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Making IT Lean by Rebecca Duray, Howard Williams

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147
Chapter 7
Lean IT Service Management
In this chapter, we take a somewhat different view of IT operational work.
We are going to look at the domain of IT Service Management, which
includes IT operations, but from the perspective of the IT Infrastructure
Library (ITIL). The term IT Service Management identifies both a set of
capabilities (people, process, and technology) as well as an end-state in
which these capabilities support the delivery of IT services. With reference
to the IT domain model for identifying applications for Lean (Chapter 2,
Figure2.4), we are looking at the lower right-hand corner of the diagram.
IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL)
ITIL is a framework of best practices that focuses on the provision of qual-
ity IT services.
1
ITIL is widely used among IT practitioners and has become
an increasingly popular reference model for implementation of both process
and technical solutions within IT. In support of that, ITIL identifies core pro-
cesses to support IT service operations, as well as the recommended work-
ows for many of these processes.
From the ITIL perspective, IT is viewed as a service operation. All con-
cepts within ITIL are positioned within the Service Management lifecycle,
which consists of five phases: Service Strategy, Service Design, Service
Transition, Service Operation, and Continual Service Improvement. A set of
defined functions and processes provide the specialization and coordina-
tion required to implement the full service lifecycle. For example, the phase
of the lifecycle for Service Operation consists of a set of processes that
148 ◾  Making IT Lean: Applying Lean Practices to the Work of IT
are collectively described as “business-as-usual” activities, also sometimes
referred to as the “factory” of IT. In fact, other processes supporting other
lifecycle phases also have operational elements, and our interest here is with
this wider domain of operational activity across all phases.
In ITIL, IT process and quality improvement is achieved through imple-
mentation of best practices across all lifecycle phases, and not just from
within a single phase. Most importantly, the entire phase called Continual
Service Improvement (CSI) provides foundation guidance for sustainable
improvement. Within ITIL, specific quality systems are identified in the con-
text of CSI. One of these quality systems is Lean.
The process-centric view of IT work provides a useful orientation for
implementing improvements in IT work, because it provides an abstraction
of work activities that can be isolated and subjected to ITIL best practices.
For example, those activities that together enable the IT organization to con-
trol changes in the IT environment are addressed within the process called
Change Management.
In ITIL Version 2, several processes and one function (Service Desk)
together comprised the ITIL framework. We mention Version 2 because it
is in the context established in this version where the notion of IT Service
Management applies. We call it a traditional view because it is IT-centric and
essentially addresses how IT can support the business through the effective
and efcient implementation of process-based work.
There is a subtle but significant shift in perspective from ITIL Version 2 to
ITIL Version 3. The emphasis in Version 3 is still on IT Service Management,
but with a stronger focus on what service management means. The notion is
that services are defined in business terms, then mapped to service capabili-
ties within IT that directly meet business requirements. This shift in orienta-
tion is represented in a service-centric lifecycle view within Version 3.
This should sound somewhat familiar, because it is very closely aligned
to the notion of the Business–IT Value Chain, which was discussed in
Chapter 2 (see section Business–IT Alignment), and also aligns rather well
with the Lean perspective on addressing business process efficiencies as
a precondition to identifying supporting IT requirements. From our earlier
discussion, we have an understanding of what it means to Lean a process,
but the notion here suggests the requirement to Lean processes that underlie
the delivery of services. It is a small difference, and from our perspective the
approach and activities we engage in are exactly the same as those we have
been discussing.

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