Steve Bell’s “Run Grow Transform” – More than just Lean IT

fish-ecological-versThe best book available about Lean IT! I suggest that anyone interested in the topic reads this book because it adds that often missing dimension to it: how is the organization actually going to make this work?

So it is not a book about the main ideas of Lean – or IT. Steve obviously assumed that most people by now have an understanding of Lean Thinking and that the readers would most likely already know something (enough) about IT. Therefore (I guess), he decided to tell you about how to make use of this knowledge.

Maybe I should mention that this review has been on the way for a long time. But this is such a book where I feel that it deserves a carefully written review, making clear for everyone what makes this book special – and good.

The scope

9781466504493I am happy to see that Steve is not painting up the usual “three steps to heaven” or “10 things to do as a leader”, as is common for books about management philosophies.

Steve actually points out right away, in the first few lines of the book: There is no “IT Value” separate from business value. And there is limited business value separate from IT. As simple as that! The remaining book is dedicated to teaching you what that means for your way of dealing with IT in your organization. How you can make it work.

And who are you? You are a leader or manager, but not just for IT, you could be any kind of leader anywhere in your organization – which in turn could be any organization, but maybe mostly one of those which are not the smallest. After all, small companies usually find their own ways of doing things and will be less tempted to follow the guidelines of a business coach.

But if you are, for instance, the IT manager or any line manager or senior manager of a small company, I suggest that you read the book anyway, as it will give you a lot of inspiration for constructing your way of doing things, based on a modern paradigm.

Larger companies often need this inspiration more, because each leader or manager there next to dealing with his/her own areas of responsibility also need to understand and deal with the big whole – and the inspiration from a coach who have seen how many other companies have done that will provide them with years of added experience in the time it takes to read a book.

The concept

First of all, processes and value streams run across the organisation, so in order to make them work well, you should arrange cross-organizational teams for analyzing and improving the value streams. And for the IT topics to improve, combined developer and operator teams, DevOps, will do the effort better and easier.

So we speak about cooperation across former silos internally in the IT department and across silos in the organisation.

Steve gives a lot of good comments and guidelines on how to do this, and he has generously added real life stories all the way through the book, which illustrate various important points.

He gets into topics like leadership and management style, how and what to measure, and the importance of people and learning.

In order to bring you closer to a starting point for you specific Lean IT journey, the book has a number of chapters about specific topics, skillfully written by some of the main experts in each respective area:

  • Lean Enterprise Architecture
  • Lean and Business Process Management
  • Lean IT Service Management
  • Lean ERP
  • Lean Software Development
  • Lean Data Management
  • Lean Business Intelligence

The value

The main differences from a typical book about Lean is its experience based realism – the fact that you start working with Lean IT will not over-night change your organization into one that is four times better. But various advantages can be found in the different steps you can take: you can improve the way things work, give better service, get faster to market with new services, etc., by learning from this experience-packed book.

It will get you started, but it will not fool you into believing that by simply reading one book, you are done will all the work.

If you are willing to start a personal journey of understanding what it takes to get the benefit of Lean in relations to IT – how to utilize ideas, tools, and techniques in combination with a better understanding of the effects different actions across the organization have on the combined outcome for all customers on the way, including the end customer – then start with this book.

But be prepared to spend a little more time than you would usually do on a management book. Steve is both an experienced expert and a skilled coach, so he delivers both knowledge by example and… questions! There are many things for you to consider while reading the book, and this will bring you out on the other side with a renewed understanding of your own knowledge and the real needs of your organization.



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1 Response to Steve Bell’s “Run Grow Transform” – More than just Lean IT

  1. Pingback: Lean IT: Start Here! | The No Crisis Blog

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