Some might think the ideas and principles of Lean are worlds apart from how Enterprise Application Integration is practiced today. At the same time, it is obvious that EAI needs to be highly flexible and agile to be able to cope with the increasing demands of the ever-evolving businesses of today. Lean Enterprise Application Integration might be the answer.

You don’t want your company to be dead in the water just because IT can’t move fast enough. Nor do you want to make rash decisions and build quick’n’dirty solutions that won’t hold up in the real world. A balance between building a solid foundation and enabling rapid development at the same time is required. Lean promises the needed efficiency, agility and built-in quality.

Start from the Big Picture to enable Lean Enterprise Application Integration

Integration is as demanding as software development, and often even more so. This is because integration development usually involves numerous systems, multiple vendors, and complex processes connecting it all.

This is where the special requirements for successfully running Lean EAI come into play. To get the efficiency, agility and quality out of Lean Integration, you also need an efficient and agile way of getting enough timely information for everybody involved in integration development.

You need an efficient and agile way of getting timely information for everybody involved in integration development. can be used throughout the life-cycle of EAI. With it you can start seeing the big picture right at the beginning of the first development iteration. Furthermore, the big picture produces will reflect how the integrations evolve, creating effectively a “living documentation”.

You cannot have an empowered team if they have trouble understanding the system and its processes. You cannot continuously improve or optimize the whole if getting enough information and feedback takes too much time or effort. This is why we insist that getting the big picture is the key to successful Lean Integration.

Build documentation in rather than practice archaeology

In the spirit of Lean Integration, the focus should be on creating customer value and eliminating waste. Much of the Lean Integration principles revolve around “the big picture” and the end-to-end process. Getting that big picture and keeping it up-to-date clearly requires documentation that covers all the end-to-end processes and systems involved in them. On the other hand, excessive documentation is wasteful.

A common mistake is to eliminate documenting altogether. This leads to some form of software archaeology, where the needed information has to be dug out from the implemented integrations by reading code, server logs, and so on. It is usually too expensive to dig through everything thoroughly and produce the “big picture” in any meaningful detail. This leads to making design decisions based on incomplete information.

However there is a way to minimize wasteful documentation practices while maximizing the information available. Much like practicing the Lean principle of building quality in, it is possible to build documentation in the development process. Analytics, monitoring or documentation tools like help to achieve this with very little effort. Read more about as a useful tool for development 

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Built-in documentation has several benefits


The documentation is more likely to be updated when it is a natural part of the on-going development process.


Continuous improvement of the end-to-end process is possible when the big picture is always available for every stakeholder.


Optimizing the whole becomes easier when the needed information is at hand at every stage and iteration of development.


The teams can be more empowered because they have more valuable information available without having to practice archaeology.


Much of the documentation can be automated with the right tools such as

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