Understanding the Relationship Between Lean, Agile, and DevOps


With the ever-increasing business demand for IT services, IT organizations need a sustainable way to scale their service capacity. They need to manage the increasing demand, while developing efficient, sustainable processes to safely scale.

To do this, many IT organizations have turned to leading workflow models and concepts, namely: Lean, Agile, and DevOps. These methodologies have come forth through various movements over the past decade. Although often thought to be distinct movements, Agile and DevOps share a common (Lean) goal: to improve the speed and quality of value delivery.

The difference is in the breadth of focus — Agile aims to optimize software development, specifically, which doesn’t consider the other parts of the IT value stream. DevOps recognizes that this just pushes the constraint downstream to Ops, so it works to break down walls between the two. Lean broadens the focus, focusing on optimizing the entire value stream.

The Risk Gap

Without a consistent, methodical approach to IT services management, IT organizations risk jeopardizing the entire business through inefficient, fragmented data systems, slow processes, and insufficient capacity to support business goals.

As an executive consultant, and now as VP of Research and Development at Pink Elephant, Troy has seen the impact that Lean thinking (whether operationalized as Lean, Agile, or DevOps) can have on an IT organization. Lean works to break down silos, identify opportunities for automation and optimization, provide visibility, and improve collaboration across the value stream.

In his experience leading IT service management improvement efforts, Troy has found that drawing from elements of Lean, Agile, and DevOps can help accelerate the value-creating processes of any IT organization.

Watch the Recording

About this Webinar

In this webinar, Troy and LeanKit co-CEO Jon Terry discuss the relationships between Lean, Agile, and DevOps — where they overlap and where they diverge. Then, Troy offers an easy-to-understand blueprint for how these different pieces fit together within the larger puzzle. You’ll learn:

  • How to use the Lean concepts of continuous improvement, visual management, limiting Work in Process (WIP), and more to stay focused on delivering value to the customer
  • How Agile small batch/iterative development improves work quality in development, and how Lean helps that expand across the entire value stream
  • How DevOps uses Lean to improve collaboration, culture, and work quality

Jon explains how to propel the adoption of Lean principles across your value stream with LeanKit. LeanKit was purpose-built for Lean, but with the flexibility to incorporate Agile and DevOps concepts. You’ll learn how your team can use LeanKit to visualize, measure, and improve your IT workflows.

View Troy’s slide deck here.

View Jon’s slide deck here.

Additional Resources

To learn more on this topic, check out Troy’s blog. These posts might be of particular interest:

  • PR 70 – Release Mgmt. & DevOps Teams
  • PR 69 – Using Lean Kaizen Across The Enterprise
  • PR 68 – DevOps, ITSM Release & Aviation Best Practices
  • PR 67 – The Lean IT Field Guide
  • PR 63 – Using Lean Visual Management For ITSM
  • PR 59 – Lean IT – Gaining Sr. Leadership Buy In
  • PR 18 – TOC, LEAN & Six Sigma The Three CSI Sisters

You’re also invited to join the Virtual PinkConnect Program on October 18th, 2016. Participation is free.

Maja Majewski

Maja has always been interested in the intersection of psychology and business. After studying Human and Organizational Development and Corporate Strategy at Vanderbilt University, Maja joined the LeanKit team as a content writer, where she was able to dive deeper into her exploration of how people, processes, and technology interact. She has authored over 200 articles and ebooks for several high-growth B2B companies, including LeanKit, Planview, Customer.io, and Clearbit. She served as the lead writer and researcher on LeanKit's Lean Business Report in 2016.

When not writing about process improvement, Maja practices it in her personal life - finding applications for her mantra "Better than before!" in everything from cooking to exercising. She enjoys spending time at home and going on adventurous vacations with her boyfriend and their German Shorthaired Pointer, Wrigley. Connect with Maja.