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Outcomes Over Output: Why customer behavior is the key metric for business success

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In the old days, when we made physical products, setting project goals wasn’t that hard. But in today’s service- and software-driven world, “done” is less obvious. When is Amazon done? When is Google done? Or Facebook? In reality, services powered by digital systems are never done. So then how do we give teams a goal that they can work on?Mostly, we simply ask teams to bui In the old days, when we made physical products, setting project goals wasn’t that hard. But in today’s service- and software-driven world, “done” is less obvious. When is Amazon done? When is Google done? Or Facebook? In reality, services powered by digital systems are never done. So then how do we give teams a goal that they can work on?Mostly, we simply ask teams to build features—but features are the wrong way to go. We often build features that create no value. Instead, we need to give teams an outcome to achieve. Using outcomes creates focus and alignment. It eliminates needless work. And it puts the customer at the center of everything you do.Setting goals as outcomes sounds simple, but it can be hard to do in practice. This book is a practical guide to using outcomes to guide the work of your team. "Josh’s crisp volume brims with insight about how to fly at just the right level - the level of outcomes. If you’ve ever wondered how M your MVP should be, or how to get more R in your OKRs, this book will help." --Nick Rockwell, CTO, NY Times


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In the old days, when we made physical products, setting project goals wasn’t that hard. But in today’s service- and software-driven world, “done” is less obvious. When is Amazon done? When is Google done? Or Facebook? In reality, services powered by digital systems are never done. So then how do we give teams a goal that they can work on?Mostly, we simply ask teams to bui In the old days, when we made physical products, setting project goals wasn’t that hard. But in today’s service- and software-driven world, “done” is less obvious. When is Amazon done? When is Google done? Or Facebook? In reality, services powered by digital systems are never done. So then how do we give teams a goal that they can work on?Mostly, we simply ask teams to build features—but features are the wrong way to go. We often build features that create no value. Instead, we need to give teams an outcome to achieve. Using outcomes creates focus and alignment. It eliminates needless work. And it puts the customer at the center of everything you do.Setting goals as outcomes sounds simple, but it can be hard to do in practice. This book is a practical guide to using outcomes to guide the work of your team. "Josh’s crisp volume brims with insight about how to fly at just the right level - the level of outcomes. If you’ve ever wondered how M your MVP should be, or how to get more R in your OKRs, this book will help." --Nick Rockwell, CTO, NY Times

30 review for Outcomes Over Output: Why customer behavior is the key metric for business success

  1. 5 out of 5

    Iman Shabani

    Outstanding book, so much so that before I was even finished with the book, I recommended it to a few of my friends and colleagues. There's a good chance that this short book will cause a paradigm shift for you, it certainly did for me. This book may be small, but its impact is huge, give it a good read. Outstanding book, so much so that before I was even finished with the book, I recommended it to a few of my friends and colleagues. There's a good chance that this short book will cause a paradigm shift for you, it certainly did for me. This book may be small, but its impact is huge, give it a good read.

  2. 5 out of 5

    azarakhsh

    WOW! Changed my life for sure A must read for anyone who feels under-achieved (probably in any contexts). Outcomes-based Thinking? That's my new belief. WOW! Changed my life for sure A must read for anyone who feels under-achieved (probably in any contexts). Outcomes-based Thinking? That's my new belief.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Suyeon

    Engaging and highly relevant Even the slowest and laziest of readers in the Product space would find this book not only engaging but highly relevant to their field of work. It is a must read for all people who are either already in product development management or aspire to be part of the ecosystem.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kamil Rudnicki

    I changed a way I think about setting goals from output to outcomes. And change organization accordingly. And it is important change of thinking. Thank you.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ruta Remutyte

