Process improvement is a waste of time 1

Why are practices (good, bad or indifferent) used by people in organisations?

Stupid question perhaps - it's far too open for a reasoned answer isn't it? But I ask it because when I get involved in 'software process improvement' assignments, the reasons why things are 'the way they are' reflect external drivers and constraints, the underlying problems in the organisation, and the culture and personalities involved. But why are these important? (Now that is a stupid question. Rhetorical of course.)

The most common reasons for improving testing are to reduce the number of production failures, to speed up testing or to reduce its cost. These are all reasonable motives for wanting to change (although the required changes probably wouldn't be limited to the test team of course!).

So, we decide on our change action plan, that might involve giving some training to testers and developers; documenting a new process for component testing and acceptance perhaps; implementing reviews with a little formality, and so on. So the training takes place, the processes are written, a formal review is scheduled. But, nothing happens. People don't show up, the processes are ignored, the testing doesn't change. And why is that?