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If You Want Predictable Portfolio Results, You Need a Systematic Process

The right process will produce the right results.

written by ASH MAURYA

When I first worked with accelerators (circa 2012), I was okay with them lightly recommending versus strongly prescribing the Continuous Innovation Framework (then just Lean Canvas and Running Lean) to their startup teams.

It was the early days of the framework, and we all still had more questions than answers on any framework’s ability to tame the highly uncertain early-stage journey.

I’ve since reversed my position for several reasons.

1. The framework matured

The framework has come a long way over the last ten years. Another book (Scaling Lean) was written, new models/tools (Traction Roadmap, Customer Forces) were developed, and we’ve demonstrated that the framework works across thousands of teams.

With the right mindsets and thinking processes, it is now possible to tame a product's highly uncertain (even messy) early stages into a more systematic and predictable journey.

2. The framework requires consistent practice and external accountability

While Continuous Innovation principles are simple, putting them into practice requires behavior (habit) change - which takes consistent practice and external accountability.

Making the framework optional or letting teams cherry-pick only certain aspects of the framework is a recipe for mediocre results. Imagine signing up for a triathlon training program and choosing only to do the running exercises because you don’t like cycling or swimming.

3. Learning compounds with usage

One of the neat side-effects of using simple mental models (like Lean Canvas) is that patterns quickly emerge. Patterns are everywhere - in chess, software, design, and architecture. They help us make connections and make more giant leaps faster.

Business model design and validation are no different. The more you use these models, the faster your organization’s collective knowledge and pattern-matching ability grow.

The early stage is uncertain but doesn’t have to be messy.

With the right process, tools, and metrics, the early-stage portfolio can be normalized across every product type and managed systematically like a funnel.

“The right process will produce the right results.”
- Jeffrey Liker, The Toyota Way

Old Way:
▪️ No clear success metrics make every product different
▪️ Unstructured mentoring leads to conflicting advice and aimless wandering
▪️ Unpredictable portfolio results

New Way:
🔹 Well-defined traction metrics normalize products into business model outcomes
🔹 Standardized coaching leads to prioritizing the right risks at the right time
🔹 Predictable portfolio results

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