IT people live in a changing world: new technologies appear all the time, new software versions and short lived hardware means that they must spend a lot of effort on just following all changes – and even more on staying on top of them and be able to advise their customers and users.
During recent years there has additionally been a lot of almost revolutionary activities in the process domain: method based project management, agile thinking, CMMI, IT Service Management/ITIL, and more has been on the daily agenda. And what to do with all the process improvement activities and changes in management philosophies used in the business? How to adapt to all that?
The solution is not simple. IT is a big and complex area which touches bases with just about everything happening in an organization. Efficiency and effectiveness has become buzzwords and cutbacks on staffing, outsourcing and all sorts of automation are eternal threats to job security. Only the best and most needed, who can keep up with the need for speed, can remain in the game.
Steve Bell and Mike Orzen do not offer a solution on this complex of problems, but they do offer an insight into a new and important way of getting IT activities – in the IT department and around in the business – at level with the business activities by using Lean principles for achieving improvements.
Lean IT is, as it might be guessed, the application of Lean principles to IT. Throughout the book more and more areas are uncovered that will benefit from Lean Thinking, and this
should be an inspiration for everybody working with IT. Especially managers at all levels could benefit from this by integrating some of the ideas in their own work.
What strikes me about this book is how well planned and written it is – a lot of effort has been put into qualifying all arguments and referring to relevant sources. This means that it has a somewhat academic shape, but as the contents is very practical by nature you, as the reader, gets the best of both worlds: you get practical guidelines and an easy way to plan your further studies of the subject. And most of all, you get a feeling of confidence with
these authors and their book, as it is all so well made that there is no reason to doubt the validity or practical use of it. This book earned the authors a Shingo Prize – Of course! It is definitely worth it.
While Lean IT is still a relatively new phenomena – this book was the one that kicked it off in practice – there are a few, but not many, other books available on the topic. I suggest to read this one first, for building your platform of understanding, but then additionally to read Run Grow Transform: Integrating Business and Lean IT, which takes that necessary additional steps of showing how to combine the activities in the IT department with the activities in the business. Doing so will lead to a lot of advantages: amongst them breaking down silos and allowing for value streams to be globally optimized.
So go ahead an read this book as well as Run Grow Transform – and start improving both your results and your working conditions.
- Lean IT – Read All About IT! (nocrisis.net)
- Steve Bell’s “Run Grow Transform” – More than just Lean IT (nocrisis.net)
- Value Stream Management and Readiness (nocrisis.net)
- Lean IT and ITIL – Stopping the Negative Spiral (nocrisis.net)
- Lean and ITIL – Closing the Gap (nocrisis.net)
- A Tale of Two Kanbans… or Three (nofluffjuststuff.com)
- Going Lean: The Guiding Principles of Lean Software Development (thetechscoop.net)