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Outcomes Over Output is Product Management

Josh Seiden, Author of Lean UX and Outcomes Over Output, shares what people get wrong about agile and how the nature of management has changed in the digital age.

Josh Seiden helps teams design, build, and launch products and work together more effectively. The insights he’s gained from working with a broad range of companies in diverse industries has led him to write three books: Lean UX, Sense and Respond, and most recently, Outcomes Over Output.

Agile is commonly touted as a cure-all for business problems, but people often misapply it. According to Josh, people mistakenly think that agile means that they can request a list of features and an agile team will deliver them quickly.

For agile to be successful, however, it needs to be a cross-disciplinary way of working where the team’s not a delivery team, but rather a problem solving team whose goal is to achieve a business outcome or solve a customer problem.

According to Josh, companies often focus too much on what they’re trying to make instead of outcome they’re trying to achieve or the problem that they’re trying to solve. Josh explains that “an outcome is a change in human behavior that drives business results.” Instead of focusing on product delivery, teams should focus on problem solving and continuous iteration.

This new approach to product management became is far different than the approaches used in the industrial age. When you’re building physical products, whatever you ship has to be perfect before you send it to manufacturing. Once you send in the order, you can’t easily make changes. But with digital products, even after you launch, you have the ability to iterate.

In the digital age, management doesn’t need to have an annual cadence anymore. Continuous deployment means managers have to rethink their planning processes.

You’ll learn a lot in this episode about modern product management and agile development.

Here are the highlights:

  • What it means to favor outcomes over outputs (4:38)
  • How project planning has changed in the digital age (7:18)
  • What people get wrong about agile and how can they correct it (11:00)
  • How product teams can start working towards outcomes (14:38)

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