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Decision making and outcome driven planning

Author: David Mason

Often businesses that are planning a major change put more focus into business requirements than business outcomes. Strong decision making for any process, BAU or project, stems from a clear understanding of the business outcomes (not the requirements) aiming to be achieved.

The Government of Canada describes Outcome Management as, all about planning, managing and achieving the intended outcomes of an initiative or a program. It is all about having the same focus and discipline around attaining these outcomes as the domain of Project Management has around delivering the capability and the systems in an on-time and on-budget manner”.

Outcome in instances of major change refers to the larger organisation strategies trying to be achieved. These strategies are generally broken down into requirements and worked into a series of activities and solutions that inherently align to achieving the original intent.

Too often process and technical design decisions are being made without appreciation of that end business outcome. This results in unnecessary activity and increases the project timeframe and cost, with business change and stress being incurred once true delivery begins.

Focusing on business outcomes and not purely requirements minimises the ongoing maintenance and support overheads. This is because meeting the right requirements with business outcomes in mind delivers the real organisational need and avoids unnecessary complexity and ongoing re-work.

Outcome driven planning allows for better decision making and management of an overall program and a more efficient and economical project delivery.