(2018-01-08) Done Is Dead Welcome To Outcome-driven Development: SD Times

Done is dead – welcome to outcome-driven development - SD Times. Welcome to the brave new world of outcome-driven development. Here, “done” means delivering measurable business value, not simply completing user stories.

The outcome-driven team works from a roadmap expressed as a series of goals, rather than a set of features. It is prioritized and punctuated with milestones just like a traditional roadmap, but the difference is that nobody knows how many releases it will take to reach those milestones

At a high level, the process looks like this: Teams ship new code to production constantly, using feature flags that let them silently toggle new functionality on or off to control what customers see. They progressively roll out new functionality to customers, monitoring how the change affects user behavior and impacts relevant metrics. That feedback then determines the team’s next steps

Not only do outcome-oriented goals speak to business value, there’s room for the responsible teams to decide exactly what work should be done. Shipping a new feature might be the best way to reduce churn, but then again, improving the existing onboarding flow might be even more effective and potentially cheaper.

On the culture front, teams should start by re-articulating their quarterly goals in terms of measurable results (not outputs of effort). The objectives and key results (OKRs) framework for goal setting is really useful for this: we have been using this at Atlassian for a few years, and it’s definitely helped re-orient us toward outcomes

Then re-frame the roadmap as a series of measurable outcomes instead of features. Think about customers in terms of their “jobs to be done,” and figure out ways to meet their needs.


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