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Lean Enterprise by Jez Humble, Barry O'Reilly, Joanne Molesky

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Chapter 4. Explore Uncertainty to Detect Opportunities

It was darkness which produced the lamp. It was fog that produced the compass. It was hunger that drove us to exploration.

Victor Hugo

In this chapter we will cover practices to support the principles, discussed in Chapter 3, of exploring opportunities in conditions of extreme uncertainty, especially when considering new business models or products. We introduce the concept of Discovery to show how to quickly map out a business hypothesis to create a shared understanding of a problem and engage stakeholders from across the organization to buy in and align to our vision.

We will share concrete tools and techniques to safely create and test hypotheses to solve real business problems identified and validated in our customer development process.

Then, we will describe how to use a disciplined, scientific, evidence-based approach to experimentation to answer the fundamental question—not “can we build it?” but “should we build it?”

We will discuss how to test the riskiest assumptions of our hypothesis and generate empirical data to support our decision to pivot, persevere, or stop by creating safe-to-fail experiments using MVPs. Our purpose is to base further investment and portfolio management decisions on evidence, not science fiction. We will execute on opportunities by building the right thing at the right time and stop wasting people’s time on ideas that are not valuable.

Discovery

Discovery is a rapid, time-boxed, iterative ...

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