It is time to improve the practice of software innovation.
Since publication of his 2011 best seller, The Lean Startup, Eric Ries has worked to transform large enterprises at more levels and with more success than any other technology consultant. His influence and success at GE and Intuit are well documented and support the scope of his work’s impact. Eric is in the process of writing a new book on what he has learned. It contains the curriculum, tools and case studies used in his work—helping companies move with startup speed under conditions of extreme uncertainty. I’m thrilled that he is taking these ideas directly to his audience with a Kickstarter campaign. Through Kickstarter, he’s publishing a limited-edition “The Leader’s Guide”.
Eric and I have connected over the past months and compared notes on our approaches. When I first looked through Eric’s materials, it felt like one of those rare occasions—when you’re reading something that you know deep down is “right” but haven’t seen articulated before, especially not in the practical terms he puts forward. Eric deeply understands the challenges of attempting an organizational transformation. Moreover, Eric and I found that our transformation approaches were aligned. In addition, we realized the Pivotal Way of software development and transformation would be more powerful and effective when embedded with Eric’s approaches. As a result, Pivotal has signed on as a major backer of Eric’s new efforts—based on my experience with hundreds of customers, the sooner The Leader’s Guide gets into the hands of our customers, the better they will be able to maximize their investment in all software projects, operations, products, and services.
Separate from our financial backing of the Kickstarter campaign, I’m also thrilled to announce that Pivotal Labs’ Innovation Practice will be among the first to put The Leader’s Guide into practice. Starting in October, Pivotal Labs facilitators in 11 cities will be able to deliver Innovation Workshops based on The Leader’s Guide. We’re very proud that Eric asked our team to provide workshops through the Kickstarter campaign, and we will be working together with Eric to develop the content.
It it a momentous time for the software development industry—with the massive success of new business models pioneered by modern, cloud-native companies such as Uber and AirBnb, many established enterprises are coming to the realization that they need to become great software companies in order to compete. If they don’t, they are not only in danger of being caught by the new crop of innovators, but worse, they face irrelevance and ultimately extinction. Together, modern software development techniques, cloud infrastructure and data analytics threaten to disrupt legacy business models.
Of course, catching up on the software development front is a significant, long-term challenge. Many companies find themselves with legacy IT systems, traditional waterfall-based development cultures, and a history of outsourcing the majority of their software development. The path—transformation into a lean, innovative, cloud-based development organization—can seem overwhelming. However, I believe it can be done with a bold will and mindset. Companies must rediscover software development, and a half-hearted attempt won’t be enough. Pivotal was built to help companies take this journey—Pivotal Cloud Foundry and Pivotal Big Data Suite provide the cloud, data, and analytics infrastructure for building modern software, and Pivotal Labs helps coach software teams in modern software development culture.
Importantly, culture goes beyond good coding practices. Real software development doesn’t happen in a vacuum—there are changes to be made across the company to support new ways of working. Companies need to think strategically about their organization as a whole and how it needs to adapt, restructure and operate differently, above and beyond the software team itself.
Please join us and contribute to Eric’s Kickstarter campaign and bring this book to market later this year. Contributors enjoy a variety of exciting rewards including the opportunity to join an exclusive community of backers to share experiences, meet and learn from other backers, and interact with Eric Ries and his entire team during the writing and research process of his next book.
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