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Making IT Lean by Rebecca Duray, Howard Williams

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ix
Preface
This book has its origins in an independent study course taken by one
of the authors (Howard), at that time a student in the MBA program at
University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS), under the direction of
the second author (Rebecca), who is a professor of Operations Management
at UCCS. The focus of the independent study, Applications of Lean to IT
(Information Technology), was an outgrowth of a more general class on
Lean taken by Howard and taught by Rebecca in the previous semester.
We thought the topic would be well-covered in the literature, so our inten-
tion was to read what was written, summarize the content, and use the findings
for our respective purposes. For Howard, this meant applying Lean practices
within IT, where he worked, and, for Rebecca, this would mean adding to her
body of knowledge on applications of Lean in various disciplines.
Our surprise was that not much had been written at that time on the sub-
ject. This led to a more detailed line of inquiry that extended well beyond
the timeframe of the course, and, in fact, beyond Howard’s completion of
his MBA. What began as a student–professor affiliation evolved into a true
research collaboration that eventually led to publication of this book.
By the time we had outlined the general scope of the book, we were
delighted to find that there had been other books published on the subject,
and this naturally led to consideration of the best niche on which to concen-
trate. What we finally decided was that there might be value in offering a
book for IT practitioners who had limited exposure to Lean, and also make
it appropriate for Lean practitioners who had not yet had the opportunity to
look at IT as a domain of application. There is a bit more focus on the first
audience, if only because the presentation of Lean practices is simplified for
the demands and challenges that often characterize IT work. So, for exam-
ple, we have deliberately simplified many of the Lean tools so that they can
be utilized fairly quickly by IT practitioners. We are hopeful that Lean prac-
titioners who have a more sophisticated understanding of tools and practices
x ◾  Preface
will appreciate the intent behind this presentation, and also will gain some-
thing from a deeper understanding of IT operational work.
Our intention is to bring a practitioner’s orientation to the subject. For the
Lean practitioner, as well as the IT practitioner, we provide a starting point
for doing real-world applications of Lean IT. In fact, our aim is to present
material in such a way that practitioners can consider how to immediately
apply the concepts. We believe that Lean is that intuitive and that easy to
use.
As a product of collaboration, there are others who have helped us along
the way, and we wish to give credit to these individuals for the time and
effort they have spent on our behalf.
For review of draft content, critical feedback, and suggestions, as well
as shared knowledge and experience, we would like to thank the follow-
ing individuals: Judy Gerber (Accenture), John Toth (Hewlett-Packard), Ann
Hickey (University of Colorado at Colorado Springs), Bob Grinsell (Blue
Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota), Dan Lafever (Franciscan Alliance), and
Glenn Coleman (Merck & Co.).
For improvement of many of the operational workflow models used
throughout the book, Howard would like to thank two of his colleagues at
Microsoft, Amy Hariharan and Michael Wheatfill, who generously shared
their knowledge and experience.
For patient rendering of all the figures and models in the book, we would
also like to thank Kayla Ross of University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
Finally, for guiding us through the process of publishing this, our first
book, we would like to thank Michael Sinocchi, Amber Donley, Theresa
Delforn, Jay Margolis, and Sophie Kirkwood of Productivity Press.
On a personal note, Howard would like to thank his wife, Linda, whose
contribution goes well beyond merely tolerating the time spent at work on
the book. Her role included not only active ongoing encouragement, but, in
fact, she can take much of the responsibility for my embarking on this effort
by encouraging me to write a book in the first place, and before then, by
encouraging me to get my MBA. I thank Linda with all my heart.
Rebecca would like to thank her husband, Jim Zerefos, for his continual
support in all her endeavors, her daughter, Kate, for sharing her weekends
with Mom’s book, and all her students who shared their process improve-
ment journeys.

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