‘Lean Is’ as ‘Lean Does’ – Good Project Management

Go Lean Commentary

Lean Is as Lean Does

This is a take on that expression “Stupid Is as Stupid Does”. But lean is better than stupid.

Lean’ is the focus of the book Go Lean…Caribbean – available to download for free. The book identifies the word as a noun, a verb, an adjective and an adverb.

It is good to be lean.

But lean does not just happen, it takes real effort to be lean.

This is the awakening, right now at the Wall Street Big Bank CitiGroup. They are making an all-out effort to “do more with less” and they are thusly investing in “process and people” or “people and process” to be lean. They have launched an all-encompassing program branded CitiLean – a continuous improvement program with tangible and measurable benefits to Citi and its customers. This features “process and people” in every sphere of Citi’s operations: employees, contractors, suppliers and vendors. In fact, they even present an annual Lean Partner Award to recognize the supplier that most embodies the spirit of CitiLean. See this story below in Appendix A announcing the 2017 Award Winner.

This program is working for Citi; they are getting the returns on their investment. They have the results to show; see Appendix B with an internal Memo from the bank’s Global Head of Operations & Technology, and the Appendix C VIDEO below.

The Go Lean book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states. The book asserts that this Caribbean super-national governance must be a lean operation, embracing the best-practices of the Art & Science of lean methodologies. The book opens with this introduction of lean (Page 4):

The CU will also be lean (adjective), in that it will not feature a “fat” bureaucracy. To the contrary, the institutions of the CU Trade Federation will embrace lean, agile, efficient organization structures – more virtual, less physical, more systems, less payroll. This will result in less of a tax burden for the people of the Caribbean.

The Go Lean  book explains that with this CU/Go Lean roadmap, we can do more with less; these statements feature the prime directives as such:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies. All CU agencies will be trained and coach in lean methodologies.

The book stresses that reforming and transforming the Caribbean societal engines must be a regional pursuit. This was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12):

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xii. Whereas the legacy in recent times in individual states may be that of ineffectual governance with no redress to higher authority, the accedence of this Federation will ensure accountability and escalation of the human and civil rights of the people for good governance, justice assurances, due process and the rule of law. As such, any threats of a “failed state” status for any member state must enact emergency measures on behalf of the Federation to protect the human, civil and property rights of the citizens, residents, allies, trading partners, and visitors of the affected member state and the Federation as a whole.

While this commentary examines CitiGroup as a hallmark of lean ambition, the Go Lean book identified Toyota Motor Company as a role model. That automaker has provided a great track record of deploying agile/lean methodologies in delivering quality in their design, supply and fabrication processes. Since quality delivery is also a mission of the Go Lean movement, we would want to pay more than the usual attention to Toyota’s and CitiGroup’s examples.  There is the need to employ agile/lean methodologies to ensure that a small organizational footprint – the federal government will be optimized with only 30,000 staffers in all CU agencies – can provide the facilitations to enhance the region’s economic, security and governing engines.

30,000 people administering for 42 million citizens? Yes, we can … with the support of lean/agile systems and methodologies.

This is doing more with less. The Go Lean book explains how

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society … to be more lean. One advocacy that relates to community ethos involves embracing the art and science of Project Management (PM); consider the specific PM plans, excerpts and headlines from the book on Page 109 entitled:

10 Ways to Deliver

1 Lean-in for the Caribbean Single Market
This treaty allows for the unification of the region into one market, expanding to an economy of 30 member-states of 42 million people, with an economic impact of $800 Billion. The CU is a reboot of the economic engines and security apparatus of the region. There are many projects that must be delivered on time, within budget and with a measurable satisfaction. These include Public Works, Information Technologies, Industrialization and others. Embracing a technocratic ethos means that these projects cannot be left to chance and hope for the best. They must be delivered.The CU envisions strict project management disciplines in the planning and executions of these regional endeavors.
2 Agile – Lean

Agile project management is an iterative and incremental method of managing the design-and-build activities for engineering, information technology, and new product or service development projects in a highly flexible and interactive manner. Agile, linked to lean techniques, (delivering more value with less waste) is best used in small-scale projects.

3 PMI/Six Sigma/Kanban Trained Project Managers

The CU will actively recruit Project Managers that are trained in established methodologies, like PMI, CMM (Capabilities-Maturity Model), Six Sigma and Kandan (a scheduling system for lean and just-in-time production).

The CU’s own Project Management Office will establish local standards.

4 Quality Assurance (QA)

QA refers to the engineering activities implemented in a quality system so that requirements for a product or service will be fulfilled. It is a systematic measurement, comparison against standards, monitoring of processes and a structured feedback loop to confer error prevention.

For IT, QA includes phases like integrated system testing, regression testing and stress testing.

5 Outsourcing needs Project Management
6 In-sourcing
7 Service Continuity – ITIL
8 Financial Guarantees
9 Big Data Analysis

The CU’s embrace of e-Government and e-Delivery models allows for a lot of data to be collected and analyzed so as to measure many aspects of Caribbean life, including: trade, economic, consumption, societal values and macro-performance, and media consumption. This way, “course adjustments” can be made to strategic and tactical pursuits..

