“Good outcome, bad outcome”

“Good outcome, bad outcome” is a great conversation framing magic trick.

For example, yesterday I discussed user research with Marko, my new lead. Here’s how I framed my perspective:

A good outcome would be:

  • We have just enough customer research to answer our product questions.
  • The team is fully aware of the “voice of the customer”, and uses it to guide product decisions.
  • We ship the right product, it squarely addresses customer need, and is successful in the market.

A bad outcome would be:

  • We build what we think we should build, without any customer input.
  • Our product isn’t successful in the market, because we haven’t addressed customer need.”

Boom! Immediate clarity to the conversation. If we agree on the desired outcome, we can start brainstorming how we get there. If we don’t agree on the desired outcome, there’s no point in endlessly talking about what we might do.

All too often, a discussion turns into an argument because Person A is talking about apples and Person B is talking about oranges. “Good outcome, bad outcome” is an amazingly effective way to create clarity and gain alignment.

Forever grateful to Justin Kistner for the hack.

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