Lean IT Partnering – in 3 minutes


Compiled by: Vincent Blijleven

Lean IT Partnering

The Basics
Lean, as a philosophy, has been around for quite some time, predominantly in the manufacturing domain. Since the 1990s Lean management provides organizations with a proven way to achieve superior performance by focusing on customer value, innovation and productivity. Lean allows organizations to specify what value is from a customer perspective, enable customers to pull the value from a supply chain and optimize all value-creating activities in the supply chain while eliminating activities that do not, thereby achieving perfection in all steps of end-to-end processes.

In their book Lean IT in 2010, Steven Bell and Michael Orzen comprehensively addressed the implementation of Lean in an IT environment, thereby making an extension from manufacturing to IT. The authors showed that Lean can indeed provide similar and significant opportunities to do more with less, while achieving higher levels of productivity, quality, customer satisfaction and as a result, competitive advantage.

Many large users of Information Technology (IT) have outsourced or co-sourced their IT supply and management services to professional IT service providers. Strategic sourcing models for IT and crafting strategic IT partnerships for the supply, management and use of IT have evolved over time and have reached a satisfactory maturity level. At the same time, many IT sourcing relationships have become strategic in terms of intent and importance.

But what about strategic IT sourcing and applying the Lean philosophy in such strategic relationships? The amount of documented, analyzed and evaluated successful examples of how Lean can be applied in IT partnerships, in particular emphasizing the inter-organizational dimension rather than solely highlighting the intra-organizational dimension, is scarce. Managers who intend to embark on a Lean IT partnering journey unfortunately lack any reference material available to guide them in implementing Lean on an IT partnership level.

Lean IT partnering

This book addresses this deficiency by presenting the results of six IT partnerships studied in which Lean is applied. Accordingly, it presents experienced barriers and drivers for victory, provides lessons learned through the lens of expert practitioners, and postulates suitable guidelines for successful Lean IT partnerships. Among these guidelines are:

  • Crafting an IT partnering strategy that is in line with the business partnering strategy of the organization
  • Demonstrating abundant Lean leadership and encouraging mutual trust across the entire partnership
  • Properly organizing for Lean IT partnering and building a well-understood and shared Lean IT pull system
  • Applying appropriate Lean IT partnering management tools
  • Thinking ahead and continuing to strive for perfection, never taking the relationship for granted

Target Audience and Scope
Courageous people who intend to lead the challenging task of Lean transformation in IT partnerships should read this book to gain a thorough understanding of the success factors, barriers and lessons learned of implementing Lean in IT partnerships, based on six actual case studies. The results are described on an operational, tactical and strategic level.

Relevant Literature

  • Bell, S.C. and Orzen, M.A. (2010). Lean IT: Enabling and Sustaining Your Lean Transformation. Productivity Press.
  • Womack, J.P. and Jones, D.T. (1996). Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation. Productivity Press.


OMS_LEAN_IT_v1 LR-280x290Title: Lean IT Partnering (english version)
ISBN: 9789401800235
Authors: Vincent Blijleven & Yiwei Gong & Han van der Zee
Price: € 29,95 (VAT excl.)
(Expacted in June)

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