How to define outcomes to deliver value faster

If you want to deliver value faster, you need to know more than the problem you’re trying to solve.

Photo by Alex Blăjan on Unsplash

You also need to know what success looks like.

Start by asking people to define and explain the ideal outcome. The ideal outcome is without restriction, including technical and budget limitations.

Make it a conversation.

Don’t worry about what is possible while focusing on what the ideal solution looks and feels like. Explore why this solution matters and the difference it makes.

By removing the constraints of time, technology, and budget, we sometimes get a more clear picture of what we’re trying to do… which often reveals different (and sometimes better) pathways to get there.

Then get practical and ask people to define and explain the acceptable outcome.

This is often harder to pin down. Seems to be the limitation of our understanding of the costs and consequences of the problem. If needed, focus on exploring the stakes in more detail.

Asking about the acceptable outcome isn’t an effort to set a low bar. We’ve all come across the deals where the price/time/effort magically matches whatever we have. Or the salesperson who’s deal is precisely our budget. Set that aside for now.

Clarifying the ideal and acceptable outcomes sets the parameters for success.

While shooting for the upper bound of the ideal, we can focus on meeting or exceeding the acceptable outcome.

Perhaps as important, it helps steer us away from “all-or-nothing” thinking (and acting). This happens when we interpret what the executive asks for as the “only thing” — creating problems for us.

Use the ideal and acceptable outcomes to define the approach in a way that allows us to deliver value faster.

Finishing work that delivers value is better than wasting time and money on an impossible, if ideal, outcome.

The more we do this, the better we get at matching time and effort to outcome and expected value.

Then we use the extra time and energy to solve more of the right problems, delivering even more value.

Originally published at




Connects security with the business

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

What I done did in May 2022

7 Radical Productivity Hacks You’ve Totally Heard of But Not From Me (Doubt You’ve Actually Tried…

Just because you want to ‘hustle’ doesn’t mean you can’t be patient

5 Ways to Get You Out of The Work from Home Funk


Everyone loves a quick win.

2019 has been a wonderful year, the best year of my life.

Get more done by doing less

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store


Connects security with the business

More from Medium

The 5 steps to increase the teamwork

Working together is a success

What are OKRs? and how to use OKRs in your work and personal life to be productive and reach goals?

How To Lead An Agile-ish Life

How to Work Smarter and Not Harder?