Lean Agility Inc. 
Beginner level

Thinking beyond technology: Delighting the business with less software

Monday, Oct. 30 Location Code
8:00am-12:00pm Huntington Convention Center MW/10



This content will not be available on-demand.

Lean and IT, when combined, can turbo-charge your organization’s digital transformation – while getting your Lean/CI practice a seat at the digital table.


In all the enthusiasm for digital transformation, lean and IT are often seen as competitors, trying to solve the same business problems in conflicting ways.  IT usually gets all the resources and funding, whereas lean rarely sits at the table.  This is a mistake that poses a serious risk to any digital transformation.  When lean thinking is not involved upfront in digital projects, technology is used as the default solution for every problem, and the IT projects soon become bloated with cost and time overruns.  It takes far too long to reap any benefits, and half the problems are still unsolved. 

Conversely, by bringing IT and lean expertise together as collaborators, not competitors, your business can distinguish clearly between problems that can be solved using low-tech, process-based interventions, and those that can be solved with software and hardware. As a result, IT’s list of requirements shrinks, enabling them to deliver lighter-weight, right-sized solutions.  Problems get solved more effectively, IT resources are freed up to deliver more digital solutions, and digital projects are delivered ahead of time and under budget.

In this workshop you will learn:

  • Why software solutions are often over-delivered and at what cost
  • Why it is crucial to identify the critical business problems behind proposed software solutions
  • How to articulate a business problem more effectively
  • How to distinguish between the symptoms and the true causes of a problem, including many often-overlooked root causes
  • How to distinguish between algorithmic vs. heuristic work-- and in which cases software can and cannot help to solve the problems related to each
  • How to harness automation and AI to create flow instead of creating point improvements
  • How to use lean problem-solving methods to create better digital solutions


Lean Agility is obsessed with making lean practical and achievable for office and administrative work for both the private and public sectors. We combine lean thinking and proprietary tools and methods developed over 23 years of implementing lean in various industries to help people eliminate backlogs, find capacity, improve quality and deliver products/services faster.

We excel at improving high-volume transactional processes like permits and payments but specialize in dramatically transforming the kinds of processes that take up a significant share of office work capacity like creating and approving documents and strategic planning. We know how because our associates are all experienced professionals who successfully implemented lean for their employers and have brought lean into 100s of businesses as outside facilitators. We are committed to passing on our knowledge of lean, leaving behind the skills you need to get results without outside help. www.leanagility.com


Craig Szelestowski is a lean/agile transformation specialist with over two decades of experience implementing dramatic turnarounds. He founded Lean Agility Inc. in 2010 to apply lean exclusively to knowledge work/government organizations. With his coaching, his clients have reduced delivery times by up to 95%, increased capacity by up to 400%, and created outstanding levels of employee engagement. In his public service career as vice president of human resources, lean and quality, he led the Royal Canadian Mint’s lean transformation which helped move the organization through a challenging era of cutbacks and job losses into an extended period of financial and organizational health and stability. During his tenure, the Mint realized tens of millions of dollars of lean improvements dramatically reduced the time and effort to deliver its products and services, moving from a financial loss to a profit of over $68 million. Employee engagement improved from 100 grievances to 20 per year, and was named by Maclean’s magazine as one of “Canada’s Top 100 Employers” from 2007 to 2010.  Szelestowski has led the development of Lean Agility’s training curriculum to include: White, yellow, green and black belt certification; lean document creation and approval, results – not resistance; lean management systems; and lean strategic planning and deployment. He is widely regarded as one of Canada’s leading experts on applying lean to both knowledge/project-based work and more transactional work such as permits and applications. Szelestowski has a finely tuned sense of how executives can transform their work to get more done while living and working in balance. 

He has served multiple times as a part-time professor at the Telfer School of Business at the University of Ottawa. He is currently the director of lean content at the Telfer Centre for Executive Leadership and has taught lean to Telfer’s MBA students. He contributes to "Canadian Government Executive" magazine, other publications and podcasts. Szelestowski is a frequent speaker at a list of conferences and events too long to state here. He founded the annual Lean Government Summit in 2011 and served as the Mint’s official languages co-champion from 2004 to 2010. 

Ken Eakin is the author of "Office Lean: Understanding and Implementing Flow in Administrative and Professional Environments" (CRC Press, 2020). He works as a lean consultant, coach, facilitator, and trainer at Lean Agility, specializing in office and knowledge work. Before becoming a consultant, Eakin held various positions in his 20+ year working career, including senior advisor of operational excellence at Export Development Canada and process improvement manager with Maersk Line. He has an MA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MBA from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. He teaches part-time in the MBA program at the University of Ottawa’s Telfer school of management.