Lean and ITIL – Closing the Gap

bridge-builders2bAfter some years with IT Service Management and ITIL being the main topic for improving IT departments, a new word has appeared: Lean.

Lean and ITIL, ITIL and Lean. It looks so obvious that both should be considered together – Lean with its focus on slimming processes to produce just-in-time, just-enough, and just-what-the-users-need together with ITIL and its focus on service and how to deliver it.

Apart from one introductory book on the topic, “Making IT Lean” by Williams & Duray, another book, which I haven’t read yet, “Sense and Respond” by Balow, Parry & Faulkner, and some chapters in other books, see my previous post “Lean IT – Read All About It!”, there is only sparse information available to base new activities on. Until now!

At the European Lean IT Summit 2013 a major part of the program is about exactly Lean and ITIL, dealt with in the different varieties it takes:

Nicolas Stampf enlightens on the trouble companies often have when trying to follow the good ITIL practices, Pascal Bedel takes the IT manager to gemba, and a great deal of the 24 other speaches add even more to the Lean and ITIL combination. One of them is by Daniel Breston, who speaks about Lean in the service desk.

Daniel is an experienced guy in ITIL who during the last number of years have learned, seen, and tried himself how ITIL works well with Lean. See and hear him explain what this is all about, in this short excerpt from the Hungarian Lean IT Summit 2012 at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nw0ksFkC0jI. He is a great storyteller, at conferences and at his exciting new blog.

Being able to learn from such great speakers, about Lean and ITIL and how they can be combined, is certainly a good reason for attending the European Lean IT Summit 2013. But additionally the overall concept will be discussed by thought leaders like Steve Bell and Mike Orzen, and other important parts of Lean IT and their complements, like Agile and project management, by speakers from various companies and organizations, various businesses and social situations, who all have real-life experience with combining Lean and IT into a better way of working.

All this together seems to compensate for the lack of books on the topic! Something is happening now, and the summit is catching up on it and making an integrated story of it, ready to be used as inspiration for your own journey in the world of Lean IT.

For me and The No Crisis Company this is a great event, and I certainly look forward to go there and listen to all these great speaches by the thought leaders and experts in the field.

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14 Responses to Lean and ITIL – Closing the Gap

  1. Thank you Jorgen as we will certainly discuss Lean and ITIL and I think 2014 will continue to merge these two into a more solid DevOPS wrapped with Customer Relationship Management and Continuous Improvement!

  2. This post was curated at The ITIL Expert Daily where ITIL Expert Andy Hansford adds this interesting thought:
    ITIL is not invented. ITIL is a description. Rather like discovering a useful complex compound. The chemical formula is NOT an invention it is a description. Once you have the description you can replicate it – and thus it scales.
    With these words he has caught two main ideas: 1) that ITIL is in fact an edited collection of good practices observed and 2) the fact that you need to reconstruct it at your site – it is not an off-the-shelf product which you can just buy, plug in and then start using.

  3. Hi Jorgen, Great post – in many ways, Lean IT is “the final frontier” when it comes to the application of Lean to areas of the business beyond manufacturing. What is needed to bridge the theory of Lean, ITIL and Agile to the practical application of what many refer to as DevOps. I am going to speak about the essential role of Leadership in an Lean IT transformation at this year’s Lean IT conference in Paris next month. All the great ideas, tools and methods in the world do nothing if Leaders don’t take a very active role on a daily basis.When the guess or delegate, it’s a disaster! Hope to see you there. Cheers, Mike

    • Thank you Mike.

      Yes, I agree. Leaders and managers must take an active role, since Lean and ITIL really are management philosophies – who else than management should practice those?! I guess that the idea of just starting it all up and then delegating it quite directly tells the employees that management doesn’t want to manage anymore, or at least not through the model they have just introduced.

      Agile might not be a management philosophy but it affects the way to manage – so without management support, what happens? Well, management will act like if there was no Agile and will make decisions and plans that are unsupportive to the Agile idea.

      Yes, I will participate in the Lean IT Summit and I am looking forward to see and hear you there 🙂

  4. See also the discussion on this topic/this post in the European Lean IT Summit group at LinkedIn.

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  8. Hi Jorgen, Great post and good to meet like minded people. I do agree to the point of leadership support in all these transformational challenges – Lean or Agile for the traditional IT way of working. Let’s collaborate more offline.

  9. Great discussion – however, there is another book that addressed this topic a few years ago, albeit in an exploratory manner, Lean IT: Enabling & Sustaining Your Lean Transformation. (Yes, I co-authored it!). We devote an entire chapter to the complementary nature of Lean and ITIL.

    Cheers, Mike

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