Blowing up the Business Plan at U.C. Berkeley Haas Business School

Steve Blank

Berkeley Haas Business School is a leader in entrepreneurship education. It has replaced how to write a business plan with hands-on Lean Startup methods. Berkeley in 2010 to run the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship in the Haas School of Business we were teaching entrepreneurship the same way as when I was a student back in 1995. The final deliverable for that class was a 30-page business plan. We had multiple business plan competitions.

Agile Everywhere


I’ve written a bunch on this blog and in Startup CEO , about Agile Development and the Lean Canvas and Lean Startups in general (see a really old post on Agile Development from 10 years ago when we first adopted it here , and one on Agile Marketing here ).

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No One Wins In Business Plan Competitions

Steve Blank

Last week one of the schools I teach at invited me to judge a business plan contest. I suggested that they first might want to read my post on why business plans are a poor planning and execution tool for startups. Business Plan Versus Business Models.

6 Business Idea Validation Tactics to Improve Your Business Planning

Up and Running

In this article, I’ll give a quick overview of the best practices for validating your business idea in use today. See Also: Our Best Resources to Help You Find a Business Idea. Idea validation and Lean Planning. See Also: The History of Lean Planning.

5 Ways Small Business Owners Can Improve Their Agility In The New Year


by Taffy Williams, author of “ Think Agile: How Smart Entrepreneurs Adapt in Order to Succeed “ The New Year brings new events that may positively or negatively affect your business. Known events are possible to plan for in advance.

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Even Branding Should Be Agile: An Interview With Base Creative’s Matthew Kinsman

Up and Running

I had a lot of requests for freelance work,” Kinsman says, “so I decided to set up a branding and marketing business in Hong Kong.”. Thirteen years later, Kinsman is a veteran of the industry and a thought leader advocating in Forbes for an agile approach.

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The 'Agile Method' Works for Unicorn Startups. It Should Work For You, Too

Inc Startups

Software, hardware, marketing, business planning - it doesn't matter. Agile works. Bringing Innovation to Market

The History of Lean Planning

Up and Running

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.

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Start making better product decisions: A framework to go with your Agile Process

The Product Guy

Lastly, to make the most out of this framework, it’s best if your organization has already implemented some variation of the Agile Methodology. Each Milestone should be a plan that contains a deadline as well as an agreed upon set of User Stories or Epics (Let’s call these scope).

Lean Startups Need Business Planning Too

Up and Running

My monthly column at, Lean Startups Need Business Plans Too , came out yesterday: But here’s my beef in a nutshell: When Ries and Blank criticize the business plan, they are talking about a now-obsolete approach: the formal written business plan.

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No Business Plan Survives First Contact With A Customer – The 5.2 billion dollar mistake.

Steve Blank

Conceived in 1987 by Motorola and spun out in 1990 as a separate company, Iridium planned to build a mobile telephone system that would work anywhere on earth. With an out-of-this-world business plan. A Business Plan Frozen in Time.

Dispelling Business Plan Myths (It Ain't Just for Raising Money)…And It's All About Execution!

Small Business Force

Over the years, I’ve written a lot about business plans, especially for early-stage companies trying to raise capital. In actuality, for small business owners, a business plan is essential for any long-term success. Do you have a business plan?

Why Build, Measure, Learn – isn’t just throwing things against the wall to see if they work

Steve Blank

Best practices in software development started to move to agile development in the early 2000’s. With Agile you could end up satisfying every feature a customer asked for and still go out of business. activities necessary to implement the business model.

The Mission Model Canvas – An Adapted Business Model Canvas for Mission-Driven Organizations

Steve Blank

As we prepared for the new Hacking for Defense class at Stanford, we had to stop and ask ourselves: How do we use the Business Model Canvas if the primary goal is not to earn money, but to fulfill a mission? In a business the aim is to earn more money than you spend.

The Business Model Canvas Gets Even Better – Value Proposition Design

Steve Blank

It has three parts: a business model canvas to frame hypotheses, customer development to get out of the building to test those hypotheses and agile engineering to build minimum viable products. Alexander and I met after he published Business Model Generation.

Why Companies are Not Startups

Steve Blank

These groups are adapting or adopting the practices of startups and accelerators – disruption and innovation rather than direct competition, customer development versus more product features, agility and speed versus lowest cost.

When Hell Froze Over – in the Harvard Business Review

Steve Blank

In my 21 years as an entrepreneur, I would come up for air once a month to religiously read the Harvard Business Review. As much as I loved the magazine, there was little in it for startups (or new divisions in established companies) searching for a business model.

The Lean LaunchPad Online

Steve Blank

I wondered if business plans and 5-year forecasts were the right way to plan a startup. Experienced entrepreneurs kept finding that no business plan survived first contact with customers. We were putting the plan before the planning.

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Search versus Execute

Steve Blank

One of the confusing things to entrepreneurs, investors and educators is the relationship between customer development and business model design and business planning and execution. When does a new venture focus on customer development and business models ?

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Fear of Failure and Lack of Speed In a Large Corporation

Steve Blank

And worse, even if someone does manage to start something new, our management structure has so many financial, legal and HR hurdles that every initiative needs to match our existing business financial metrics, processes and procedures. More agile competitors are starting to eat into our business. Therefore startups trade off certainty for speed, adopting “ good enough decision making ” and iterating and pivoting as they fail, learn, and discover their business model.

