The goal of kaizen is to deliver continuous improvement by solving problems and implementing solutions in the pursuit of perfection.
To not just survive but thrive – especially these days – organisations need to continuously improve their business performance.
Continual improvement first gained wide recognition in the manufacturing industry during the 1950s – as part of the focus of applying engineering science to the field of management as exemplified by the Toyota Production System – and grew into what became known as Lean production.
Lean IT – The Beginnings
As the IT industry began to mature in the 1980s and 90s, thought leaders recognised the value of Lean manufacturing’s approach to continual improvement and incorporated Lean’s basic philosophy and principles into a framework known as Lean IT. Continual improvement is integral to Lean IT.
Lean IT’s concept of continual improvement embraces achieving small, incremental changes and is based on structured problem-solving – a series of steps to define, plan, improve, and stabilise a repeatable improvement methodology. By streamlining the resolution of issues, Lean IT delivers services more quickly and efficiently. Lean IT’s continuous improvement is the coexisting attitude within the organisation that directs the ongoing improvement methods. This philosophy is known as kaizen.
What Is Kaizen?
Kaizen is a mindset comprised of the Japanese words kai (change) and zen (for the better) that, together, signify continuous improvement. The goal of kaizen is to deliver continuous improvement by solving problems and implementing solutions in the pursuit of perfection.
Everyone – individuals, IT teams, departments, or divisions within an organisation – needs to adopt a continual improvement mindset and practice to:
A kaizen culture promotes personal accountability, the generation and empowerment of motivated and self-managed teams, and the development of effective employee engagement strategies.
Kaizen Tips and Tools
Kaizen employs many different models and tools to bring out continuous improvement. Some of these include the following:
One of the most important aspects of kaizen is that it should become part of an organisations everyday work, not just a special project that happens periodically. Kaizen contributes to purposeful continuous improvement in any IT organisation.
Learn More about Lean IT, Lean IT Kaizen, and Lean IT Leadership:
Kaizen supports the Lean IT framework goal to make sure every improvement is related to creating more value for customers in the most efficient ways.
Pink offers several Lean IT courses where you can learn the basics of kaizen, dive deep into kaizen, and focus on how a Lean leader embeds kaizen into their organisation: