Pattern: Lean for Optimization

When a stable system delivers the value that’s intended and is not a target for technical innovation, focus on improving the system by continuously and incrementally improving delivery and maintenance processes with emphasis on repeatability

Your product is stable and in demand (a “Cash Cow” on the BCG growth-share matrix), and it is in a state of incremental improvement and support. Tech used in the product is known and well-understood. All capabilities are present in the team.

In This Context

Innovation and evolution are inevitable in technology. However, there is little need to innovate when a proficient system is delivering stable value and maintenance cost is low. And we often see that, in an otherwise proficient system, the team continues to introduce new tools and solutions that constantly destabilize the product while needlessly consuming time and budget.
• Repeatability leads to boredom.
• Quality demands investment.
• Creativity and proficiency require different management frameworks.
• Proficiency and mastery require repeatability and standards.
• Creativity requires freedom and psychological safety for generating experimentation.


Reduce work in progress, focus on optimizing delivery process, measure quality and speed of delivery, and aim to improve both.Lean management optimizes proficiency and value to customers while eliminating anything that does not bring value to the end product/service and ensuring continuous incremental improvement.
• Use Kanban with optimization and new features backlog.
• Measure everything that matters.
• Optimize price versus performance ratio.
• Optimize proficient processes.
• Automate repeatable tasks.


Delivery is fast and proficient. System is stable, and quality is consistently going up.
+ No destruction of an efficient system.
+ Gradually increasing quality.
- Very limited innovation.
- Some people are bored.