Input, Output, and Outcome
Input, Output, and Outcome
A discussion of the importance of the relationship between Input, Output, and Outcome.
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Many years ago, I questioned myself about what makes a software product successful and what makes it fail. In project management, I observed that even when we deliver the project within budget, scope, and time, it still may not succeed when launching into the market.
I researched and observed what is essential to make a product successful, and I found that: one of the things that impact the success of the product is a weak connection between Input, Output, and Outcome. People are quick to focus too much on Output but less likely to focus on Outcome. Developers also fail to connect the three ideas.
Definition of "Input," "Output," and "Outcome."
Input: Anything needed for a project or product. In this context, will be money, time, resources, people, efforts, plans, and documents.
Output: In terms of the project or product: features, products, or a service that can be used by users.
Outcome: Feedback from the user when using the product or the features.
If we investigate deeper, when we invest Money, Resources, and Technology to a project, it is "Input”. Then the result of that investment is a product, or features meet with the initial requirement, on-time, and on the budget is "Output". In the next step, we deliver the product and features to market for the end-users to use. In this phase, the feedbacks and feeling of the users about the product or service is "Outcome".
The Broken Line Between Input, Output, and Outcome.
Many people thought that the product would be a success if it had more features than the competitor. It is not entirely wrong, but the success of the product also relies on other elements. Such as: whether the users are happy with the features of the product, or if it makes them disappointed and they switch to the competitor, despite the lack of features. In this case, you will lose the users and waste all the efforts to build the product.
Software development is a complex environment, by “Technology”, "People" and "Market". Therefore, focus on increasing the number of features, or trying to gold plate the idea, looking for perfection, but not link it with the market is a danger. It can lead you to build an outdated product or a thing users never need.
For that reason, let’s build the line to connect your product with the users and get feedback about the product as soon as possible and frequently. It will help you collect the data and sight to continues to improve product values. Instead of spending all money, effort, and long duration to develop, then bring it to the market, it just likes a big gamble, where you play "All in" but the percent of win is low.
"Input", "Output" or "Outcome" are the same level of importance. If you forget one or do not have a connect the three, it will impact the success of your product. Therefore, build the circle to deliver value to the user fast and frequently and learn from your users. That is the core of Scrum. Every Sprint (with time-box is one month), we have a Done Increment is ready to send to the users. From that, we will receive feedback to improve our product in the next Sprint. Scrum creates a strong connection between "Input", "Output", and "Outcome".
Published at DZone with permission of Khoa Doan Tien , DZone MVB. See the original article here.
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