Outcomes Over Output: Why customer behavior is the key metric for business success
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an outcome is a change in human behavior that drives business results. Outcomes
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So let’s review: you can manage a team by telling them what to make: that’s called managing outputs. It’s a problem because features don’t always deliver value. You can manage a team by asking them to target some high-level value, like growing revenue. That’s called managing impact. It’s a problem because it’s not specific enough. What you want is to manage with outcomes: ask teams to create a specific customer behavior that drives business results. That allows them to find the right solution, and keeps them focused on delivering value.
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The design guru Jared Spool asserts that there are only five things executives care about: increasing revenues, decreasing costs, increasing new business and market share, increasing revenue from existing customers, and increasing shareholder value.
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Takeaways for Managers Don’t mistake impact—high-level aspirational goals—for outcomes. Impact is important, but it’s too big for any one group to target. Use the magic questions to define outcomes: what are the human behaviors that drive business results? How can we get people to do more of these things? How will we know we’re right? Remember that by “humans” we mean customers, users, employees, stakeholders, or anyone involved in the system that we’re building. When you’re planning work, be clear about your assumptions. Be prepared to test your assumptions by expressing work as hypotheses. ...more
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Roadmaps are supposed to help organizations manage uncertainty—they promise to answer questions like, “what are we going to be working on? What are we going to deliver? When can we expect this new capability / feature / product?” These are all reasonable questions. The problem is that most of the time, the answers that make it to the roadmap are guesses, fiction, or lies. One solution to this problem: outcomes-based roadmaps.
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When you apply an outcomes-based approach to transformation I suggest you keep three rules in mind: Your colleagues are your customers. Everything is an outcome. Everything is an experiment.