Making IT Lean: Applying Lean Practices to the Work of IT, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Making IT Lean

Applying Lean Practices to the Work of IT, 1st Edition

By Howard Williams, Rebecca Duray

Productivity Press

232 pages | 44 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781439876022
pub: 2012-11-20
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Hardback: 9781138440364
pub: 2017-07-27
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Making IT Lean: Applying Lean Practices to the Work of IT presents Lean concepts and techniques for improving processes and eliminating waste in IT operations and IT Service Management, in a manner that is easy to understand. The authors provide a context for discussing several areas of application within this domain, allowing you to quickly gain insight into IT processes and Lean principles.

The text reviews IT Service Management, with reference to the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL®) as a framework for best practices—explaining how to use it to accommodate Lean processes and operations. Filled with straightforward examples, it provides enough modeling tools so you can start your Lean journey right away. Examining the work of IT from an IT practitioner perspective, the book includes coverage of:

  • The OM Perspective—considers the work of IT from an Operations Management (OM) perspective, showing how many of the concepts that have been successfully applied within manufacturing can be applied to IT
  • The Lean Improvement Model—explains Lean concepts and practices and details the authors’ Lean improvement model
  • Lean Problem-Solving (Identifying and Understanding Problems)—considers operational work in IT and explains how to apply Lean practices related to problem identification and root cause analysis
  • Lean Problem-Solving (Identifying and Managing Solutions)—describes how to use good problem identification as the basis for identifying the right solutions
  • Lean IT Service Management—examines IT work from an IT Service Management perspective, using the ITIL® framework as a guide
  • Implementing and Sustaining Lean IT Improvements—explains how to implement and sustain Lean IT improvements

Throughout the book, the authors use a simple model for Lean Improvement as the framework for communicating practical guidance on identifying and understanding problems, as well as identifying, implementing, managing, and improving solutions. Emphasizing alignment with core Lean concepts, such as A3 Thinking and Plan Do Check Act, it introduces concepts in a manner that allows you to take away small bits at a time and immediately apply them in your IT operations. Exploring the notion that any IT organization can benefit from the application of Lean, the text supplies you with virtually limitless opportunities for improvement in your IT organization.

Table of Contents



Lean Improvement Model

Narrative of the Book

A Word about our References


The Work of IT

The IT View of IT

IT Work as Process-Based Work


IT as Service-Based Work

Business–IT Alignment

IT Operations

Lean IT

Making IT Lean



The OM Perspective

Process Types

Process Types in IT Work

Customer Contact Workflow Model

Workflow Concepts

Volume, Variety, and Variation

Concepts of Flow

Waiting in Line


Looking at the IT Factory

Process Analysis

Process Improvement

Quality Improvement



The Lean Improvement Model

Lean Thinking

Customer Value

Value Stream Flow

Elimination of Waste

Continuous Improvement

Lean Learning

A3 Thinking


Lean Problem-Solving

Lean Tools

Lean Enablers


Appendix: Examples of Waste in IT Work


Lean Problem-Solving: Identifying and Understanding Problems

Identifying Waste

Stumbling on Waste from Pain Points

Tool: Process Mapping

Tool: Swim-Lane Diagram

Tool: RACI Chart

More on Process Mapping

Root Cause Analysis (RCA)

Tool: Cause and Effect Diagram

Identifying Waste in Clearly Identified Workflows

Tool: Value Stream Map

Tool: 5 Whys

Tool: Pareto Chart

Clarifying Difficult-to-Identify Workflows

Tool: Go-and-See (Gemba)

Surfacing Waste and Exposing Problems

Tool: Removal of Work-in-Progress (WIP)

Tool: 5S






Tool: Visual Management

Tool: A3 Reports



Lean Problem-Solving: Identifying and Managing Solutions

Starting with Root Causes

Identifying Solutions

Tool: Brainstorming

Planning, Implementing, and Improving Solutions

Tool: PDCA

Tool: Checklists

Tool: Mistake Proofing

Creating Flow

Tool: Pull (versus Push)

Tool: One-Piece Flow (versus Batch)

Tool: Rapid Changeover

Tool: Work Cell Optimization

Automation of IT Operations

Improving Nonlinear Processes

Continuous Improvement


Tool: Rapid Improvement Events



Lean IT Service Management

IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL)

Incident Management

Problem Management

Service Request Fulfillment

Service Desk

External View of the Service Desk

Internal View of the Service Desk

Lean Service Desk

Applying Lean to Other ITSM Processes

Availability Management

Event Management

Change Management

Implementing Lean ITSM



Implementing and Sustaining Lean IT Improvements

Continuous Improvement

Rapid Improvement Events

Lean Enablers

Dealing with Obstacles

Tool: 5 Questions

Lean Culture

Metrics and Measurement

Lean IT at Work

Lean IT in a Healthcare Company

Lean IT at a Health Insurance Company

Lean IT in a Hospital



Looking at Lean IT

Future Drivers of IT Work

The Role of Lean



About the Authors

Howard Williams is an IT Service Management Consultant in Microsoft’s Consulting Services organization, with several years of experience designing and implementing ITSM solutions for a diverse customer population. He is an ITIL® Expert (V3), and has an MBA in Operations Management from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Rebecca Duray is a Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Programs at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs College of Business. Professor Duray received her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University and her B.S. and M.B.A from Case Western Reserve University. Her research interests are in the strategic use of operations, mass customization, and Lean Information systems. Prior to obtaining her Ph.D., Professor Duray was a management consultant for various firms including Price Waterhouse and A.T. Kearney focusing on operations and systems issues.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Quality Control
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Workplace Culture
COMPUTERS / Information Technology