Outcomes not outputs

January 31, 2019 (5y ago)

If you want to help your customers be successful, there's one thing that needs to happen first: stop measuring success by internal measures of output.

Sure, you may still want to track how many features you shipped this month or how few bugs got reported. But the most important thing you need to do is measure your success by the value you provided to customers.

Align your definition of product success with your customer's idea of progress.

Are you focused on output or outcomes?

All product teams ship features. The best product teams ship benefits and results to their customers.

Over the past few weeks, I've spent a lot of time researching how best to apply this mindset shift to my day-to-day work in a more systemized way.

It's simply not enough to say, "we focus on making our customers successful" and then ship a new feature and move on to the next one. We must instead be intentional about understanding what a successful outcome looks like and measuring if our new feature helps customers achieve it.

To do this, I've been using the hypothesis template below to reframe how I approach new customer problems and opportunities.

I believe that making change X will enable customers to achieve successful outcome Y which will result in business value Z.

The focus is no longer on the output of the feature itself. But instead on the outcome it provides to both the customer and the business.