10 Legislative Oversight

The subject of project management methodology and deliveries is not new for this Go Lean roadmap; there have been a number of previous blog-commentaries by the Go Lean movement that referenced these concepts. See a sample list here:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=14316 Forging Change with Soft Power, Methodology and Persuasion
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=11184 JPMorganChase spent $10 billion on ‘Fintech’ for 1 year
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=8306 Women Get Ready for New Lean-In Campaign
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7769 Being Lean: Asking the Question ‘Why’ 5 Times
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7646 Methodology for going from ‘Good to Great
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3956 Art and Science of Collaboration
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3152 The formal process of Making a Great Place to Work®

Yes, we can make our homeland a better place by being lean. This is how the stewards of this new Caribbean can fulfill the Go Lean vision: a better region to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.


Appendix A – SHI Wins Citi Lean Partner Award
Sub-title: Award recognizes SHI as a valued partner that helped accelerate Citi’s software license deployment

SOMERSET, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–SHI International, one of North America’s top 10 largest IT solutions providers, has been granted the Citi Lean Partner Award by Citigroup, Inc., in recognition of SHI’s high levels of service, performance, and collaboration with Citi. The award was announced at the Citi Supplier Awards event held Sept. 25 in New York.

The Lean Partner Award recognizes the supplier that has most embodied the spirit of CitiLean, a continuous improvement program with tangible and measurable benefits to Citi and its customers. It honors speed to purpose (rapid and consistent turnaround time for services delivered), quality, efficiency, controls, and overall customer experience, allowing Citi to pursue growth and economic progress.

SHI partnered with Citi to re-design and implement software solution processes, resulting in a more streamlined environment.

“SHI’s years of software licensing and IT asset management expertise made possible a process that significantly reduced the time and resources it takes for Citi to make its employees productive, allowing Citi to improve its own level of service to its customers,” said Thai Lee, President and CEO of SHI. “Our work with Citi shows what SHI does best: understand our customers’ IT and business needs and create a solution that exceeds their expectations. This award recognizes a true partnership, one founded on shared values of quality, customer service, and continuous improvement.”

For more information on SHI, please visit www.shi.com and blog.shi.com.


Founded in 1989, SHI International Corp. is a $7.5 billion+ global provider of technology products and services. Driven by the industry’s most experienced and stable sales force and backed by software volume licensing experts, hardware procurement specialists, and certified IT services professionals, SHI delivers custom IT solutions to Corporate, Enterprise, Public Sector, and Academic customers. With over 3,500 employees worldwide, SHI is the largest Minority and Woman Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) in the U.S. and is ranked 9th among CRN’s Solution Provider 500 list of North American IT solution providers. For more information, visit https://www.SHI.com.

Press Resources

SHI Corporate Website: https://www.SHI.com
SHI Blog: https://blog.SHI.com
SHI Twitter Handle: @SHI_Intl

For SHI International:
Gregory FCA
Mike Lizun, 610-642-1435

Source: Posted October 12, 2018; retrieved August 9, 2018 from: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20171012006506/en/SHI-Wins-Citi-Lean-Partner-Award


Appendix B – Citi Internal Message From Don Callahan, Global Head of Operations & Technology

May 18, 2018 – I am very pleased to announce more than 80,000 employees have been trained through the CitiLean Digital Training Academy. It was only last March when we celebrated our 50,000 mark!  

This is an outstanding accomplishment. More than one-third of the entire organization – and over 90 percent of the EO&T workforce – has an understanding of how to identify and drive end-to-end process change.

To my CitiLean Colleagues, I thank and applaud you for your diligence and dedication to the program. CitiLean is more than just a way to standardize and optimize processes. It’s a way to facilitate remarkable client experiences or, in other words, a way to Be the Best for our Clients.

I urge you to continue to grow, hone, and practice your CitiLean skills. The CitiLean Team has designed and revamped a number of programs to encourage knowledge sharing and application of CitiLean methodologies into projects and daily routines. With the online training modules providing a foundation, you can apply what you’ve learned by completing these new, interactive CitiLean in Action exercises to improve your own personal productivity, receive GLMS credit hours, and earn Collaborate badges.

For our 25,000+ Apprentices, I encourage you to practice and apply your CitiLean skills in the “CitiLean Apprentice Challenge”. This friendly contest encourages you to identify a process to improve using CitiLean and complete a full case study with estimated impacts of the solution ideas. Similar to last year, the winners of the Challenge – which runs through the month of July – will have the opportunity to present their case studies to Citi’s Senior Leaders.

CitiLean, the change it drives and mindset it facilitates, is central to the continued growth and well-being of Citi. There are many programs throughout my time with Citi that I’ve been passionate about, and CitiLean is certainly one of them.

Thank you again for your continued participation, commitment, and enthusiasm for CitiLean.

– Don

SOURCE: Non-confidential Internal Memo


Appendix C VIDEO – Rewiring Citi for the digital age – https://youtu.be/7UN1q4wdDLE

Published on Dec 8, 2016 – Citigroup’s Head of Operations and Technology describes the bank’s efforts to accelerate its digital transition, as well as the importance of having the right talent and agility to pull it off. Learn more: http://www.mckinsey.com/business-func…

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