Title: Continuous planning through the three horizons of growth

Authors: Tanja Suomalainen; Yueqiang Xu

Addresses: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd., P.O. Box 1100, Kaitoväylä 1, Oulu, Finland ' Oulu Business School, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 4600, Pentti Kaiteran Katu 1, FI-90014, Oulu, Finland

Abstract: This study addresses the topic of continuous planning in the agile and lean software development context. The paper investigates how software companies can achieve various benefits by dividing their product development practices along the three horizons of growth. This approach allows software companies to have different product development and planning practices inside the company, thereby strengthening their positions in well-established businesses as well as creating growth in completely new businesses. Theoretically, the paper draws on the business literature of the three horizon model and on the literature of agile and lean software development. The empirical part is based on a case study with a leading Finnish software company. Altogether, 12 narrative interviews were conducted, involving people with various roles from product manager to chief strategy officer. The research presents a new approach towards continuous planning within multiple business horizons, to address common challenges in managing software product portfolios in different maturity phases.

Keywords: continuous planning; continuous deployment; three horizon model; lean software development; agile software development; business growth; strategy; product development; growth horizons; Finland; business horizons; maturity phases.

DOI: 10.1504/IJASM.2016.10002494

International Journal of Agile Systems and Management, 2016 Vol.9 No.4, pp.269 - 291

Received: 05 Mar 2016
Accepted: 09 Jun 2016

Published online: 11 Jan 2017 *

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