🛠️ PP #295: User Outcomes are Flipped User Problems


Linked Better Practices over Stacked Best Practices

READ ON

HERBIG.CO

PUBLISHED

Sep 29, 2023

READING TIME

4 min & 13 sec

​Dear Reader,​

Many product teams perceive the focus on User Outcomes as arbitrary goal-setting and the opposite of serving users. And it‘s easy to understand why.

Many widely shared examples of User Outcomes out there read like this:

„Users buy more tickets“

„Customers use more integrations. “

„Returning shoppers add more items to their basket.“

A product leader recently approached me after a conference talk, sharing his team‘s concerns that Outcomes would just be repackaged business goals. Looking at the above examples, his team would be right. These read like how the company or business wants their customers to behave.

To make Outcomes (aka changes in human behavior) useful, you have to remember that they should describe changes in behavior that are useful to the audience you intend to serve, which requires a proven problem.

Useful Outcomes = Useful for the User

It‘s not enough if Outcomes describe „technically correct“ changes in behavior. Instead, there should be a clear connection between business-informed research intent and insights generated by qualitative and quantitative techniques.

Another way to approach this is to look at Outcomes as flipped user problems:

The simple question teams need to try and answer here is, „How would users whose problems got solved behave?“ This will then be the foundation for finding appropriate measures to set in your OKRs.

HOW TO PUT THIS THEORY INTO PRACTICE

  • Do your prioritized Outcomes read like something the company wants? If yes, dig for a problem worth solving based on first-hand evidence.
  • Ask team members how you‘d know you solved this problem for users to go from problem to Outcome.
  • Don‘t focus on User Outcomes for the sake of it. Make sure you prioritize Outcomes that serve mid-term business goals through Impact Mapping.

If you enjoyed this, you can share the essay on LinkedIn here.

That's (almost) all, Reader. If you enjoyed today's issue, please do reply (it helps with deliverability). If you didn't, you can unsubscribe here.

Thank you for Practicing Product,

Tim

PS: My friend Itamar released his long-awaited book "Evidence-Guided" last week. It's a practical synthesis of the principles taught by Itamar to help companies move away from opinions and towards more evidence. I highly recommend checking it out

Amazon USA: http://amazon.com/dp/B0CJCDP1H7

Amazon UK: http://amazon.co.uk/dp/B0CJCDP1H7

Amazon Germany: http://amazon.de/dp/B0CJCDP1H7

Early Bird In-Person Workshop Rates End Soon

The Early Bird rates for my January 2024 workshops on Product Strategy, Product OKRs, and Product Discovery in Berlin expire on October 10. Secure your spot to make the most of your 2024 L&D budget.

Bundle options are available if you're interested in more than one workshop. For team packages, reply to this email for a custom quote.

What did you think of this week's newsletter?

👎

Bad

🤷‍♂️

Meh

👍

Great

Click here if you only want to see what's behind each option

Content I found Practical This Week

On the Art and Science of OKRs

I was a guest on the Dreams With Deadlines podcast to talk about my personal experience of "getting into OKRs," why I think most OKRs lack everyday usefulness, why product teams often (rightfully) resist the introduction of OKRS, and much more.

My critique of “the Spotify Model”: Part 1

Although I think cross-pollination is still valuable, there’s now probably more emphasis on Spotify’s version of the “paved path” pattern, called Golden Path. There is training, support, tooling, etc. for the Golden Path BUT you are able to make a different decision if it makes sense and are willing to take on the overhead yourself. Someone will probably check in if the decision doesn’t make sense. Cross-pollination > standardization? It’s more cross-pollination AND Golden Paths AND Tech Radar > imposed standardization.

Picking sharp problems, increasing virality, and unique product frameworks

Frankly, it's rare that I genuinely enjoy a product management interview podcast in full. But this conversation by Lenny with Oji Udezue was a delightful exception. In particular, Oji's take that it's more important to understand the fundamentals of what constitutes a framework than learning new ones resonated with me.

Who is Tim Herbig?

As a Product Management Coach, I guide Product Teams to measure the progress of their evidence-informed decisions.

I identify and share the patterns among better practices to connect the dots of Product Strategy, Product OKRs, and Product Discovery.

Here are a few ways we can work together:

Product Practice Newsletter

1 tip & 3 resources per week to improve your Strategy, OKRs, and Discovery practices in less than 5 minutes.

Read more from Product Practice Newsletter

Product Practice #328 My 2024 Mid-Year Review READ ON HERBIG.CO PUBLISHED Jun 28, 2024 READING TIME 5 min & 20 sec This is the last newsletter before my annual summer writing break. I will return on August 16th after next week's issue. In the meantime, follow me on LinkedIn for more hands-on content. ☀️ Dear Reader, I first encountered the concept of a mid-year review via Tiago Forte a few years back. After I published 7 Things I Learned from Writing a Weekly Product Management Newsletter for...

Product Practice #327 How Product Leaders CanGuide Their Team's OKRs READ ON HERBIG.CO PUBLISHED Jun 21, 2024 READING TIME 3 min & 51 sec This is the second-to-last newsletter before my annual summer writing break. I will return on August 16th after next week's issue. ☀️ For the scope of this essay, I will define Product Leaders as members of a Product Management function with people management responsibilities (e.g., Director of Product, Head of Product, VP of Product, etc.). Product leaders...

Product Practice #326 4 Learnings fromWorking on 40 NSMs READ ON HERBIG.CO PUBLISHED Jun 14, 2024 READING TIME 5 min & 0 sec Dear Reader, During an ongoing long-term Discovery and Metrics Coaching engagement, I had the opportunity to meet many different external and internal-facing teams. One of this company’s focus points is the establishment of more metrics-informed decision-making, and they landed on North Star Metrics (NSMs) as a critical vehicle for that. Here are my four key takeaways...