PL: Are you looking forward to this year’s Lean IT Summit?
Dan Jones:I am!The Lean IT Summit in Paris has been one of the most interesting developments in the lean movement in several years. It has brought different players together who had not previously communicated and it has revealed that we actually share an awful lot of experiences and challenges (it’s just that ours relate to physical work, while theirs relate to knowledge work). We have a lot to learn from one another.
PL: What is your presentation going to be about?
DJ:I am going to trace the evolution of agile thinking, show how startup and user experience (UX) have added to that experience, and how we all face the same challenge - leveraging the lessons we learn across the business, rather than only using them to improve the technical problems we encounter in our own functions.
PL: What do you think about the potential convergence of all these methodologies and lean?
In many ways agile was founded as a way of carving out a place for creatives to develop software solutions, and with that came a responsibility for them to learn how to organize the work better in that space. Understanding this need has defined much of the evolution of movements like Extreme Programming, DevOps, and so on, and mirrors what we in the “traditional lean movement” have learned over time.
There is also a common challenge that lean and all of the “IT methodologies” face: building a management system that allows them to support the ways of working (whether knowledge or physical work) they advocate for and that can scale up what works within one function or small organization into a much larger environment.
Coming together, we can take those shared learning’s back to our individual communities to progress them.
PL: How do you see the role of IT evolving in the future?
DJ:IT knowledge is no longer just a preserve of the IT function. In fact, most in the next generation of employees are as technically competent as many of those working in any IT department.
IT has to be part of every piece of the work in any organization and it must not design products and services for people, but with people. The old business model of IT as a separate business function is therefore gone. Instead, we have to break IT functions down and disperse the techies across all value streams. This will turn IT from a power source in the organization (which tells people how to work) to an enabling function that provides the infrastructure in which value can flow.
For video interviews with speakers from previous editions of the Lean IT Summit, check out the following links:
Daniel Jones is co-author of the seminal books The Machine that Changed the World, Lean Thinkingand Lean Solutions;and co-founder of the lean movement. He is founding chair of the Lean Enterprise Academyin the UK.