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Who Dares Wins – The 2nd Annual International Business Model Competition

Steve Blank

Alexander Osterwalder and I spent last week in Salt Lake City, Utah as judges at the 2 nd Annual International Business Model Competition , hosted by Professor Nathan Furr , and his team at the BYU Center for Entrepreneurship. The Business Plan ?-

Managing Commitments in an Agile Team


The past several articles have discussed the nature of Continuous Discovery and Dual-Track Agile. In this article I'd like to discuss another dimension of working effectively in an Agile environment, which is how we manage commitments. In most Agile teams, when you mention commitments (like knowing what you're going to launch and when it will happen), you get reactions ranging from squirming to denial.

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10,000 Startups – Startup Weekend Next

Steve Blank

The class teaches founders how to dramatically reduce their failure rate through the combination of business model design, customer development and agile development using the Startup Owners Manual. Your team arrives with an initial Business Model Canvas.

Qualcomm’s Corporate Entrepreneurship Program – Lessons Learned (Part 2)

Steve Blank

When the teams exited the bootcamp, however, it was unclear which existing business unit should evaluate them. We should had done this before assigning the teams to a particular business unit (or had the ability to create a new business unit, or spin the team out of the company).

Is Your Business Plan a Roadmap or a Roadblock?

Inc Startups

That business plan you worked so hard on? It won’t be long before young entrepreneurs skip the business plan altogether. Personally, I’d rather be sent a demo URL or a prototype than a 50-page business plan I don’t have time to read.

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A New Way to Teach Entrepreneurship – The Lean LaunchPad at Stanford: Class 1

Steve Blank

It was designed to bring together many of the new approaches to building a successful startup – customer development, agile development, business model generation and pivots. We were positing that 20 years of teaching “how to write a business plan” might be obsolete.

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Stanford 2012 Lean LaunchPad Presentations – part 1 of 2

Steve Blank

The class is intensely and deliberately experiential to develop the mindset, reflexes, agility and resilience an entrepreneur needs to search for certainty in a chaotic world. We have the students formally apply for the class by filling out a business model canvas.

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Top 10 Benefits Of Lean


Lean is a methodology that can be applied to all disciplines of knowledge work to increase business efficiency, agility, and visibility. The Lean Business Report surveyed more than 3,000 knowledge workers practicing Lean and found these to be the top 10 benefits of Lean. #1

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Scientists Unleashed

Steve Blank

Our Lean LaunchPad class teaches scientists and engineers that starting a company is another research project that can be solved by an iterative process of hypotheses testing and experimentation built around the business model / customer development / agile development solution stack. Filed under: Business Model versus Business Plan , Customer Development. Business Model versus Business Plan Customer Development

3 Factors leading to a valuable business

Taffy Williams

However, the ability to create a viable business requires knowing more than how to create a first class product that looks great and works well. The market and pricing have potential to be altered by the forces the business is unable to directly control.

The Specification is Dead; Long Live the Specification

Instigator Blog

Seems like eons ago… Then we were introduced to agile development, which encouraged us to throw away big specifications and go with user stories, or to eliminate documentation entirely and just start coding, building things iteratively. To draw a quick parallel, the same has happened (to a large extent) with business plans. They started out as big ass documents you’d write before doing anything practical / hands-on with your business.

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Why Startups are Agile and Opportunistic – Pivoting the Business Model

The Product Guy

Our current plan isn’t working. We invested in the plan you sold us on.” But at least you’d be executing your plan not ours. The Search for the Business Model. A startup is an organization formed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model.

Introducing Lean Planning: How to plan less and grow faster

Up and Running

Today, I want to introduce you to a new concept for starting and growing successful companies: Lean Planning™. Before I dive too deeply into the Lean Planning methodology, it makes sense to talk about its history and where it comes from. Lean Planning is born. Business Planning

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5 Tips For Developing A Successful Market Intelligence Campaign


A successful market intelligence campaign can be the extra ingredient which pushes your business to new levels of success. Identify where your business or your brand fits into your market. Others business planning market intelligence marketing

Creating Startup Success – Customer Development + Business Model Design

Steve Blank

In previous posts I’ve talked about what the combination of Business Model Design, Customer Development and Agile Methodologies mean to startups and intrapreneurs in large companies; it’s the beginning of entrepreneurship as a science with its own rules and methodologies. Filed under: Business Model versus Business Plan , Customer Development. Tags: Business Model versus Business Plan Customer Development

3 Factors leading to a valuable business

Taffy Williams

However, the ability to create a viable business requires knowing more than how to create a first class product that looks great and works well. The market and pricing have potential to be altered by the forces the business is unable to directly control.

Thoughts on our three-speed economy and business planning in the 21st century

The Equity Kicker

As much as I seek to empower our portfolio companies to do what they think is right and to avoid over-planning I sympathise with these ‘traditional managers’ in the sense that when you switch from operating with a detailed operating plan to operating without one it feels like you are flying blind.

The 47th (-46) International Business Model Competition

Steve Blank

The most visible step was the first International Business Model Competition , hosted by the BYU Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology. Or more accurately, startups are a temporary organization designed to search for a scalable and repeatable business model.)

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The 11 Bad Habits Killing Innovation in Your Company

Steve Blank

Alexander Osterwalder invented the Business Model Canvas , co-founded and was the lead author of Business Model Generation which sold a million copies in 30 languages. Bad Habit #1: The current business model dominates the agenda.

Why Board Meetings Suck – Part 1 of 2

Steve Blank

As customer and agile development reinvent the Startup, it’s time to ask why startup board governance has not kept up with the pace of innovation. Yet boards of large companies exist to monitor efficient strategy and execution of a known business model.