Why do you invest in projects and programs? A simple question, but one that many employees likely can’t answer. All investments are made to generate an outcome. Whether that’s financial, reputational, regulatory, or any other category label you want to apply, every investment – in projects, programs, products, capabilities, technologies, et al has to produce a meaningful outcome or it fails.
An outcome, by any other name, still must deliver results
With the realization that one must manage projects to achieve a desired outcome, the concept of outcome management has become a hot topic in the last couple of years. Of course, before that it was called benefits management, a term some might argue morphed into outcome management because too many organizations were fed up with failing to effectively manage benefits. That failure happened because benefits were only used in the business case to secure funding, which was then archived / ignored. Or it was too difficult to measure non-financial benefits and implement a framework to manage benefit attainment. And of course, failing to update benefit projections when other variables changed.
When Google championed a concept invented decades earlier called OKRs – objectives and key results – the opportunity to reinvent the concept as outcome management was born. But if outcome management is going to be more than benefits management 2.0 – and in order to avoid the same less-than-satisfactory results – we need to change what it is and how it’s managed.
Aligning the work you do with your organization’s strategy
Let’s back up a bit. We’ve talked a lot so far about effective strategies and planning. If you’re going to spend time evolving your business towards generating and managing a holistic view of all investments, you’re going to ensure your approach to planning can evolve and adapt and you can effectively deliver work using any modality, you also need to ensure that the results of that work are the focus of everyone’s attention. Because as we said, the only reason any of those investments are happening is to generate an outcome – the right outcome.