jeudi 3 mai 2012

Lean combined with IT : 1+1 >2 - conference report

The conference on Operational Excellence organized by Marcus Evans was held on March 22, 2012. The overall objectives of the conference were to share experiences on Operational Excellence approaches. The conference consisted of several sessions followed by a discussion panel ( )

During the day, it was interesting to see the diversity of approaches that find their origins in Lean, Six Sigma or System Thinking and diversity of the companies involved (pharmaceutical, industry, aerospace, luxury, services…sectors).

We, Eric Belleflamme (Head of Process Improvement) and myself, have presented a case study duo on the benefits of Lean associated with IT instead of Lean applied to IT.

The System Thinking/Lean approach within EFA is conducted through successive interventions aiming at a transformational purpose. During our interventions, systemic conditions that hinder the performance of the company are identified. They are challenged to gradually make the management thinking of the company evolve. Our transformational approach is evolving to the pace of learning, resistances and events affecting the company like projects, arrival of new customers, new regulations ....

From our experience, combining Lean and IT:

• put our IT project in a broader context linking the project with the customer's nominal value. Generally, a project starts with a problem or a solution defined by internal resources without specifying if it matters to customers.

• reduce our IT development costs. The IT developments costs are exponential above a certain degree of complexity. Lean Improvements combined with a well-defined customer’s nominal value (Taguchi loss function) allow us to better manage what should be taken in charge by IT on the one hand and by acting on norms, policies, capabilities, processes and measures, on the other hand

• support the elimination/reduction of waste. We presented some in-house examples without forgetting to recommend reading Lean Software Development by Mary Poppendieck.

• support our company strategy. The Business, Lean expert and IT define the perfect flow based on Lean Principles. This flow helps us to build a structured IT project plan to achieve our vision, to make architectural choices and also align the thinking of everyone towards the same vision. The trade-off between short-term and long-term efforts is facilitated.

• deliver first what matters the most for the client without changing the pace of delivery of our IT developments.

To conclude, Eric shared his experience on being associated with IT in the Organization. Knowing the job of internal consultant is quite difficult, his position within IT has created an healing place for him and his team. Our combined approach (Lean associated with IT) brings together two key competencies in the innovation process of the company.

Jean-Marc Verdure concluded that you don’t have to manage lean as you manage an IT project. You have to acknowledge the difference of the two approaches and never try to normalize. It is essential to consider the intrinsic differences of lean interventions and IT projects:

We ended the conference by two questions to the participants:
• Should we build a mixed competence IT + Lean?

• Are agile methods a "must" in a transitional Lean? or transformational?

Don’t hesitate to share your comments.

Jean-Marc Verdure – Eric Belleflamme

2 commentaires:

  1. Hello, I was there also speaking about on the indispensable transformation of the leadership to allow any real and long-sustainable change.
    Your presentation spoke lot to a lot me because I had the opportunity to pilot several cases of Lean IT and your combined approach is a happy find, thank you, it would inspire me for my next case.
    Rémy Rodriguez

  2. Hi,

    Great presentation. Interesting article on the same subject :

    "The frontier of human productive capacity today is the power of extended collaboration — the ability to work together beyond the scope of small groups. Today's technologies have the potential to enable a very different level of business performance, but only when accompanied by a thoughtful redesign of the way your business is done."
    Regards. PR


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