The current economic climate should provide us with an opportunity to make real improvements in how we run IT in our departments and organisations.
To do this, we need to look at the topic of creating a leaner IT. There has and continues to be plenty of research on lean thinking, but the term lean is likely to have multiple definitions. Odds are, someone outside of IT will come knocking on your door asking when you’re going to “get lean.” Here’s how to answer them.
First, tell them what lean is not.
Lean is not just cost cutting.
Lean is not just consolidation.
Lean is not always a methodology. Process improvement methods like Lean Six Sigma and the Agile family of software development methods have been around for a long time. Don’t confuse a lean methodology based on multiple gradations of belts with a simple way of thinking.
Cost cutting, consolidation, and rich methodologies can all be part of the antidote for bloated IT. But simplify your definition of lean into one of eliminating waste. And consider it more a mindset and culture than a guide.
One of the biggest areas of waste in IT is over-planning or planning horizons that are too long for this economic climate. Set an aggressive timeline for when you’ll complete any plan. Then, cut it in half.
Do the same thing to any assessment work, whether it’s of processes, assets, standards, etc. If you’re spending more than two calendar months assessing a current state, stop, or get rid of the consultant.
4. Design IT Processes
6. Long Term Program
Whether you tackle lean through cost-cutting, consolidation, and/or system optimisation, treat it as more than just an ad hoc project. Treat lean thinking as an ongoing program or initiative, likely assigned to a PMO or other governance structure for stewardship.
Author: Mawdud Choudhury, Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Universal System Technologies (UST), Brunei Darussalam.