The Lean philosophy has shown itself to be successful in the production industry and seems, at first sight, to have direct IT applications. Due to the differences between a production and an IT organization, however, successful implementation of Lean IT principles does require a little tweaking. The authors discuss a few methods for putting Lean IT into practice.
The Lean philosophy has been used and developed for decades within the production industry; now the principles are being picked up by service-sector organizations. The desire to apply Lean principles to IT organizations, too, has become increasingly hard to resist since the start of this century. The most important driver of this development was the recurring inability of IT to provide the required services in the right way. Despite attempts at improvement using ITIL®, CMM, COBIT and other process or control models, IT stubbornly continues to perform averagely in the eyes of customers. The problem is that the same businesses have become increasingly dependent on their IT. As a result, where the Lean ethos has been applied to the primary business processes, organizations say, “If it works for us, surely it can work for IT, too.”
As we shall see, the idea is sound, but the way that Lean IT is used requires some adjustment to make it successful.