Lean Enterprise – A Book

Lean Enterprise: How High Performance Organizations Innovate at Scale is a comprehensive book that presents ideas, principles and use cases. Readers can learn how to apply Agile and Lean principles throughout the entire organization. Its focus is on people and teamwork at every level, rather than with just one department or team. The book, which is a part of the Eric Ries Lean Series, also guides readers with new problem-solving approach, large-scale program management, and new ways of implementing ideas, all resulting to improved performance.

Book Details

This first hardcover edition is about 1.2 in. thick, 6.2 in. wide, and 9.2 in. tall. Shipping weight is about 1.2 pounds. It has 352 pages divided in 15 chapters. A Kindle format is also available. It was published in January 2015 by O’Reilly Media in English. ISBN-10: 1449368425; ISBN-13: 978-1449368425


$20.41 for the hardcover edition and $11.33 for the Kindle version

Target Audience

Lean Enterprise is for executives and managers who can influence organizational policies and structures. Content discussions can be applied in a wide variety of industries, and from small and medium to large organizations. Students and professionals interested about Lean and Agile principles will greatly benefit from the discussions, practical guidance and real-world examples. It can also be a resource for those focused in processes and organization transformation.

What Customers Say

Patrick K. (O’Reilly) described the book as concise, well-written, and easy to understand with helpful examples. He stated that from the many books he has read about agile, lean, and software organizations, Lean Enterprise brings it all together. It provides theory and tools, as well as publicly available case studies.

Alex K. (Amazon) stated that the book is an essential guide on how enterprises must change their mindset to bring innovation to their business. He stated that the book evolves concepts from two other books and scales them up to be understood by C-level readers. He has personally highlighted text in the book more than a hundred times and took a dozen notes from it.

Jeff B. (Amazon) stated that the authors have done an outstanding job of weaving together an approach that can work in an enterprise. He personally loves the quotes, detailed examples and citations. He believes it is a great complement to the book Continuous Delivery, written by one of the authors.

Content, Approach, Style

Content: Lean Enterprise has 15 chapters distributed in four major activity parts. The first part Orient provides an introduction, defines what a Lean enterprise is, and how to manage the dynamics of the enterprise. The second part is Explore, which discusses the principles of exploration, detecting opportunities, and evaluating the product/market fit. The third part is Exploit, and it details practices such as continuous improvement, increasing flow, and adopting lean engineering practices. The last part is Transform, and advises how to grown an innovation culture, embrace lean thinking, and turn IT into an advantage, among others.
Approach/Tone: The authors used several real case examples to show the ideas they want to present and emphasize. Every story has a lesson that points to the importance of or reinforces a principle, method or practice being discussed in the book.
Style: The language used in the book is easy to understand. Although it contains business and management terms, they were adequately defined. The book also uses certain styles such as italics, bulleted lists, tables, images and special notations for easier understanding and emphasis. It has many citations, footnotes and quotes as well.

Why Buy the Book

Lean Enterprise can be considered a continuation of ideas in books that presented Lean and Agile principles in teams. The difference is in the scale, and in particular, applying the principles in a larger work environment. Therefore, it is a book that targets leaders who have the authority and influence over a bigger part of, if not the whole organization. It is a great guide in these times of rapid change in the market, of customers and/or technology.


Jez Humble is the founder and CTO of DevOps Research and Assessment LLC, an IT and services company that helps institute a scientific approach to software development, product management and organizational transformation. Jez is also a lecturer at UC Berkely. He received his Bachelor’s degree in physics and philosophy at the University of Oxford. He received his MS at SOAS, University of London. He is also the coauthor of The DevOps Handbook.

Joanne Molesky is the Prinicipal Associate at ThoughtWorks, an IT and services company based in Chicago, IL, USA. Their purpose is to revolutionize software design, creation and delivery, while advocating for positive social change. Joanne is also a Principal Consultant at ThoughtWorks Australia. She has work experience as an IT Governance Analyst. Her specialties include lean enterprise, continuous delivery, IT governance, risk and compliance. She also holds CISA and CRISC certifications from ISACA.

Barry O’Reilly is the founder and CEO of ExecCamp, a company that provides an outcome-oriented immersion program for business leaders. He is also the founder of Antenn.ae, which offers custom-designed and highly collaborative workshops, training, coaching and consulting. Barry is also an advisor and mentor at Singularity University. He is a graduate of business information systems and management at the Dublin Institute of Technology.

$20.41 for the hardcover edition and $11.33 for the Kindle version

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