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

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Part III. Exploit

Prediction is difficult, especially about the future.

Niels Bohr

In Part II, we showed how to explore new opportunities—whether potential products or internal tools and services. In this part, we discuss how to exploit validated ideas. As discussed in Chapter 2, these two domains demand a completely different approach for management and execution. However, both are necessary—and indeed complementary—if we are to effectively balance our enterprise portfolio and adapt to a constantly changing business environment.

We hope you are reading this part because you have successfully exited the explore domain—but it’s just as likely that you are here because you participate in a large program of work in an enterprise which has been set up in the traditional way. Thus, this part of the book primarily describes how to change the way we lead and manage such large-scale programs of work in a way that empowers employees and dramatically increases the rate at which we can deliver valuable, high-quality products to customers. But before we can begin, we must understand our current condition.

In an enterprise context, planned work is usually prioritized through a centralized or departmental planning and budgeting process. Approved projects then go through the development process before going live or being released to manufacturing. Even in organizations which have adopted “agile” development methods, the value stream required to deliver a project often resembles Figure III-1 ...

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