Q&A: What’s the best way to focus teams on outcomes not outputs?

Q&A: What’s the best way to focus teams on outcomes not outputs?

I’m asked questions about product management from time to time. Here’s one I’ve answered recently:

What’s the best way to help agile teams move away from feature delivery to focus on outcomes not outputs?

From my experience, the elephant in the room seems to often be we don’t know enough about the problem and we haven’t done enough research. The team is eager to build stuff and are clearly worried about the unknown of the discovery process.

How can we get better at doing research to find opportunities in an agile environment?


Some suggestions:

Each week, go (with your team if at all possible) and have open chats with your users about how your product fits into their lives. It would be rare not to come back with at least one insight that changed your perspective.

With permission, record your users using your product in their real-life context (i.e. not in a lab) to see where they make mistakes, get frustrated or simply have to work around your product’s workflow to get what they need done.

Take those human responses to heart – both you and your team.

Decide as a team how you’re going to take some of that stress and hassle out of your users’ lives.

Figure out what you’re going to try first, and put it on your product backlog. Check whether it worked.

Now you’re working towards outcomes.

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Read more from Jock

The Practitioner's Guide to Product Management book cover

The Practitioner’s Guide to Product Management
by Jock Busuttil

“This is a great book for Product Managers or those considering a career in Product Management.”

— Lyndsay Denton

Jock is a freelance head of product, author and conference speaker. He has spent nearly two decades working with technology companies to improve their product management practices, from startups to multinationals. His clients include the BBC, University of Cambridge, and the UK's Ministry of Justice and Government Digital Service (GDS). In 2012 Jock founded Product People Limited, a product management consultancy and training company. He is also the author of the popular book The Practitioner's Guide to Product Management and the blog I Manage Products.

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