In some of my past articles, I have focused on the 8 Deadly Process Wastes in Services, Lean IT Ticketing Processes, and The Lean IT Trifecta. Today however, I’d like to narrow the discussion from my experience and talk about the 8 Deadly Process Wastes in the Information Technology (IT) sector.

I’ve been working in IT for several years now, mostly in the ITIL and Lean Six Sigma capacity. I have seen the waste that exists in IT services and the costly impact that it has on organizations. These wastes exist in your processes and takeaway from the intended value and add time and cost to the process. In IT, we have numerous tools to help mitigate this from happening, and yet, we continue to find HUGE wastes in IT. Lean can teach us a lot about how to provide the right services in a timely manner to our customers.

Let’s recap the 8 wastes (in services) and look at four examples of these wastes that I have seen in IT.

 

Inventory – In IT, inventory could mean three things. Physical assets (e.g. computers, servers, monitors), software assets (e.g. licenses), and tickets/information. I have seen tickets pile up in front of a queue (aka inventory) because the process was not efficient. You should look for these bottlenecks and determine what can be done to improve the flow of tickets/information. Just as having the costly excess of physical assets, bottlenecks that cause excess ticketing pileups will cost the organization money and time, let alone, keep the customer waiting for fulfillment of their request or incident.

Waiting – I worked on a project where a team would receive hundreds of request emails a week, usually for an approval. Nearly 100% of the time, this team required additional information before they would be able to approve the request. The team was wasting time waiting for more information from the user and often the users would end up waiting for information from others too. In the meantime, the team had to manually manage an email queue of pending requests. Nobody liked the correct process! Ultimately, I improved the Service Catalog offerings and implemented a new ticketing approval process workflow. The User is informed up front of the required information to provide for their request to be approved. This project saved the company nearly 4,000 hours of wasted time in their processes.

Transportation – I can’t tell you how many times I have seen an IT ticket (request or incident) transferred from one assignment group to another to another to… There are many reasons for this to happen, most of which are not necessary, and they waste the time that the team has to work tickets and ultimately keep the customer waiting. When this happens, it is common to add days or even weeks to the process! What a waste! Efforts should be taken to reduce this from happening. That may include improving your Service Catalog, training the help desk, and asking better questions or providing better information to the user/submitter of the ticket.

Defects – Defects happen more often than we realize, so often that we become accustomed to it and accept them as just the way things are, or worse, we feel that we are adding process value by spending our time fixing these errors, mistakes, and rework. I have even found over-complicated workflows that strive to fix these defects, resulting in cumbersome processes that are hard to navigate and frustrating for the customer. I recently worked on an IT improvement project where a team would validate and change ticketing information before allowing the remaining ticket workflow to proceed (aka checking for defects and reworking as necessary). We now have a solution which I am implementing to fully automate the workflow process and reduce manual intervention/rework.

What wastes have you seen in IT? Please share by commenting below!

 

Tell me your thoughts in the comments and let’s open a dialog. I would be excited to hear other opinions on this topic.

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Chad Higgins

Chad Higgins

Contributing Author

With 12 years of diverse project management experience, Chad brings a unique perspective to PMforToday.com. Whether it was at the start of his career as an ice cream store manager or more recently as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and ITIL leader in the telecommunications arena, Chad has always zeroed in on the kinds of changes that make a business function more effectively. Chad's formal background in process improvement complements his seasoned project repertoire. He's never found a team or process that couldn't improve in some area, and Chad is a firm believer that a healthy company culture is fundamental to any process improvement initiative.

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