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This chapter is from the book

Final Thoughts

The concepts and models introduced in this chapter are intended to help you navigate and put into context the specific practices introduced throughout the book. As you progress in your reading, keep the following points in mind:

  • EDGE is an operating model that connects strategy to delivery. It does not cover how to do either strategy or delivery.

  • The relentless focus is on delivering customer value. Customer value is an outcome rather than an output. For example, the number of features that a delivery team produces is an output, whereas the value that they deliver is an outcome.

  • Today’s world is awash with opportunities. You must first determine which opportunities you wish to pursue. Then, you must build the capabilities necessary to capitalize on those opportunities. Opportunities and capabilities are both driven by outcomes, but they are different types of outcomes.

  • If you want your enterprise to be responsive (agile, adaptive), then you have to change your measures of success at the highest level—you must modify your fitness functions to encourage the responsiveness you desire.

  • Fundamental change must be driven by courageous executives who are supported by courageous leaders at all levels.

  • EDGE is not prescriptive, but adaptive. Every implementation of EDGE will be different, including yours. The core that will hold your version of EDGE together is the principles.

  • Building capabilities for the future, from technical ones to portfolio prioritization, is critical for determining what you want to accomplish and how you intend to get there.

  • The products that emerge from delivery teams should be driven by the Lean Value Tree: Goals, Bets, and Initiatives. The product blueprints ensure that the teams are looking ahead to understand the product evolution. The technology component ensures that the technology strategy and platform support the Lean Value Tree and the product blueprint.

Whether you are setting high-level goals or building capabilities or delivering a small increment of a product, the fundamental approach you need can be summarized in two simple words: EnvisionExplore. These two words contrast with traditional approaches that can be characterized by two other words: PlanDo. You can’t plan your way into the future—you need to explore. Planning raises the specter of determinism: Just plan well enough, and then just do what you planned. In times of uncertainty and with an accelerated pace of change, our traditional reliance on planning won’t work. It’s not that we don’t plan—we do. In fact, much of this book is about planning. We just don’t believe our plans will survive reality. We don’t waste time doing detailed plans that change constantly. We spend more time trying to envision the future, whether of our organization or of our detailed initiatives. You can’t plan away uncertainty; instead, you have to learn it away. You have to try five things in parallel, in short experiments, to find the one that seems to work and is worth carrying forward. This Envision–Explore mindset needs to permeate your organization if it is to be successful at digital transformation.

As you move into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, where uncertainty reigns and the need for speed and innovation is the dominating force, portfolio and program management must be much more responsive than they have been in the past. Moreover, they must be incorporated into a broader operating model. The path to a digital enterprise lies in being innovative, fast, value centered, and adaptive—not in returning to the structure and process of earlier times.

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