Blog Archives

Lean IT Forum 2018 – Closing Keynote

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Accelerating Innovation with Lean, Agile and DevOps

From the perspective of Lean IT, Agile, and DevOps what is innovation and why is it important? Lean IT, Agile, and DevOps provide a solid collection of tools and methods to create more effective IT teams and value streams, but what steps and tools can we leverage to drive innovation and rapid advancement within IT? This talk explores the central drivers of accelerating innovation and provides specific examples of its application in IT environments. How do I make sense of the various methods of Lean IT, Agile, and DevOps to drive innovation? Discover a unifying model you can use to pull these disciplines into alignment and avoid confusion from the “big three.”
Join Lean IT pioneer and innovator Mike Orzen as he pulls together themes from the day’s great speakers.
Thrilled to have Pierre Masai, CIO of Toyota Europe, begin the summit with a talk on “The route from Toyota Production System to Lean IT, Scrum and DevOps!” I have known Pierre for several years and always learn a great deal whenever I hear him speak. What a privilege to have him attend this year’s forum.

Authentic Leadership – Effective Leadership for Agile, Lean & DevOps

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A Valuable 2-Day Masterclass for Leaders and their Direct Reports – 

Getting results applying Agile, Lean & DevOps is common but usually relies on a handful of people who carry most of the weight because they are excited by the new tools and methods. These early adopters act as champions of change and are essential at the start of an IT transformation. For change to persist, innovation to be sustained and continuously improved, everyone needs to be engaged!

This is where effective leadership is crucial. Using hands-on exercises and role play, this workshop will position you to understand and experience the key behaviors needed to effectively lead Agile, Lean IT & DevOps teams through an enterprise transformation.

Currently, most DevOps, Lean IT, and Agile transformations are not led by CIOs. They are often led by the director of operations, chief architect, or director of development. It is good these people have been given the authority and/or responsibility to introduce a significant change in the way work gets done. But there is a potential downside: without the vision, alignment, and commitment a CIO brings to the discussion, these efforts can collapse for many reasons including lack of commitment across the entire IT service delivery value stream, conflicting priorities, entrenched silos within IT, lack of internal coaching and support, and overburden of bottleneck resources (just to name a few).

The success of the transformation begins and all too often ends, based on the degree the CIO and their direct reports actively lead and authentically connects. To lead people effectively, leaders need to understand the “Why,” the “What,” and the “How.” This is a mindset, skill set, and toolset that needs to be learned, practiced,  and adjusted based on the culture of the specific organization and the challenges they encounter. Leaders throughout the organization must be able to connect with people at a very real and meaningful level that fosters trust, transparency, respect, and new ways of working across silos. This is tricky stuff for almost everyone and the CIO is the pivotal influencer of how seriously and deeply people will go to make their transformation succeed.



Lead with Respect Workshop at LEI HQ!

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Lead with Respect – Practicing Respect for People to Enable Engagement, Teamwork & Accountability at the Lean Enterprise Insititute

Building a great organization requires effective leadership. It turns out that leadership skills can be learned. A key element that is often misunderstood is what it means to lead with respect. This learning session explores why leading with respect is essential in a successful transformation, what respect looks like in practice, and how it impacts your people to drive lasting change for the better.

The session provides an in-depth application and practice of the model introduced in the book, Lead with Respect, a novel of lean practice, by Michael and Freddy Ballé and was developed in collaboration with Professor Balle’.

Leading with respect involves awareness of our focus and intention, and how well we are connecting with people to create an environment of mutual trust and sustained high levels of performance. This is accomplished through the application of 7 core practices:

  • Go and See for Yourself: a primary skill of Lead with Respect is going to the gemba, where value is created, to see with your own eyes to begin to deeply understand the work environment and the obstacles your people face every day
  • Create a Meaningful Challenge: a key to getting people to work together is to agree on the problem before disagreeing about solutions – rather than setting fixed goals and objectives, challenge is about fostering self-generating relentless improvement
  • Listen Effectively: listening well means standing in the shoes of another and looking through their eyes to understand their point of view and the reality of the obstacles they face
  • Teach and Coach: the heart of people development is problem-based learning – teaching and coaching is a learned skill that requires a clear understanding of the mindset, methods, and skills of effective coaching
  • Support Others: the practice of daily improvement is the key to creating a kaizen culture – daily improvement is a natural offshoot of visual controls as teams see for themselves where the process is not performing and work to improve performance
  • Foster Teamwork: teamwork is the individual skill of working with others across borders – teamwork starts by respecting another’s opinion and trying to understand their point of view (which doesn’t always mean agreeing) – it also means knowing how to separate the person from the problem – being tough on the problem without placing blame so that a genuine win-win space can develop
  • Learn as a Leader: leaders discerning new ways of seeing the business to discover sources of strategic advantage – by enabling development of those around them, leaders learn to seek out others’ insights and discover what they have to teach them

