatic improvements.

Benchmarking: a structured approach for identifying the best practices from industry and government, and comparing and adapting them to the organization's operations. Such an approach is aimed at identifying more efficient and effective processes for achieving intended results, and suggesting ambitious goals for program output, product/service quality, and process improvement..

Benchmarking: performance comparison of organizational business processes against an internal or external standard of recognized leaders. Most often the comparison is made against a similar process in another organization considered "world class."

Best practice - A way or method of accomplishing a business function or process that is considered to be superior to all other known methods.

Best Practice A way or method of accomplishing a business function or process that is considered to be superior to all other known methods. 

BETA RISK The probability of accepting the null hypothesis when, in reality, the alternate hypothesis is true. 

Bias A systematic error, which contributes to the difference between a population mean of measurements or test results and an accepted reference value.

Bill of Activity - BOA. A structured listing of the sequence of activities performed to produce a unit of a product or service. Similar in concept to a bill of materials (BOM), which is a structured list of the components of a product.

Bill of Material Total list of all components/materials required to manufacture the product. 

Black Belt A leadership structure for Six sigma process improvement teams. Black Belts are highly regarded, technically oriented product or line personnel who have an ability to lead teams as well as to advise management.

Black Belt The leader of the team responsible for applying the Six Sigma process. 

Black-box testing(1) Testing that ignores the internal mechanism or structure of a system or component and focuses on the outputs generated in response to selected inputs and execution conditions. (2) Testing conducted to evaluate the compliance of a system or component with specified functional requirements and corresponding predicted results. Syn. functional testing, input/output driven testing. Contrast with white-box testing.

Block Diagram The block diagram is a simple pictorial representation of a system/sub systems linked to illustrate the relationships between components/subsystems 

BLOCKING VARIABLES A relatively homogenous set of conditions within which different conditions of the primary variables are compared. Used to ensure that background variables do not contaminate the evaluation of primary variables.

BOM Bill Of Material 

Boolean Pertaining to the principles of mathematical logic developed by George Boole, a nineteenth century mathematician. Boolean algebra is the study of operations carried out on variables that can have only one of two possible values, i.e., 1 (true) and 0 (false). As ADD, MULTIPLY, and DIVIDE are the primary operations of arithmetic, AND, OR, and NOT are the primary operations of Boolean Logic.

Boundary Beginning or end point of a process that will be the focus of a process improvement effort. Best stated in a well developed Mission Statement

Boundary value analysis A selection technique in which test data are chosen to lie along "boundaries" of the input domain [or output range] classes, data structures, procedure parameters, etc. Choices often include maximum, minimum, and trivial values or parameters. 

boundary value(1) (IEEE) A data value that corresponds to a minimum or maximum input, internal, or output value specified for a system or component. (2) A value which lies at, or just inside or just outside a specified range of valid input and output values.

Brainstorming A method to get ideas from persons who are potential contributors. No criticism or discussion of ideas is allowed until all the ideas are recorded. The ideas are critically reviewed after the brainstorming session.

Brainstorming A tool used to encourage creative thinking and new ideas. A group formulates and records as many ideas as possible concerning a certain subject, regardless of the content of the ideas. No discussion, evaluation, or criticism of ideas is allowed until the brainstorming session is complete.

BRAINSTORMING An idea generating technique built on the assumptions that two heads are better than one, and a group of people working together will come up with more and better ideas.

Branch An instruction which causes program execution to jump to a new point in the program sequence, rather than execute the next instruction. Syn: jump.

Branch analysis (Myers) A test case identification technique which produces enough test cases such that each decision has a true and a false outcome at least once. Contrast with path analysis.

Branch coverage (NBS) A test coverage criteria which requires that for each decision point each possible branch be executed at least once. Syn: decision coverage. Contrast with condition coverage, multiple condition coverage, path coverage, statement coverage. 

Breakthrough thinking A management technique which emphasizes the development of new, radical approaches to traditional constraints, as opposed to incremental or minor changes in thought that build on the original approach.

Bug A fault in a program which causes the program to perform in an unintended or unanticipated manner. See: anomaly, defect, error, exception, fault.

Bulk Materials Are products that do not have the characteristics of formed parts when received, but which become part of the product during the manufacturing process. 

Business Architecture Modernization (BAM, formerly called SBPR a contract vehicle sponsored by the Department of Defense. The contract provides business process reengineering support services focused on the higher order strategic and management assessment functions. Reengineering services include fully qualified BPR experts with functional knowledge in all aspects of process engineering, state of the art analytical tools and time tested methodologies for comprehensive process improvement. 

Business case - A structured proposal for business process improvement that functions as a decision package for enterprise leadership. A business case includes an analysis of business process needs or problems, proposed solution, assumptions and constraints, alternatives, life cycle costs, benefits/cost analysis, and investment risk analysis. Within DoD, a business case is called a Functional Economic Analysis (FEA).

Business process - A collection of activities that work together to produce a defined set of products and services. All business processes in an enterprise exist to fulfill the mission of the enterprise. Business processes must be related in some way to mission objectives.

Business Process Improvement (BPI) - The betterment of an organization's business practices through the analysis of activities to reduce or eliminate non-value added activities or costs, while at the same time maintaining or improving quality, productivity, timeliness, or other strategic or business purposes as evidenced by measures of performance. Also called functional process improvement.

Business Process Improvement The betterment of an organization's business practices through the analysis of activities to reduce or eliminate non value added activities or costs, while at the same time maintaining or improving quality, productivity, timeliness, or other strategic or business purposes as evidenced by measures of performance. Also called Functional Process Improvement. 

Business Process Redesign or Reengineering A management method which stresses the fundamental rethinking of processes, questioning all assumptions, in an effort to streamline organizations, and to focus on adding value in core processes.

Business Process Redesign: changing activities or subprocesses within a process, most often removing steps which do not add value or combining similar activities to simplify the process and make it more efficient.

Business Process Reengineering (BPR) A structured approach by all or part of an enterprise to improve the value of its products and services while reducing resource requirements. The transformation of a business process to achieve significant levels of improvement in one or more performance measures relating to fitness for purpose, quality, cycle time, and cost by using the techniques of streamlining and removing added activities and costs. 

Business Process Reengineering: a radical improvement approach that critically examines, rethinks, and redesigns mission-delivery processes and subprocesses, achieving dramatic mission performance gains from multiple customer and stakeholder perspectives

Business Process Reengineering: a systematic disciplined improvement approach that critically examines, rethinks, and redesigns mission-delivery processes and subprocesses within a process management approach. In a political environment, the approach achieves radical mission performance gains in meeting customer and stakeholder needs and expectations.

Business Process: a collection of related, structured activities -- a chain of events -- that produces a specific service or product for a particular customer or customers.



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