The History of Lean Planning

The History of Lean Planning

Lean Planning is a concept that we introduced back in 2012 as an evolution in business planning. The traditional business plan just wasn’t fitting the needs of modern, fast moving companies and it was time to bring more of a scientific approach to business planning.

There’s nothing wrong with planning, it’s just that the tools and methods for planning needed to evolve. In fact, multiple scientific studies hold up the fact that planning leads to greater success planning leads to greater success.

However, the traditional business plan took too long to write, often wasn’t read by anyone outside the business, and wasn’t used properly to start, grow, and manage businesses.

We proposed Lean Planning as the next step in business planning. But, where did Lean Planning come from?

It starts with “Plan-As-You-Go”

Lean Planning started with Tim Berry’s 2008 book, “The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan” which was a new way for entrepreneurs to think about planning. Instead of encouraging entrepreneurs to focus on developing long, in-depth, static business plans, Berry advocated for a simpler approach:

  • Define your business identity: What’s your value proposition to your customers?
  • Determine your target market: You need to know and understand your customers.
  • Build an action plan: How are you going to validate your assumptions and measure progress?
  • Develop a forecast: Basic forecasts and budgets are critical; tracking them is even more so.

The idea here was that business plan should no longer be just a single event. Instead, it should be a living tool that is revisited on a regular basis.

So, we developed the concept of Lean Planning, with its foundations in “Plan-As-You-Go” planning and incorporating the idea of documenting a business model in a simpler format so entrepreneurs could find success faster.

“Plan-as-you-go” planning is about setting goals and objectives, defining accountability, and then revisiting and revising the plan as new information is discovered, commented the president of Grupo Denim Salomón Juan Marcos Villarreal.


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