Agile is an approach initially adopted in software development environments where solutions needed to be developed in strict alignment with (often changing) requirements and through tight collaboration between software development teams—characterized for ideally being self-organized and cross-functional—and the customer/user.
From its first adoptions around a decade ago, Agile quickly started to gain global popularity and credibility among the IT community (SCRUM being the most common methodology related to Agile) due to the positive results that software development teams were delivering to the business. For the first time after many years, IT departments started delivering tangible value to businesses in all industries by delivering projects faster, with less defects and more stability.
With its origins in the manufacturing industry, Lean is a concept that focuses on the reduction of waste in a process in order to improve the value stream and increase the effectiveness of the process, hence the value delivered to the customer.
Lean has helped transform organizations of all kinds throughout the years, and as organizational priorities change with the modernization of industries, Lean has moved its focus from Manufacturing to IT, applying much the same way, but to different types of activities and processes that organizations now perform to do business.
Together, Agile and Lean are powerful tools that IT organizations can leverage to successfully meet customer requirements. Besides improving the speed of delivery and stability of software developments, these approaches are also changing the traditional IT Service Management processes that IT operations has been using for a long time; these processes now must be agile and lean in order to support the constantly changing organizational requirements. Concepts like ‘Agile Service Management’ and roles like an ‘Agile Process Owner’ are increasingly gaining importance in many IT organizations worldwide.
Digital Transformation is impacting all industries, and even though it’s transforming mainly business processes, it is the IT department that is taking the most active role in making it happen. For an IT organization to succeed with this critical mission, it must have the required capabilities to respond quickly and effectively to continuous change; and Agile & Lean are key for this.
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