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Focusing on Outcomes Over Outputs

In our PMO insight series so far we have covered how traditional PMOs need to evolve to meet the growing demand from the business. We focused on three areas which will enable us to meet these demands:

  • Moving the focus from delivering outputs efficiently to delivering the right outcomes
  • Enabling the organisation to support delivering outcomes through adaptive governance
  • Shifting PMO tools to enable people to focus on value instead of enforcing process

In this article, we will take a closer look at some frameworks and tools to help you with the shift from outputs to outcome-based delivery.

“It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best.”

- W. Edwards Demming

Humans are hard-wired to jump to conclusions. This inclination towards “premature problem solving” drives organisations toward solutions which often

1) Don’t solve the real problem or

2) Create more problems than they started out with.

Our drive to find a solution can overtake our ability to think through the problem.

"If I had an hour to solve a problem, I'd spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions."

- Albert Einstein

In order to overcome this, we need to consider a problem from several viewpoints.  By understanding the outcomes that we are looking to achieve using a structured problem-solving process we set ourselves up for success.

There’s no one single right process – but we’ve pulled together several methods & frameworks that can help.

Designing your solutions (with a customer lens):

  • Contextual Design is a customer-centered design process that uses extensive field data as the foundation for understanding users’ needs, tasks, intents, and processes in order to design products and systems that meet both users’ and business’ needs.
  • Innovation Vortex: Jurgen Appelo created the innovation vortex which combines design thinking and lean start-up into continuous innovation vortex. This can be used as a self-assessment model to see if you are on the right path to deliver the outcome.

Understanding and clarifying your desired outcomes:

  • Personas: Alan copper introduced the personas concept as effective way to understand customer needs. Personas are a fictitious character that represent a segment of customers. Creating persona enables people to empathise with the customer’s needs, wants and problems.
  • Customer Journey mapping: Mapping a customer’s or persona’s interaction with the organisation helps you understand how you can create better experience for your customers at specific touch points in their journey.
  • Value Stream Mapping: This method from Lean management is primarily used to analyse the flow and time to market of a product. The value stream can show how an organisation’s internal operation impacts on customer experience.
  • A3 Problem Solving Toyota used this template as a structured way to solve problems and identify and implement continuous improvements.
  • Business Model Canvas: Alexander Osterwalder created this as a simple visual model that gives a clear view of the people, financial, key activities, metrics market segments (see also Opportunity Canvas)
  • Value Proposition: Another great visual model that takes customer pains and gains and creates products or services that add value.
  • Product Vision: This is a simple and effective way to describe the purpose of a product or service.

Before using any of the models, frameworks or techniques, we recommend you research what they are and when they are most effective to use. They need to be right for your organisation.

If you would like to explore how they could benefit you in more detail please reach out to us and we would be happy to help.

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