Tag Archives: focus

Output vs Outcome vs Impact

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Here is an attempt to establish a definition of Output, Outcome and Impacts! It is based on my interpretation of the work of Jeff Patton, Marty Cagan and Clayton Christensen, with some good input from Gojko Adzic, John Seddon and John Cutler.

How Outputs generate Outcomes that generate Impacts

Why is that remotely interesting? To bring clarity to important discussions! Output, Outcome and Impact are usually used interchangeably for each other in important discussions on strategy, goals and objectives. In my experience, this brings confusion over what we try to achieve and the criteria for success. Being specific on the meaning of these words, and when to use them, help us have the right conversations when discussion goals.

A clear definition helps us differentiate between three very different approaches to goal setting: Output focus, Outcome focus and Impact focus. These strategies are grounded in three widely different mindsets and mental models, each with its own models, processes and tools.

  • Output-focus is about maximizing the number of “stuff” (features, epics, products) produced. This is a valid focus when you’re making a big bet that you’re pretty sure will have the right outcome and positive impact. It could be a pre-requisite to other bets or initiatives. When having an output focus, remember that customers do not want features; they want you to solve their problems!
  • Outcome-focus is about applying yourself to understanding your customer needs, solving their problems and creating new possibilities for them. You know that you’re succeeding when your customers have changed, or adopted, behaviors that make their life easier.
  • Impact-focus is about maximizing the bottom-line for the organization in term of revenues. Generally, actions here tend to be dictated by cost accounting, resource efficiency and economies of scale with the purpose of cutting costs. It may be a very valid focus for a while, but remember that an organization that focuses on solving its own problems doesn’t have time to solve its customers’. Do that for too long and you’ve lost sight of your customers; what was the purpose of the organization to start with?

Of the three possible strategies presented here, one really sticks out in our VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) saturated world where the customer is in the driver seat: a focus on Outcomes help organizations succeed better by achieving “customer centricity“. Indeed, “Good Things” (like greater Impact/revenues), will naturally come as a bi-effect from the relentless focus on customer Outcomes. That, is the foundation of Business Agility: organization/corporate success comes today from the ability to continuously innovate on behalf of your customers.

So, what’s your current focus? Is it the right one? Bring clarity to your important discussions at all levels by differentiating between Outputs, Outcomes and Impacts.


Jeff Patton

Marty Cagan

Clayton Christensen

John Seddon

Gojko Adzic

John Cutler

Get Awesome Team Focus with this daily routine!

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Tired of the same old boring and ineffective daily meetings with your team?

Try this new Awesome Team Focus daily routine!

It will help your team use a swarming technique to laser-focus on the stuff that really matters and get it done. As a bonus it will help you start limiting Work In Process without realizing it!

Welcome to your new effective and efficient team!


Focus – my keynote at AgileByExample, Warsaw

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Here is my slide (yes, it’s just one slide) from my keynote at AgileByExample in Warsaw. And a¬†video of the talk. Scroll down for a written summary.


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Focus. Slides from my keynote at BrewingAgile, Gothenburg

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Here are the slides from my keynote “Focus” at BrewingAgile Gotheburg. It was about how to achieve more by working less.

Feel free to reuse ūüôā

PS – here is a video of the entire talk.

The value of focus training

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Strangely, in most companies people are considered perfectly healthy until they suddenly burn out. While in reality, it seems that a large number of people are somewhere between those two states, and could use some help to get more focused and less stressed.

We had a guy, Mattis Erngren, visit us at Crisp and do a session on focus training and meditation. Very pragmatic, interesting, and useful session. Highly recommended. Mattis and his company Lightly are on a mission to make focus training a standard offering at all companies, just like other health benifits like gym and such things. The brain is a muscle and it needs training too, to stay in shape.

So go ahead and contact the guys at http://lightly.io and bring them over. They offer free trial sessions so it’s really a no-brainer.

Incidentally, Jeff Sutherland was at the session at Crisp, and revealed that he used to be an avid meditator, and that Scrum was actually conceived during a meditation session. As in, the idea behind Scrum popped into his head right after a session. Interesting! When you clear your mind from all the noise, you make room for the really powerful stuff.

Focus Рslides from my talk at Projektnäring

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Here are the slides¬†for my talk “Focus” at Projektn√§ring. Great group, lots of energy in the room. Had lots of great conversations with people. Thanks for attending!

Sample pics:

Screen Shot 2014-05-09 at 13.11.23

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