Friday, August 19, 2016

Lean IT Field Guide

A colleague from my Nationwide days, Tom Paider, co-authored a book with Michael Orzen called The Lean IT Field Guide: A Roadmap for Your Transformation. The book based in part on our shared experience of establishing Nationwide's Application Development Center. More on that here.

His book is a how to guide for applying certain aspects of Lean to corporate IT. The focus of the book is summarized below:

The modern enterprise has a simple goal: create sustainable value i.e. make money now and in the long run.  A principle challenge is leading and managing a very large number of people to achieve the goal. To achieve the goal most would agree we need:

  1. Alignment from the top down on purpose and strategy
  2. Effective bottom up execution matched to the strategy
  3. Clear feedback enabling the adjustments needed to achieve the purpose

In brief Lean enables people at every level to understand and improve the part they play in achieving the goal. Employees define baseline work processes called "standard work," along with their performance metrics, problems and potential solutions called "counter-measures." Collaborative cycles of Plan, Do, Check, Adjust apply the scientific method to solve these problems using a simple "A3"  document. Leaders "Go See" on "Gemba Walks" to understand what's happening and to mentor and learn how to support their people. All of this is big and visible.  All of this happens at every level - not just the front line.

I created an excerpt based summary of the book in two parts. Part one starts here.