Note: This is an excerpt from our ebook, “Outcomes Engineering: Your Winning Formula for Success.” Download the full ebook to learn more.
Do you know the difference between project outputs and outcomes? Outputs are the deliverables of a project or client engagement. Outcomes are the level of performance or achievement that occur as a result of the activity or services your organization provides. Outcomes are changes in behavior or conditions that reflect a positive impact, and are specific and measurable.
Master these 5 steps to engineering outcomes and you will be able to measure the success of your projects, with nothing left to interpretation by you or your clients.
5 Steps to Decipher Your Organization’s Outcomes
The following five steps before, during and after your project will help you evaluate potential project outcomes, identify specific outcomes for a given project and the data you will need to measure outcome:
1. Describe the Outcomes You Want to Achieve
What type of impact do you want to have? Review your organization’s mission, your most successful projects, the types of clients you both currently serve and want to attract, and the ways in which you want to impact your market through products and services. This will help you understand why you provide these services beyond generating revenue. Use this time to create a list of desired outcomes that can be targeted through future projects.
2. Create Quantifiable Measures
While outcomes are typically focused on the broader impact of a project, these effects still need to have quantifiable data attached to them. Consider potential measurements that can be directly related to your project outcomes and set a goal that you want to reach, such as clients experiencing a specific percentage increase in website traffic, margins growing stronger by a specific amount, the organization’s average amount of client growth, and more that can be measured and compared to before and after the project’s completion.
3. Determine if Desired Outcomes are Linked to Outputs
It can be easy to correlate improvements experienced by a client to project outputs, such as linking the development of a new website to a client’s revenue increasing. As such, it is critical to ensure that the outcomes you want are based on your actual work. This will help you both adjust projects as needed and more effectively choose outcomes to measure.
4. Track Measurements Over Time
Because outcomes measure the larger effect a project has on a client, these measurements will need to be tracked over time. Make sure to check back in with clients for a set period of time determined by realistic expectations to measure the long term effects of your work.
5. Pull Actionable Data From Outcomes
Review your project outcomes after completion to determine the actual impact your project has had on the client. Take data measurements and compare them to the outcome goals that were created prior to the start of the project. This will help your organization determine just how well it met these goals, how it can improve projects, and what can be done to create outputs that have stronger effects on outcomes.
Find Major Success in Outcomes Engineering
Measuring outcomes is just the first step in improving how you affect your clients. Learn how to improve your overall impact as a company in our insightful new ebook, “Outcomes Engineering: Your Winning Formula for Success.”