Driving outcomes centered on Results & Relationships:

Effective leadership requires a dual focus: achieve great results through great behavior. Fostering the right behavior in others requires solid relationships built on trust, respect, transparency, and consistency. This workshop positions to drive engagement, teamwork, accountability, and trust!

Following this session, participants will be able to:

  • Vividly understand the 7 key practices of Lead with Respect
  • Apply Lead with Respect principles to their daily work
  • Manage their personal journey of development and growth 


Through instruction, small group discussions, and hands-on exercises, session participants will:

  • Understand how to apply the 7 practices of Lead with Respect
  • Learn by doing through a series of exercises and breakouts
  • Leave the workshop with a personal plan for growth and practice
  • Return to work with a new paradigm of Leadership

Who should attend? 

  • Senior Leaders
  • Managers
  • Improvement Deployment Leaders & Lean Champions
  • Lean and CI Practitioners of all levels

Comments from a Workshop Attendee: 

Mike Orzen’s way of connecting the heart of leadership with the effectiveness of Lean Management System tools was the key that allowed my passion for who I am as a leader to engage fully.  As is probably true with many working with relatively new Lean Management System concepts, I was convinced that I had to focus on the tools, the steps, the data and concrete actions.  And as a relational leader, I struggled with how I showed up given that focus, it did not feel genuine, it was not who I was. This workshop helped me to move to a new level of understanding and a commitment to learning and doing.

Strategic Planning Workshop (Private)

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A two-day work session focused on the creation/fine-tuning of a strategic plan (day 1) and tactical execution (day 2)

Day 1:

  • Understanding strategy in relation to mission, values, and vision
  • Cultural impact on strategy
  • Developing the core components of strategy
  • Creating measures that matter
  • Introduction: a framework for executing a strategy (if we have time on day one)

Day 2:

  • Day 1 refresh
  • Framework for executing strategy (cont’d from day 1)
  • Measures that matter
  • Balanced Scorecard model
  • Plan-Do-Check-Act and A3 thinking
  • Mobilizing strategy

Comments from participants:

  •  Invaluable session with a clear focus on moving from strategy to execution. Worth two days of my time!
  • We finally have some consensus around the intentional culture we need to build and our role as leaders.
  • Thank you for the clarification of measures and how they can be used to motivate and not threaten people.
  • Creating a culture of transparency, trust, and accountability – how to actually accomplish this was my key takeaway – thank you!
  • Integrating A3 thinking and stuctured problem solving at the strategic level is something our organization had been missing and severely needed.

Contact to bring this impactful workshop to your organization.


Applying Standard Work to Create Flow for Service

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  • A case study utilizing a service center at Nationwide Insurance is used to illustrate the application of lean in a service environment
  • Creating Flow in a Service Environment module includes:
    • Leveraging standard work in a service environment including quantifying demand, analyzing takt, and resource utilization
    • Identifying impediments to flow related to work balance, actual versus takt, and developing countermeasures for leveling work across the value stream

Comments from attendees:

  • Having the case studies helped to decipher the concepts and was very helpful – thank you!
  • Great content!
  • This session was great! Much needed for service area, wish we had some of this earlier
  •   I found this content and work to be the some of the most relevant & pertinent thus f
  • r! Really enjoyed the pre-lunch objectives; they were very real world & stimulated me to think about ways to apply concepts back in the workplace
  • I liked the class today. It was very helpful to hear & discuss service value streams. The discussion helped me to clearly understand the relationship between value stream mapping and standard work.
  • One of the best sessions of the entire Master’s program!

Contact to bring this impactful workshop to your organization.