    I didn't find this book 'lifechanging', 'outstanding' or 'wow' like some said. However, it provides a good framework to think. The idea is that features (outputs) create a change in behavior (outcomes). Change in behavior drives business results (impact). Thus, once the high-level impact is defined, one should first focus on what change in customer behavior needs to be created in order to achieve a high-level impact. I must say I was very disappointed by chapters 4 and 5. Bad characters and dialo I didn't find this book 'lifechanging', 'outstanding' or 'wow' like some said. However, it provides a good framework to think. The idea is that features (outputs) create a change in behavior (outcomes). Change in behavior drives business results (impact). Thus, once the high-level impact is defined, one should first focus on what change in customer behavior needs to be created in order to achieve a high-level impact. I must say I was very disappointed by chapters 4 and 5. Bad characters and dialogues made me feel like I was reading a poorly written self-help book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Kern

    This little book packs a punch. If you are a product owner/manager this is a deep dive into one of the important facets of how you orient your work around a northstar. The title gives it away, don't focus on building a thing, but instead find the outcome that works for your business and build and act accordingly. Seiden's definition of outcome brings clarity to the discussion - "an outcome is a change in human behavior that drives business results." It is not good enough that we build something. This little book packs a punch. If you are a product owner/manager this is a deep dive into one of the important facets of how you orient your work around a northstar. The title gives it away, don't focus on building a thing, but instead find the outcome that works for your business and build and act accordingly. Seiden's definition of outcome brings clarity to the discussion - "an outcome is a change in human behavior that drives business results." It is not good enough that we build something. It is not good enough that the user likes it. It is only good enough when the user's behavior is changed in ways that drive business results. This involves product, engineering, marketing, customer success, etc. to make this happen. Liked his magic "Magic Questions for Finding Outcomes" * What are the user and customer behaviors that drive business results? (this the outcome we are trying to create) * How can we get people to do more of these behaviors? (these are the features, policy changes, promotions, etc that we’ll do to try and create outcomes.) * How do we know that we’re right? (this uncovers the dynamics of the system, as well as the tests and metrics we’ll use to measure our progress.) There was one point in the book where he talked about a client he was consulting with and the effect of getting the key decision makers in the room and they all finally got shared alignment on what they were trying to do. Man, I would love to get there (see below). ---START OF QUOTE--- “In the next meeting, I asked them to talk about what they were worried about. It was night and day. They started telling their stories about their business. The head of [one department] was stressed, because [critical metrics] were down year over year. All the other stakeholders heard the concern, and agreed, ‘we have to focus on that.’ it was the first time in the process that everyone was aligned,” Emily said, “and it felt like a huge win.” In other words, by shifting the focus, the whole company was able to step back from feature conversations and consider the business problems they needed to solve–the outcomes they wanted to create. In doing so, prioritization suddenly became clear. ---END OF QUOTE Highly recommend this book for anyone involved in software development or product.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Maggie

    Josh Seidan does an admirable job of borrowing a framework from the values-driven nonprofit world to the value-driven forprofit world: focussing your design strategy on impactful behaviours (outcomes), not specific features or programs (outputs). The end result seems so common-sense, but Seidan does a good job of breaking down how to actually actually, as well as how/why it might be difficult for some for profit organizations to think in this way. As a designer invested in values-driven work, this Josh Seidan does an admirable job of borrowing a framework from the values-driven nonprofit world to the value-driven forprofit world: focussing your design strategy on impactful behaviours (outcomes), not specific features or programs (outputs). The end result seems so common-sense, but Seidan does a good job of breaking down how to actually actually, as well as how/why it might be difficult for some for profit organizations to think in this way. As a designer invested in values-driven work, this was an energizing read, giving me ideas to use in both my forprofit and nonprofit projects.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    All content, no fluff, good stuff. I absolutely love that the book focuses on delivering meaningful information without all the fluff and page fillers I see in other books. So many books come jam-packed with frivolous stories, words, and pages, it can be hard to extract the meaningful bits. Not this one! Big thanks to the author for getting to the point and delivering value early and continuously.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    The book is straight to the point and gives a few examples that help framing the proposed solution. Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 are the most juicy thanks to the use case presented. Changing the behavior of an organization is not as simple as it is presented, so don’t expect to have immediate results. It does help that the book shows how to use a cross-reference approach by addressing both user value and business value.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Jackson

