Outcome Mapping & Scrum (episode 3)

Johannes Geske
Dec 9, 2019 · 3 min read

In our last episode „Starting with Outcome Mapping“, Sharon explained the structure of an outcome map to Bruce. Both then created an outcome map for their goal. While Bruce wasn’t convinced at the start, he couldn’t wait to produce outputs. In the end Sharon had to stop him from rushing things.

Shortly after that meeting, Bruce and Sharon met with the Development Team to refine the Product Backlog. The Development Team was already familiar with outcome mapping, so Sharon kept her explanation short:

She emphasized that outputs are usually just assumptions of value. Like any assumption they need to see if it’s true, and so they should try to find out if building these outputs will actually lead to the outcomes we want.

Sharon, Bruce and the Development Team then went on to refine the outputs by adding details, estimates, assumed value and order. For outputs with higher estimates or riskier assumptions, they defined experiments they would run to test their assumptions and avoid investing time into creating something that has no value.

When their meeting came to an end, a lot of the outputs were “ready” and could be selected for the coming Sprint. That’s when Bruce, who had been actively participating in the meeting, asked about the outputs and outcomes that weren’t discussed.

After Sharon had explained how the Outcome Map was like an iceberg that had the most valuable Product Backlog items at its top and those with the lowest value at the bottom, Bruce was content. He offered to help with Product Backlog refinement and was looking forward to the Sprint Review where they’d be reviewing the increment and discussing what to do next.

In this post, we learned how Product Owners can use outcome mapping to increase the transparency of their Product Backlog. The outcome map makes transparent the relationship between a goal, the players contributing to that goal, their desired behaviors and the outputs built by the Development Team that are assumed to lead to these behaviors. With that transparency in place, Product Owners, Scrum Teams and their stakeholders can improve their collaboration to maximize product value.

If you find that outcome mapping is a valuable exercise for you, you’ll find more information about outcome mapping including an outcome map template on our website.

What would you like to read about in our next episode of Amazing Decision? We would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment on this LinkedIn post.

Amazing Outcomes

We create amazing outcomes that exceed your goals.

Johannes Geske

Written by

I help organizations create amazing outcomes that exceed their goals by focusing on outcomes over outputs.

Amazing Outcomes

We create amazing outcomes that exceed your goals.

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