First there was lean manufacturing, a concept lifted from the Toyota production system playbook. It was soon followed by a slew of disciplines suddenly eager to go lean, including software development, of course.
Now, John Schmidt, vice president of Global Integration Services at Informatica Corp., contends it's time for integration to go lean.
Schmidt makes a case for applying the lean principles of trimming waste and inefficiencies and focusing on what creates value to integration. Data integration, system integration and enterprise application integration are all ripe for trimming and focusing on value, he contends. He writes:
Integration in each of these domains therefore is not just a one-time activity and instead is an ongoing activity. In summary therefore, Lean Integration is the application of Lean principles to the challenges of data integration and application integration.
He's still researching the concept, but he seems pretty sure he's the first to apply the lean concept to integration. However, he's already outlined a 10-week series of blog posts on the topic, in which he will explain what lean integration would look like, including how you'd eliminate waste, plan for change, sustain knowledge and address Dr. W. Edwards Deming's 14 points.
It's an interesting concept, and I look forward to seeing how Schmidt works out the details. You can subscribe to Informatica's Perspectives blog to get the full series, but you should know that the blog is written by several writers, so your feed will include a lot of other commentaries.
I'm also glad to see everyone hasn't forgotten about Deming in this Six Sigma world. True, Deming doesn't offer the geek-appeal of karate-esque belt levels, but I always thought his principles made a lot of sense.