124 ◾ Making IT Lean: Applying Lean Practices to the Work of IT
There are other ways of establishing this priority, some of them system-
atic (using tools), and others that are less formal, but the bottom line is the
same. We want to identify root causes that we have reason to believe will
lead to the resolution of problems we identiﬁed in the ﬁrst place. While
there is no single best way to prioritize, it is important for stakeholders to
agree on the criteria in use. In Chapter 8 we will also discuss the impor-
tance of establishing a governance, or decision-making, mechanism, for this
purpose, speciﬁcally to assist in identifying criteria, selecting improvement
projects for solutions, and managing results.
A3 Thinking will guide us to the right set of causes to work from as
well, and the experimental nature of this approach means that some trial-
and-error to get there is to be expected. Pragmatically, what this means is
that we may need practice to derive the optimal set of root causes for any
particular problem, but identifying candidate root causes along the way
can only help us get there. As we mentioned in Chapter 4, it is not uncom-
mon to identify root causes that appear intractable or too big to identify
solutions for and, if this is the case, we probably want to look for other
causal factors that are more straightforward to address. Above all, we don’t
want to get stuck in a place where we feel we cannot make forward prog-
ress on a problem. It is for this reason that we always want to identify a
set of causes from which we can experiment with solutions.
In the server build scenario, we identiﬁed several causes and we suggested
at the time that good identiﬁcation of these made identifying solutions
relatively easy. For example, several causes related to the forms used by the
Apps team to submit their requirements, including the following:
◾ Procedures require a team to evaluate each form according to a set of
criteria that may not apply to all types of conﬁguration requirements.
◾ The form itself is cumbersome and requires time to transfer data from
doc into a spreadsheet where team tracks requirements
through the rest of the workﬂow.
◾ The form instructions are not clear so the Apps team often leaves out