Monday, March 8, 2010

Lean I.T.

There are many ways that I.T. can use the principles of Lean to improve its processes.  One of the most critical areas is documentation.

Too often I.T. departments have all their eggs in one basket.  Over time, knowledge that is critical to the functioning of business critical applications and infrastructure finds itself residing in the mind(s) of one or two individuals.  When an employee leaves (or is laid off or gets hit by a bus!), the knowledge they have accumulated walks out the door with them.  The only way to keep this knowledge in house is to develop a procedure for documenting all of your I.T. processes.  Here are some ideas for getting started:
  • Develop "playbooks" for each position in I.T.  This book would contain a standard work document that details the responsibilities of the job, process maps for each function, tips and tricks for performing each task, a list of all contacts and what each contact can help with, a list of requisite skills / training needed to be successful in the position, the location of any tools / software / manuals etc, a list of the metrics used to measure the performance of the person in the position
  • Implement robust help desk software.  This will help you document fixes and develop a knowledgebase that can be searched not only by the I.T. personnel but also by end-users.
  • Develop best practice sharing. Sharepoint is an excellent tool for doing this. 
  • Document your infrastructure.  Don't just keep the information in a Visio document on the file server. Place critical information about equipment with the equipment.  For example, you can keep a card with each server that contains; server name, asset number, IP address and other network settings, model / sn, bios info, drive info, backup info and most important, contact info for the person who can fix it!
Those are just some ideas to get you started on documenting your I.T. processes.  Don't wait until the only person who knows how to fix that annoying error on the CRM software leaves the company!  Get started today and save yourself some headaches in the future.  I will discuss more about this topic in the future.

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