Beyond « Outcomes vs. Outputs »


Beyond Outcomes vs. Outputs — Russian Dolls & Broken Promises

“Outcomes, not outputs!” is a common rallying call these days. To passionate problem solvers, this message likely resonates. Who wants to work in a Tayloristic feature factory as a glorified ticket taker? Who wants to ship prescriptive deliverables with disregard for the impact of our work (the “outcomes”)?

No one! But….

But the “outcome vs. outputs” narrative and dichotomy is far too simplistic. At its worst, it actually marginalizes teams, encourages handoffs, and reinforces silos. The reality is rarely that binary. Teams eagerly attempt to realize the promise of outcome-driven approaches, but struggle with the details. Tools like OKRs only seem to exacerbate the problem, becoming more of a nuisance and hoop-to-jump-through than a learning/alignment enabler.  Even our work visualizations — kanban boards, for example — can obscure how our interventions and “bets” are truly related.

In this talk we’ll explore a more nuanced view of outcomes and outputs through the lens of value creation networks, bets, and promises-in-progress. I will cover:

  • Impulse and response — why we tend to overlook the passing of time
  • Connecting day to day work to the “big picture”
  • A framework to discuss “prescriptiveness”. Finding the sweet spot for your teams
  • Why outputs aren’t inherently bad — but disconnecting them from outcomes is
  • Assumption mapping, nested bets, and dueling with uncertainty
  • Promises-in-progress: how visualizing the work is not enough…

My goal for this talk is to expand beyond overly simplistic views, while staying actionable and grounded in the reality of our day to day work. I’m excited to attend FlowCon to learn, collaborate, and contribute!

Le mot de l’organisation

John Cutler, c’est pour nous une des références actuelles sur les questions produit. Et s’il est aussi bon dans ses tweets et ses articles qu’en talk, ça va être d’enfer.

#ToutPublic #InProductWeTrust