Lean thinking, (Kaizen Blitz) has proven to be a powerful methodology that can help IT, as it did along many years and industries so far, to maximize the real value from business expenditures in technology.
During these times of economic turmoil and uncertainty, CIO’s must show their strong business acumen and provide leadership.Specifically on “walking the talk” about how IT can help reducing overall business processes waste – or, at least, the waste within the IT processes –
Waste can take form or show up as unreasonable work, unreliable non-synchronized work or non-value added work.
IT has a natural tendency toward adding unnecessary complexity in the form of multiple processes to achieve the same ends, or overlapping organizational responsibilities. Unnecessary complexity adds to IT costs and risks and reduces its effectiveness.
Lean has demonstrated to be both a powerful process improvement tool and a means for cultural change. For IT, a transition from a workaround and ambiguity culture to a continuous improvement one, leading to full business process disciplined innovation.
However, Lean Thinking requires a formalized approach to governance, based on detailed, specified, and synchronized – end to end -processes and resources and a culture where stimulating experimentation, rapid change, collaboration, and learning reign.
The very problem nowadays is to avoid falling into the short-term “trap” in the form of a strong temptation for the short term “gains” or straight/simple cost reductions.
CIOs looking to achieve lasting performance improvements in their organizations should seriously consider Lean.
Too often, when budgets are cut, so is the capability that matters most to business agents.
And, as IT budgets shrink, business satisfaction with IT is in danger of declining on an even steeper slope.
Not to mention the increasing pace of strategic IT consolidations both to cut complexity and to reduce the overhead and friction that destroys value in their IT operations.
Consolidations rarely address their root causes — poorly designed processes and organization structures, overloaded staff and IT’s traditional culture.
IT executives must “weigh anchor” with a new management system to create an environment where continuous improvements take place naturally, from the daily work and experience on the operational side of the business, thereby positioning IT for more sustainable contributions to business productivity and innovation.
Changing IT using Lean thinking.
·To improve the efficiency of IT service delivery.
·To simplify and formalize IT management span of reach.
·As the basis for organization strategy.
·As culture transformation agent.
It helps design the organization as a system:
·To deliver complete defect-free solutions where and when they are needed.
·To adopt an end-to-end approach to process management, employing end customer and value perspectives.
·To make sure that the capabilities of customer management, product management, product architecture, and service management are properly aligned, sourced, and focused.
LEAN AS A CULTURE
By making the elimination of waste, in all its forms, a top priority for their staff, organizations create a culture of continuous improvement and innovation.
Lean’s most famous implementation, the Toyota Production System (TPS), has grown naturally to a culture focusing on learning and the elimination of waste at all levels of its organization, not from the promotion of a command-and-control environment.
IT & Business leaders should make sure that their staff shares the Lean thinking values and common priorities at all its levels. The larger and more complex the IT organization, the more important it is that internal and external employees make decisions consistent with the strategic direction of the company.
They should enable a culture of openness by encouraging the staff to repeatedly assess the consumption-delivery processes and life cycles, and address and resolve issues for optimal (customer & value) performance.