Standardization is just so boring

av | jan 24, 2019 | LEAN IT

Lean IT improvement work often involves striving for standardization. And on the surface, most involved parties agree to the need for standardization.

”Yes, we’ll work together in the same software …” 
”Of course we perform the same steps in handling a request …”
”Certainly we purchase our computers from the same vendor …”

The initial chorus of agreement is resounding and unified. Until the murmurs begin. Shortly after the introduction of a new standard, there is always one agitator in the crowd that insists on being unique.

”Well, I really need Mac instead of a Windows PC because …”
”Yes, but this other vendor is actually better… ?”
”Why work this way, we’re not all robots …”

Perhaps my (least) favorite response is the classic “sounds good for others, but won’t work here”.
”That might work when building cars on a factory floor, but our work here requires creativity. Standardization isn’t for us, it’s just so boring.”

Why the resistance?  What to do?

Sigh. Maybe it’s me, or maybe it’s Chaos Theory playing out in the IT Department. But I can’t help feel that we’re once again missing the point. Standardization has no intent on turning us into boring machines. It is about identifying the means of consistently performing safely, efficiently and effectively. The intent of standardization within IT is to simplify the elements of an IT service that can be simplified, without sacrificing quality. Thereby, standardization enables us to maximize efficiency, spending our precious time and resources on that which differentiates us, not the opposite. It frees up our time to be unique!?

Three quick ideas that might help us to break through the “boring” accusation:

  1. Don’t preach the horrors of non-standardization. Instead, strive to simply exemplify the consequences of variation. More technical platforms require inevitably more maintenance. A variety of softwares mandates numerous licensing agreements. Several vendors delivering the same service leads to increased time for communication, monitoring and reporting.
  2. Set a rule of offsetting – be diligent that each addition requires a subtraction. As the business (inevitably and necessarily) comes with new servicing demands, be sure to simplify or remove old service components. Adding a new reporting tool should eliminate the previous tool. Upgrading to a new OS eliminates our need for a previous. Increased complexity in one area of servicing should be offset by simplifying somewhere else.
  3. Know and sell the benefits of standardization. Standardization drives continuous improvement, helping us to find simpler and better ways of performing our work, over and over again. Standardization increases predictability and consistency of quality. Standardization simplifies our ability to describe and document, thereby increasing our ability to train others.

Ultimately maybe it’s a marketing thing – consider altogether avoiding the word “standardization”? While standardization is met with boring thoughts of robotic process and ISO audits, simplification conjures positive thoughts of Steve Jobs gadgets and Scandinavian design. Talk instead about simplifying. Let’s use standardization simplification to get leaner, improve and provide more value.

Good luck! 

Learn more about Lean IT

Lean principles provide guidance and value when working with IT. 

CIO-utmaningar 2024

CIO-utmaningar 2024

Standardization is just so boring av Jeffrey Schmitz | jan 24, 2019 | LEAN IT I takt med att den digitala transformationen accelererar, blir IT alltmer kritiskt för företagens framgång. Trots detta finner sig CIO:er och IT-avdelningar ofta på efterkälken när det gäller deras…

7 tips för snabb förändring

7 tips för snabb förändring

Standardization is just so boring av Jeffrey Schmitz | jan 24, 2019 | LEAN IT I princip alla organisationer lever i en snabbt föränderlig värld. Anpassning till detta och att driva förändring internt kan vara svårt, osäkert och tar lång tid. Men det finns…

Jeffrey Schmitz

Arbete med förändringsledning och ledarskapsutveckling tycker jag är roligt och viktigt. Det bästa jag vet är att bidra till en "a-ha-upplevelse". Favvo-verktyg är färgpennor och ett blädderblock för att driva kreativa workshops. Certifieringslistan innehåller en blandning av ITIL, Agile/Scrum/SAFe, Lean IT, DevOps m.m. Läs mer om Jeffrey

Kostnadsfri rådgivning

Vill du prata med oss för en kostnadsfri rådgivningssession kring era behov/utmaningar? Kontakta oss genom formuläret nedan!

Share This