For teams to succeed, whether in manufacturing or information technology (IT), there needs to be continuous improvement. Teams need to focus on small changes that add up to big improvements that, ultimately, lead to customer satisfaction. This is where Lean comes in, with the tool and techniques necessary for teams to improve not only business performance but the quality of their offerings.
At the same time, the teams need to realize that results won’t happen instantly. Lean provides a long-term solution, not a quick fix. As such, there is a need for the organization to shift its mindset and think in terms of continuous improvement. Without this, all the benefits of Lean, which we will get into in a moment, will not stick.
While Lean in manufacturing environments is well-known (that’s its origin), many don’t know how it extends to other fields like IT. That is where Lean IT comes in.
What is Lean IT?
What does it take for an organization to be Lean? It needs to gear its operations towards the minimization or elimination of waste in its organizational processes. This will allow it to maximize value for customers. Waste is considered to be any step or task in a process that doesn’t add value. And when it comes to Lean IT, it just means the organization needs to apply the principles of Lean to improve its IT offerings.
By eliminating waste from a process, it will operate more efficiently. Through Lean IT, teams can zero in on wastes that are present within the organization’s IT operations and make sure that any type of work that remains contributes value.
But Lean does not stop there. Once the initial improvement has been implemented and confirmed, the culture of the organization needs to focus on making sure employees are empowered to suggest further improvements and work towards improving processes on a continuous basis. As mentioned earlier, Lean is not a one-off endeavour.
Benefits of Lean IT
An organization that has successfully implemented Lean into its processes can experience the following benefits:
- IT processes will become more efficient through the reduction or elimination of waste
- Employers will become more productive and motivated
- The workplace will become a much safer place
- Work processes will produce fewer defects
- Costs will be reduced
- Value will flow seamlessly from the beginning of the process to the end
- Processes will be streamlined
- Lead time will be reduced, meaning customers will get their products faster and the organization will make money faster as well
- Customer satisfaction will be increased through better quality products and services and reduced lead time, among other things
An organization can transform the way it works – for the better – by adopting the philosophy and tools of Lean manufacturing into its IT operations. Basically, Lean is all about eliminating or reducing any work that is considered non-value-adding to a process. On top of that, it is about making sure that this remains the case by emphasizing a culture of continuous improvement in the organization.