Enterprise Services Planning

Enterprise Services Planning (ESP) is a framework of tools that leaders of 21st Century knowledge-work enterprises can apply to their strategic and capacity planning. ESP is often described as the equivalent of MRP for a professional services business. Such businesses employ many educated professionals, who think for a living, perform largely invisible work, and deliver mostly intangible products and services to customers

Such businesses are increasingly exposed to VUCA – the conditions of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. It is often futile, under such conditions, to plan specific results, deliverables, and milestones. The VUCA reality quickly tosses such plans out the window. 

Does this sound like your enterprise? ESP can help! What you can do is plan the capacity of your services to sense, respond and deliver the right levels of service that meet the customers’ purpose. You can plan the mechanisms of feedback to keep your network of services balanced and capable to execute your strategy. You can plan to avoid risks your enterprise can’t take and to manage the risks it chooses to take. That’s what we mean by “planning.”

ESP complements the delivery capabilities generated by Kanban “from the middle” and agile approaches “from the bottom up,” and connects them “at the top” with the models and tools you need to manage on an enterprise level.

Is Enterprise Services Planning the Right Training for Me?

  • Yes – if you are a leader/executive taking responsibility for your company’s strategic decisions
  • Yes – if you are a manager responsible for design, implementation and/or delivery of products and services to your company’s customers ­– you manage one service or a network of such services
  • Yes – if you are an improvement consultant or coach responsible for pragmatic actionable advice to such executives and managers

Executive Track

(Days 1 and 2)

  • Overview of strategy
  • Organizational risk
  • Fitness for purpose
  • Custom risk assessment frameworks
  • Alignment of strategy and capability
  • Survivability assessment

Attendee Feedback:

  • “Our strategy reviews are dominated by competitive analysis. Fit-for-Purpose gives us a strategic opportunity.”
  • “Love the risk assessment frameworks. We should implement them right away.”
  • “Strategy–capability alignment is very powerful. We now see what capabilities we need to invest in to do better in the business we’re in.”

Product Manager Track

(Exit: middle of day 4)

Executive Track material plus:

  • Cost of delay
  • Real options
  • Demand shaping
  • Capacity allocation
  • Risk hedging
  • Portfolio Kanban

Attendee Feedback:

  • “I didn’t realize there are so many options for managing demand and risks.”
  • “Our ‘portfolio’ is just a large collection of projects and work-in-process. We can now turn it into a tool to help us decide which risks to take and how to manage those risks.”

Expert Track

(Whole week)

Executive Track & Product Manager’s Track material plus:

  • Delivery and project forecasting
  • Liquidity and volatility
  • Scaling
  • Working with irrefutable demand
  • Managing dependencies
  • Dynamic capacity reservation systems

Attendee Feedback:

  • “Dependencies are a big problem in our large enterprise. Wishing they’d go away isn’t helpful. We’ve learned at least a dozen new options how to manage them better.”
  • “It was extremely helpful to learn about forecasting and dynamic reservation systems.”

Which Track Should I Take? 

What Prior Knowledge or Experience Is Required?

  • Executives: The Executive Track. No prior training needed. It usually helps if you’re accompanied by a trusted advisor/coach or one of your managers who has completed Kanban System Design (KMP I) training.
  • Product managers: The Product Manager Track. The additional day and a half will give you some practical tools and the right level of detail beyond the Executive Track. We’ll spare you some difficult “technical” topics back-loaded to Days 4 & 5. Attending together with a colleague-manager who has completed Kanban System Design (KMP-I) training may help.
  • Managers, consultants and coaches: The Expert Track. Completion of Kanban System Design (KMP-I) training and relevant experience is required. Completion of Kanban Management Professional (KMP-II) training is ideal.

Completion Certificates

Participants receive standard Lean Kanban University (LKU) certificates of class completion, as described below:



Executive Track

Modules I and II

Product Manager Track

Modules I–III

Expert Track

Modules I-–V



ESP compared to Kanban Method

I've been giving some careful thought to why it became necessary to create the concept of Enterprise Services Planning. At the most fundamental level, ESP was necessary to provide a container for the collection of things we were teaching that were beyond kanban...

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