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Making IT Lean by Rebecca Duray, Howard Williams

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57
Chapter 4
The Lean Improvement Model
In Chapter 3, we introduced some of the basic concepts of Operations
Management (OM) and indicated that this provided a context for understand-
ing Lean. Now, we would like to provide a more detailed look at Lean con-
cepts, as well as background and some of the distinguishing characteristics
of what is sometimes referred to as the Lean Approach.
The elements of the Lean Approach, which we will discuss in this chap-
ter, can be brought together within what we call the Lean Improvement
Model. This is our shorthand way of referring to a somewhat prescriptive
representation of the Lean Approach, and in a sense, is our way of answer-
ing the question: “What is Lean?
As discussed in the Introduction, the Lean Improvement Model provides
a framework for presentation of essential concepts and ideas. We will use
this model throughout the book as the reference point for many of our dis-
cussions on application of Lean to the work of IT. It is sometimes said that
models are neither right nor wrong, but what really matters is how useful
they are. We hope that the reader will find the model useful as a way of
understanding and using Lean concepts.
In order to use the Lean Improvement Model (Figure4.1), we believe it
really doesn’t matter where one begins or even how one begins. The point
is to begin the journey. In general, we believe that if the IT practitioner
is focusing on Lean Thinking, and Lean Learning addressing problems or
opportunities using A3 and PDCA (Plan–DoCheck–Act), judiciously using
Lean tools, or leveraging the Lean Enablers, that he or she is in the Lean
ballpark. In other words, it’s the right place to begin the Lean journey.
58 ◾  Making IT Lean: Applying Lean Practices to the Work of IT
The really important thing is that the Lean orientation is adopted when con-
sidering the use of specific Lean practices.
We mentioned (in the Introduction) as an analogy for practicing a skill
playing the piano or some other practice of interest to the reader, and we
believe that these are simple but strong analogies (the best kind) to what
IT practitioners should be trying to do. You will read books, you will
do training, you will perhaps get a coach, but we think that, above all,
you should start to practice Lean in the context of your workplace. Start
small, build on success, learn more, and then extend the scope of Lean
applications.
As you read through this chapter, we suggest that you refer back to the
model itself so you can maintain context for each section. We will begin
with Lean Thinking and then walk through the other components of the
model. As we have suggested, it is in working all the pieces together that
will add value over time.
ink is Way
Do is Work
Use ese Tools
Enable Everything
Learn To Improve
Essentials of
Lean inking
Lean Tools
Lean Enablers
Lean Learning
• Customer Value
• Flow through Value Stream
• Elimination of Waste
• Continuous Improvement
• Employee Empowerment
• Management Support
• Training & Education
• Decentralized Decision-Making
• Others
• VSM
• Checklists
• 5S
• Go and See
• Others
• A3 inking
• Plan Do Check Act
Lean Problem Solving
1. Identify the problem
a) Learn to see the problem
b) Make problems visible
2. Understand the problem
3. Identify and plan the solution
4. Implement the solution
5. Manage and improve the solution
Figure4.1 The Lean Improvement Model.

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