Outputs and Outcomes – Does it really matter.
As a business analyst of several years in experience ranging from software development to digital transformation in the financial services, consulting and business to business space, I have come to realize that it is possible to have so many configured outputs and a really bad outcome.
The dictionary simply defines an outcome as ‘the way a thing turns out’ synonyms include result, end result, consequence, net result, upshot, effect, aftereffect, aftermath, conclusion, sequel, follow up, issue, product, endproduct, end, development, offshoot, outgrowth, wake etc. Now a thing could be a person, a business entity, an idea, a collection of experiences or whatever. The way it turns out speaks a lot about the output of the business.
An output is defined as ‘the amount of something produced by a person, a machine of industry. Synonyms include production, product, amount/quantity produced, yield, harvest, return, volume, gross national product, gross domestic product, out-turn, achievement, accomplishment, solutions.
From these basic definitions, we understand and gather that outputs can determine outcomes when wisely applied. An output will not always determine or lead to a good outcome.
For business, individual or organizational success, outputs should bring about continual change in line with the business vision, deliver value to all involved and should reflect the expected outcome of the players. If your outputs don’t bring about the expected outcomes, then we may have a problem.
So how can businesses configure their outputs to enable the business to arrive at a predetermined outcome?
Every organization is a living entity with its structure, behaviors, cultures, and other unique attributes. Every one of this said attributes should reflect the business vision. Policies, rules, and regulations all should add up to making sure there is conformity to the expected outcomes. Also, these should be revised from time to time as change is the only constant thing in life and organizations that don’t change will eventually evaporate or lose their place. Ask Kodak and Nokia/Blackberry.
For example, if the vision of any business is to become the best player in its chosen field and there is no evidence to show that there is a commitment to that vision. Commitment should reflect in the business model, value model architecture, and even transformation initiatives.
There will be meetings, tasks, activities, products, people, positions, methodologies, frameworks etc. Do these all point to the expected outcomes.
Businesses that focus on outputs and don’t wisely consider the impact of these outputs on the expected outcomes will continue to fail. The impact can be rehearsed, Outcomes can be predetermined. Success can be rehearsed.
Disclaimer. It is not my intention to write about any specific business but a thought on my experiences over the years. As a business person myself who is on a continuous learning curve, i believe in the continuous transformation to take me to my determined outcome.