Leading Change Workshop (Private)

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Building a great organization requires effective leadership. One of the most difficult challenges is getting people onboard when significant change is introduced in the workplace. This is particularly true when major changes in technology impact work routines for people who have performed their job in the same way for long periods of time.

Leading change requires leaders to develop new skills and a willingness to work with others to position them to accept, embrace and support change. This workshop will address the issues and challenges of change as they relate to an IT organization by using specific examples of other IT groups who have navigated the change management aspects of significant technology transformation.

This 2-day workshop includes a surprise use of “tools” we will use to model our key learnings!


Through instruction, small group discussions, role play and exercises, workshop participants will:

  • Understand what it takes to lead change
  • Learn by doing through a series of hands-on exercises and role play
  • Leave the workshop with a personal plan for growth and practice
  • Return to work with a new paradigm of leadership and change management

Contact to bring this impactful workshop to your organization.

Agile New Zealand – Keynote and Workshops

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Connecting the Dots: Agile, DevOps, Lean IT 

“Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful.” This quote captures the fact that in the complex world of IT we need the best insights and methods Agile, DevOps and Lean IT offer to drive radical improvement. No single body of knowledge has all the answers, yet combined they offer a roadmap towards sustained sweeping change for the better. In this talk, we’ll explore the relationship between Lean IT, Agile and DevOps and the paradigm that creates trust, engagement, and results.

Plus: Lean IT Roadmap workshops in Wellington, Christchurch, and Aukland (November 8, 9, 10).

Ask the Author Webinar: Value Stream Mapping for DevOps

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Join us for the next Ask the Author webinar on October 31 at 11:00 a.m. EDT! Listen to author and thought leader Mike Orzen talk with Jayne Groll, CEO of the DevOps Institute, about the newest Drilldown course: Value Stream Mapping for DevOps.

This non-certification course “drills down” into the principles and practices necessary for mapping IT’s value streams to transition to a DevOps environment. Value stream mapping has been identified as a core DevOps competency. All levels of IT practitioners should be able to identify where and how they contribute to the delivery of value to the end customer.

Can’t make the webinar on this date? Simply register and we will send you the webinar recording after it is complete.

Register Here!

Lean IT Summit Keynote

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Lean IT, DevOps & Agile – Learnings from Nationwide

Six years ago, Nationwide (an insurance and financial services company with US$26 billion in annual revenues) embarked on building industry leading software engineering capabilities. Their lean journey has enabled and engaged their 9,000+ person IT organization to deliver great solutions to customers and partners with ever-increasing levels of quality.

In this session, we’ll explore the lean system that guides all aspects of software engineering, service management and infrastructure including a lean management system from the frontline to the C-suite, a focus on problem solving, visual management, accountability, and what is possible when technology and lean come together.

The lean management system built at Nationwide is described in the book The Lean IT Field Guide, co-authored with the person primarily responsible for the transformation. Hear their stories and discover how you can benefit from their success!

Lean IT Summit – Lean IT Master Class: Building Your Lean IT Roadmap

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Program Description: The most difficult step to take in a Lean IT transformation (be it agile, DevOps, service management, etc.) is the very first one. Organizations fall into the trap of learning lean concepts and talking about the possibilities, but the initial excitement fades and the transformation never gets off the ground. Lack of alignment to organizational purpose, inability to figure out where to start, and fear of making mistakes all conspire to keep companies from ever getting started in the first place.

This one day workshop, based on the book, The Lean IT Field Guide by Mike Orzen and Tom Paider, will provide participants with an understanding of the foundational elements needed for a successful lean transformation and practical experience identifying and executing the key activities of pre-launch and day zero activities.

The workshop will focus on preparing you to implement a solid foundation of a sustainable lean transformation, not just focus on terms, definitions, and theory without application!

Benefits: In this interactive workshop you will:

· Gain understanding of the core elements of the Lean IT Roadmap and how to apply it to your DevOps/agile/lean transformation
· Identify your organization’s current strengths, challenges, and readiness to begin a Lean IT transformation
· Learn to apply key concepts, methods, and tools critical to successful transformation
· Acquire the skills to plan and launch a lean transformation using a case study simulation
· Reflect on how you will apply these concepts and tools to get started on the right path or to check/adjust in your organization

Who should take this class? Agile, DevOps and Lean IT practitioners of all levels + those responsible for leading real change in IT

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