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Lean IT as a Factory?

Cambridge, MA, January 4, 2011 - Steve Bell and Mike Orzen, authors of the book "Lean IT," commented on a recent study by global consulting firm McKinsey & Company that asserted 64% of executives were applying lean principles to information technology.

In a published article titled “Reshaping IT Management for Turbulent Times,” McKinsey explores the implications of lean management techniques applied to IT services. In a survey of 864 executives, McKinsey reports 64% are currently deploying lean IT (Lean techniques applied to information and information systems) in some manner.

"Is this a realistic figure?" the authors ask. "Perhaps, when you consider the wide-spread adoption of Agile Software Development during the past decade. And beyond Agile, there are other aspects of IT services (such as infrastructure and support services) that are now discovering the benefits of lean principles as well.

"But when we read the study, we asked ourselves, “Does the 64% figure simply reflect the implementation of Agile, ITIL’s Service Management Framework, and other IT methodologies that have been influenced by lean? Or do these results indicate an authentic transformation of lean thinking and management behavior, where the business and IT actively collaborate to deliver value to customers across all enterprise value streams?

"We suspect mostly the former. Our experience suggests that most IT organizations are just beginning to realize and internalize the fundamental lean principles, supported by the familiar systems and tools."

You can read a summary of the McKinsey report and the related article "Lean IT as a Factory?" by Bell and Orzen at the Lean Enterprise Institute's (LEI) web site. Bell and Orzen will present a Lean IT workshop Feb. 3, 2011, in San Francisco.

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The terms lean manufacturing, lean production, or lean management refer to a complete business system for organizing and managing product development, operations, suppliers, customer relations, and the overall enterprise.

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