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
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 efﬁcient 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