How Lean For IT Applies To The Supply Chain
My ongoing research has taken me squarely into Lean. Have gone through The Machine that Changed the World and Lean Thinking (Womack/Jones) As with ERP for IT, I am by no means the first to entertain this topic. There's a Wikipedia article that, while very well written, seems a little premature and bordering on original research (no books have been written on Lean IT to my knowledge).
CA and Fujitsu have some material as well. All those are fairly recent.
Other material pops up on various Google searches, and since you all can do that I'm not going to devote a lot of time to random linking. Also avoiding commentary on other Lean IT commentary for now.
Instead I'm going to spend a few posts on Lean source material and my own exegetic interpretations of how it might apply across the IT supply chain.
Starting off with a few random/high level observations:
"Lean for IT" is not the same thing as "IT for Lean." There's some confusion on this point. "Lean for IT" to my mind would be the application of Lean principles to the IT value streams. IT of course has a role to play in enabling Lean initiatives for manufacturing, supply chain, etc. But not the same thing.
IT value is difficult to quantify. IT itself is fractal and recursive: the value chain results in value chains. That means that the concept of an IT value stream is also difficult. And that means that IT muda is a challenging concept in the general case.
Many will disagree, citing egregious examples of IT waste. I can cite them too. But the gray areas trouble me. Capacity buffers may not be waste, when demand spkes are fractal. The value of utility is contradictory with the value of warranty - availablity is the antithesis of agility. Are massive core OLTP systems, monuments in the Lean sense? The IT equivalent of batch processing, even if they themselves are real time? A monument is a local optima, factored out from context, in search of silo "efficiency."
But I also don't think any of this is truly unique. How is application development different from product development? Both are uncertain. Very curious what Lean approaches to product development might have to inform the SDLC. What about availability? Is it a primary value? Depends on perspective. From the business' view, it's a means to an end. From the "IT as a business" perspecive, it's an end in itself.
I've seen a couple attempts at applying the Lean waste types to IT. I'll probably have my own go at that.
All for now,
PS. Reserved lean4it.
View All Articles by Charles Betz
Our Daily Email of Breaking eBusiness News
About the Author:
Charles Betz is a Senior Enterprise Architect, and chief architect for IT
Service Management strategy for a US-based Fortune 50 enterprise. He is author of the forthcoming Architecture and Patterns for IT Service
Management, Resource Planning, and Governance: Making Shoes for the Cobbler's Children (Morgan Kaufman/Elsevier, 2006, ISBN 0123705932). He is the sole author of the popular www.erp4it.com weblog.
WebProNews RSS Feed
More Expert Articles Articles