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DevOps: applying the lessons learned from Toyota to Bank Audi


“Since 2005, the Bank has undertaken significant regional expansion and has the fourth largest coverage among the top 15 Arab banking institutions in the MENA region with operations in 13 countries. As a result of this regional expansion, an increasing percentage of the Bank’s assets are contributed by its operations outside Lebanon. Management intends to continue to seek growth opportunities both in Lebanon and abroad over the medium term,” states the website of the Bank Audi Group. This expansion drive has brought Bank Audi, via our partner RedHat, to us.

Bank Audi strongly believes that if they want to keep their competitive advantage, they need to implement DevOps. They believe that DevOps will help them to quickly evolve and offer client focused solutions. We were asked to analyse the current software development process and advise on how to improve it. In a workshop Gert Jan van Halem, senior consultant, explained the meaning of DevOps to the IT department of Bank Audi Lebanon.

Gert Jan: “DevOps shares some key principles with LEAN, which is a method for optimising business processes. LEAN was founded by Toyota and works very well for mass production. In mass production, products are continuously built exactly the same way. So what Toyota thought was: how can we optimise our production process to make it faster and more cost-effective? However, in software it’s quite the opposite. As a software developer you develop products that are unique, which will also be changed over time. But, we can still take the lessons we’ve learned from Toyota and apply them to software development. That is where DevOps comes in.”

How to fold 14 paper planes in 7 minutes

The group was divided in team of seven. Their task: folding 14 paper airplanes in 7 minutes. Every team got three chances to get it right.

Gert Jan: “I have never seen people who are as competitive as the Bank Audi IT team. They worked really hard to get the airplanes done on time. The first round was total chaos. After the evaluation, the teams made some changes to improve their development process. The second round they managed to fold about 10 airplanes. After another evaluation and explanation about the key lessons learned from LEAN they got their last chance. Now the teams succeeded. There was total concentration and total silence. The teams folded around 20 airplanes in the same seven minutes. So not only the process changed, instead of having to run around in chaos they managed to work faster in total silence. One of the most important lessons that I taught them is to work in a pull fashion, instead of pushing your product. Only when their colleague asked for a paper plane, it would be produced. That little change already made a huge difference in the speed of the process.”

The DevOps workshop was part of the consulting services we provided to Bank Audi. To further support Bank Audi in their journey towards becoming a DevOps organisation, we are currently educating a Scrum team and providing coaching services regarding the automation of the development process.

For more information about this project or our DevOps consulting services in general, please contact Gert Jan van Halem.


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