Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Lean Information Technology

Topic: Management Improvement

A new Lean Blog, Compound Thinking, focuses on Information Technology. It has started off with some interesting posts, including - Compound Thinking: Lean Manufacturing Principles -- Trust the Team:

If you aren't trusting your people, you are slowly but surely sapping their morale. Even worse, you are cutting yourself from the source of real ground-floor process innovation.


And Lean Manufacturing Practices -- Kaizan:

IT Departments need Kaizan events, new technology is coming at them faster than they can manage, processes aren't automated just because nobody has a free couple of hours, and things can get messy very quickly.


I agree. It is very easy for waste to be hidden in IT. I think it is more difficult to notice the inefficiencies in IT because much of the work is done in virtual space, not real space. I think that can make it more difficult to see the waste. Or perhaps I am just using that as an excuse.

IT people also can hack something to meet today's need and add it to the code base. It would normally be much more difficult to modify production machines. While this is an advantage (more flexibility) it often leads to sloppy systems. Instead of taking the time to design these properly something is created quickly, for today. If the code had a physical existence I think much of it would look like a rube Goldberg contraption.

Image from Rube Goldberg contest site

2 comments:

Mark Ramm said...

Thanks for the comments, I am convinced that there is a huge amount of waste in most IT departments, but that it is often not in the places where people expect it.

I have been blogging on a few other time-sensitive topics right now, but I have a lot more lean stuff online for the next few weeks.

In particular I have been investigating Lean Product Development ideas, which translate to IT practices quite nicely.

Tom said...

honestly I have been pondering what are the core wastes in IT for a long time, there just seems to be so many. Will start to make a list.