Outcomes vs Outputs - Agile game - A beautiful summer meadow Spring has very much sprung and this topic remains a common one I face when working with organisations. How do you help change the focus more towards outcome delivery vs outputs? This game was adapted from a physical version shared by David Barnholdt and is now available within Miro. When to use this game? - Do you have stakeholders or product owners presenting your teams with solutions rather than problems to be solved? - Are your user stories extremely detailed lists of specific requirements? Then this game is for you. Play this game with your teams or those within your company to show them in a very tangible way, how it feels, and what the result is, when you're delivering outputs vs outcomes. Access the Miro template below; Download Miro template 𝗛𝗼𝘄 𝘁𝗼 𝗿𝘂𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗸𝘀𝗵𝗼𝗽?
- Allow group to self organise into equally sized teams (Ideally 4 people per team)
-Once organised, send the teams to their team spaces (they'll each have their own frame). Some teams will have an outcome focused brief, the other half, an output focused one.
- The team must draw their brief using the pen function in Miro only, and do so in silence. - Confirm understanding of the brief & set a timer for 2mins - Observe results, share the different brief each team was given and discuss learnings with the group afterwards - With discussion time, this game should last around 15-20 minutes Learnings;
I've led this game or a seasonal variant of it (Think 'A festive Christmas scene'), with around 10 teams and the outcome is nearly always the same. Whilst noting that both teams brief led with the statement 'Draw a beautiful summer meadow' and both teams were aware that this was the name of the game.. The teams given the outcome focused brief ultimately produce something closer to being a summer meadow. The teams given the detailed requirements focus intently on these requirements and lose sight of the bigger picture, the outcome to be delivered.
Teams with the detailed focused brief felt rushed, that they had too much to do in too little time. They had no creativity or artistic license / autonomy. Whereas the teams with the outcome focused brief felt they had this.
Parallels were drawn to software development, when stories are accepted into the backlog that are outcome focused, teams are empowered to use their expertise autonomously and suggest the best solution, rather than mindlessly delivering to a task and feeling like a "JIRA ticket machine".
It was recognised that sometimes an outcome can be the beginning, achieving a basic MVP before detail being used to iterate further beyond an initial version. Also that in some scenarios we may have to focus on detail to deliver the outcome.
Teams enjoyed the opportunity to reflect on outcome vs detailed requirement, there was a lot of laughter at what ultimately each had drawn and it was a good bonding experience.