I think it is fair to say everyone wants a business to run a ‘lean’ as possible. For most that means cutting costs and maintaining services, and assuming that will confer an advantage on the business. Sometimes those cuts are to budgets inside IT teams and these cuts need to be considered as part of the entire lean thinking approach.
Take a step back for a moment and there is an opportunity to think about “lean thinking” in a different way. Consider that lean thinking of course is about reducing waste, but also focusses on adding value, and adding in flexibility and quality. Whereas Six Sigma reduces variability in one part of a process, and TQM starts with the end in mind from a process point of view, lean thinking takes a more holoistic view.
The ability to consider waste, quality, value and flexibility add up to a greater whole and constitute ‘lean thinking’. Forrester research takes this idea further and suggests that lean thinking in the IT department means not being ‘aligned’ with the business objectives, but being joined at the hip to the business. Such team work is called ‘Business Technology’ as an enhanced information technology. I would argue that finding such team work is essential in order to use lean thinking, not for its own sake, but in order to deliver a better customer experience. It is possible to use lean thinking in a broad way that can confer a competitive advantage as long as the end user of the services can benefit.