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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.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.

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

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.

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..

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

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

BOM Bill Of Material

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 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.

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.

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