10 things to like about Lean IT

av | jun 8, 2016 | LEAN IT

Lean IT is one of the fastest growing frameworks for wide appliance to IT-delivery. By using the principles and methods from Lean IT organizations can improve quality, reduce leadtime, raise customer awareness and create a better working environment for our co-workers. But here are 10 things I really like about Lean IT.

1. Ishikawa is a cool word to say

And Ishikawa (fishbone) diagrams are good stuff. A simple, illustrative and effective tool of identifying a problem/opportunity and then gathering and analyzing the contributing factors.

2. Yes we kanban

Kanban simply means “to make visual” and embracing this principal increases our effectiveness. “Vision trumps all other senses” – why not then utilize (only?) this as a trainer, manager och change leader?

3. Takt time is everything in IT

Understanding and aligning us to Takt time (customer demand) is really what we need to do at all levels (strategic-tactical-operational) of IT. What innovation is required by our market place? How should we staff our process work? How many incidents must we solve per day in order to achieve? Understand takt time, align your delivery and succeed.?

4. SIPOC rocks

Or at least it makes me more effective in diagramming work processes and value streams. I must never again let myself drown in the murky waters of complicated swim lane diagrams. Keep it simple, keep it SIPOC.

5. Value-added and non-value-added analysis

Again the simplicity is what is so powerful. SIPOC your process and then write a “pros and cons” list next to the simple steps. Thereafter, sum it up – add value, eliminate non-value. Are we adding more/enough value, or not?

6. Muda reminder = K.I.S.S.

IT is complicated enough. “Keep it simple stupid”. Every time we knowingly or unknowingly add variance (muda), we add complexity, time and probably waste. Be very certain when you do this, and be ready to explain it your customer, your user, your boss and even ME!

7. Time ↑ = (waste) → Secondary needs → Time ↑ (waste again)

It’s a vicious circle that we should STOP! Modig and Åhlström illustrate this so well in their book This is Lean. But consider simply wait time in a Service Desk telephone queue which generates the need for a queue system which in turn generates the need for music in the queue and/or the need for a voice mail system in the queue and thereby someone to care for the queue systems… Imagine if we simply staffed in alignment with takt, answered (most) calls immediately and avoided the queue system secondary need altogether!

8. IT isn’t only about Scrumming it

Scrum (and/or Agile) is great, scrum is Lean, scrum is software development… IT is more than software and Lean IT reminds us that the same principles apply to the whole of IT.

9. Lean IT permits us to irritate our colleagues…

… with the 5 Whys. The wisest people respond to questions with more questions. Why? In order to get beyond the simple surface responses. Why? Because we need to dig deeper. Why? To really find the root causes. Why? In order to solve the real problem, long-term. Why? Because I said so, that’s why.

10. Achieve the Flow

Flow is all about maximizing value and eliminating waste. In psychology, it is recognized as an “optimal mental state”. In athletics, it is about making shot after shot. In sales, it’s when our offerings seem to magically predict the customers question and need. What is it in IT? Let’s find out together.

Want to learn more?

Do you also want to learn a bunch of fun Japanese words and find ways to improve your IT-delivery based on Lean principles? Check out our Lean IT training and workshops. 

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