Gartner Research

Implementing Lean in IT

Published: 01 February 2010

ID: G00174947

Analyst(s): Richard Hunter , Dan Miklovic, Andy Rowsell-Jones


Rooted in Japanese manufacturing, Lean is a systematic approach to eliminating waste and adding customer value. CIOs are using Focused Lean for short-term IT improvements, Transformational Lean for lasting efficiency and ever-higher performance.

Table Of Contents
  • Overview


Executive summary

  • Lean fits service organizations (like IT)
  • Implement Focused Lean for short-term business value and to prove that Lean works
  • Undertake Transformational Lean for a resilient organization and sustained benefits

Lean fits service organizations (like IT)

  • Lean is a powerful, proven and effective way to create and sustain a continuously improving enterprise
  • Lean works well in service organizations
  • CIOs can use a Focused Lean or Transformational Lean approach
  • Other performance improvement techniques complement Lean
  • Tailor messages to build support for Lean initiatives
  • Positioning can make or break a Lean initiative
  • Which Lean is right for you?
  • How to interpret your score

Implement Focused Lean for short-term business value and to prove that Lean works

  • Focused Lean delivers “the next 10%”
  • Two ways to implement Focused Lean: “Prove and proceed” and “bank and stop”
  • Implement Focused Lean using a six-stage process
  • 1. Create the organizational foundation for Focused Lean
  • 2. Understand how your customers perceive value
  • 3. Set up the flow from start to finish
  • 4. Produce what is “pulled” by customers, without building in anticipation of customer demand
  • 5. Remove waste from your value streams
  • 6. Take steps to prevent backsliding
  • Are you ready for Focused Lean?
  • How to interpret your score

Undertake Transformational Lean for a resilient organization and sustained benefits

  • Transformational Lean can deliver a 25% improvement
  • Approach Transformational Lean as a major cultural change
  • 1. Create the organizational foundation for Transformational Lean
  • 2. Apply Lean’s five principles
  • 3. Measure the right things
  • 4. Begin continuous improvement and then institutionalize it
  • 5. Expand the Transformational Lean initiative as the organization matures
  • Are you ready for Transformational Lean?
  • How to interpret your score
  • Conclusion

Appendix 1: Summary of selected Lean tools and techniques

  • Understand value streams: What the customer values and how that value is delivered
  • Flow activities cleanly from start to finish, without interruption: Flow tools
  • Produce what is “pulled” by customers; do not build solutions or provide features that exceed business requirements: Pull tools
  • Eliminate waste from value streams
  • Continually improve the value stream through further elimination of waste

Appendix 2: Lean abbreviations and terminology

Further Reading

  • Gartner Executive Programs reports
  • Core research
  • AMR research
  • Books

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