    Short and solid book. Basically reframes the idea of building product and product features solely based on customer feedback. Provides a framework to think about the impact that product changes (outputs) will have on business results/ organization results (impact). The lever by which you can change impact is through assessing outcome (change in customer behaviour.). This book is particularly useful if you are familiar with donella meadows thinking in systems book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Adrian Howard

    Super short, sharp book that explains why working with outcomes is so important at all levels of an organisation. Josh has collected some great examples and references around using outcomes to better plan, build roadmaps, track progress, and drive organisational change. Wish I had a bunch of copies to give to people a few months back when I was explaining this stuff to a client's management team. Super short, sharp book that explains why working with outcomes is so important at all levels of an organisation. Josh has collected some great examples and references around using outcomes to better plan, build roadmaps, track progress, and drive organisational change. Wish I had a bunch of copies to give to people a few months back when I was explaining this stuff to a client's management team.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Martino Liu

    Outcome driven organizations definitely follow UX and Data-Driven approaches. Design Thinking is, Agile and Lean methodologies are permeating gratefully the organizational landscape and changing for the good the way leaders can promote partners and collaborators behavior change to accomplish greater results. This is a very actionable book. You can almost immediately put it into practice.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Anjul

    The book provides a good primer to move from output based thinking to outcomes. The topic is vast and as the Josh himself shares it takes courage to implement this approach. It’s great that this quick under an hour read provides so much value and gets you to think how to focus towards outcomes and steer your organisation in that direction.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Beto

    Very short book that can be read to ground yourself when you are about to start a new quarter at your company. The author's style is to the point but they still manage to illustrate everything with examples. Very short book that can be read to ground yourself when you are about to start a new quarter at your company. The author's style is to the point but they still manage to illustrate everything with examples.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Francisco

    This book is a Small but powerfull tool This book is one of the best book about outcome and value view point in business agility. It explain very well the problematic between Impact and Output and how it could be solutioned with Outcome.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Leonid Shevtsov

    How to deliver value with software projects? A short book on a simple idea - think not only about what you are building, but also about the change it brings to the user’s behavior. It really hits the nail on the head on connecting features to business value.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Matt Brown

    Brief overview of important business practices of the importance of end results rather than the output to get there. Important in the software world where products are never 'done' and you can fall into the trap of always developing but may lose track of the why. Brief overview of important business practices of the importance of end results rather than the output to get there. Important in the software world where products are never 'done' and you can fall into the trap of always developing but may lose track of the why.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jason Knight

    This was a surprise! Very short but like a one inch punch of relevant information and an excellent primer with follow on reading recommendations. Would recommend to anyone struggling with feature factories, vanity metrics and meaningless roadmaps.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Carl Rannaberg

    Great little book about how to practice agile in a useful way, concentrating on outcomes (key results) instead of output (features) or impact (result of many different outcomes).

  20. 5 out of 5

    Daniil Lanovyi

    The core idea of the book is cool. For the implementation details, you'll need to reach for other sources. The core idea of the book is cool. For the implementation details, you'll need to reach for other sources.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Andrius Zygmanta

    A book that shifted my perspective on product management. Highly recommended to read by anyone who makes decisions what to build.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Michael Strong

    Only one hour. All meat. Great book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Goran Saveski

    This short book is easily one of my best reads in a while, to a point where it has changed the way I think about work and life in general. Brilliant, a must-read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jrene

    Haven't heard of this approach before. Super interesting and easy to understand explained with practical examples. Short and helpful introduction to the topic with tips for further in-depth reading. Haven't heard of this approach before. Super interesting and easy to understand explained with practical examples. Short and helpful introduction to the topic with tips for further in-depth reading.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Eszter

    It’s a short book but it helps shifting the view from creating more and more features to creating less but deliver value. It is certainly worth a read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sergey

    Quite short and simple but straight to the point book. Definitely makes you think.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Marek

    Great book with lots of valuable content! It’s also short and concise enough to encourage a re-read (or re-listen).

  28. 5 out of 5

    Antti Kirjavainen

    Nice, concise book about an important and evergreen topic.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ankit

    A must for every Product Manager. Though a short book, it packs a punch when it comes to delivering value.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nacho Bassino

    Short read explaining the importance and how to build a more outcome-oriented approach.

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