What is Lean IT?

Lean IT is the extension of Lean manufacturing and services principles to IT development and management. Its central concern is the elimination of waste - work that adds no value to an IT process or service.

The essence of Lean is to continually improve IT's ability to deliver customer value. Its key principles include:


Represents the requirements defined by the voice of the customer.

Value Stream

An end-to-end process triggered by the customer that ensures the delivery of value.


Activities must follow each other and be carried to their conclusion with minimal delay.


The service is consumed as it is produced. This is triggered by a request from the customer.


More layers of waste become visible, driving improvements to the process toward the end point of perfection.

Where did Lean IT come from?

Lean management is derived mostly from the Toyota Production System, a philosophy that incorporates tools and techniques into processes to optimize time and productivity while improving the quality of products and services to customers.

Developed over 90 years, the Toyota Production System is grounded in a philosophy that is focused on:

  • Increasing customer value.
  • Eliminating waste.
  • Respecting those engaged in the work.
  • Management as a facilitator.
  • Full utilization of workers’ capabilities.
  • Preserving value with less work.
  • Those doing the work being accountable for it.
  • Continual improvement.

The manifestation of these values can be seen in the authority of any worker on the assembly line to halt production when they find a defect.

Lean IT also incorporates the concepts of Just In Time (JIT) manufacturing and the Six Sigma methodology.

Who is Lean IT for?

Any manager within an IT organization looking to:

  • Achieve operational excellence through improved agility, service quality and efficiency.
  • Build a customer- and value-oriented culture in which employees engage in Lean IT processes.
  • Involve all employees to continually improve services and preserve value with less effort.
  • Optimize IT operations and processes supporting the most business critical applications and services.
  • Implement a rigorous problem-solving process to achieve greater strategic and financial value.

What online resources are available for Lean IT?

For a primer on Lean IT, refer to Quint Wellington Redwood's supporting publication. It covers the:

  • Key principles and characteristics of Lean.
  • Skills and knowledge matrix.
  • Objectives, feedback and performance dialogue.
  • Concept of visible management.
  • Motivation for change.
  • Change story.
  • Lean IT glossary.

Click here for more information.

What is the Lean IT course roadmap?