Use the 5S Method to Boost Your Bottom Line

Peter Jobst, DevOps Consultant and Author
05/09/2016, 02:35pm

One of the things I love about DevOps is that efficiency stems from order and method. Every type of work we do falls into one of five categories, which can also be called the 5S method.

5S is one of those practices that, when applied to IT, can dramatically increase productivity by ordering like systems together.

The first S stands for ‘Seiri’ in Japanese and ‘Sorting’ in English. The principle is simple – sort your IT work into categories such as:

        Maintenance – Create a monthly schedule for system upkeep and tasks

        Break/Fix – An individual time sensitive issue arises

        Emergency – The business has halted and it’s ALL HANDS ON DECK!

        Internal or Systems – Support activities that do not directly generate revenue, but are necessary for the business’s operations.

When you begin to sort, a natural prioritization occurs, giving your company clarity on what needs to be done and when.  I have taken it even further and broken ‘Sorting’ into phases. When integrated into process, the ‘Jobst’ system will help you achieve an even greater level of efficiency and success.

1.     Discovery -

2.     Development -

3.     Testing -

4.     Implementation -

5.     Cleanup -

6.     Followup -

The next S is ‘Seiton’ or Simplifying (aka -Setting in Order). This is the action of identifying projects that are larger or may have become overly complicated, and breaking them down into smaller, simpler, far more doable steps or tasks so everything is in its place.  In IT, and example would be using automation to pre-schedule or regular or repetitive tasks. One time-saving tip I offer clients is to set up automated installation of all desktop computer operating systems.

The third S stands for ‘Seiso‘ or Sweeping. Organizing and cleaning up the workplace will make your company function more efficiently. Studies have shown that employees are able to think more clearly and perform tasks faster when their workplace is clutter-free and tidy.

The fourth S stands for ‘Seiketsu’ or Standardizing. This is the idea that if you chose the ‘best in breed’ solutions, one that allows all components to work together, it is easier to predict a positive outcome. An example of this would be choosing to outfit your entire office with Dell computers. Since all the machines are uniform, the probability that your computer network will function well together is much higher.

The fifth or final S stands for ‘Shitsuke’ or Sustaining. This is the idea of keeping everything in proper working order.  When applied to IT, sustaining specifically refers to creating a system for maintenance that includes regular audits, and providing employees with training and feedback on their performance.

Overall, the 5S method is a great way to increase efficiency and productivity, which will in turn boost your bottom line.  If you would like to implement this system in your workplace, or if you have any questions about 5S, please feel free to send me an email at




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