Keep the focus on outcomes

I’m not sure how I missed this one, but Jonathan at Manage by Walking Around conveys a great story about keeping desired outcomes and performing organizations aligned (here).  Per a number of earlier posts on the triple constraint and scope (here, here, and Bas’s post here), project managers need to get better attuned to the outcomes and benefits of their projects’ deliverables and whether all are aligned.

The [Sarasota, FL] Parks and Rec department struggled with recruiting and retaining lifeguards for the public pools…  Rather than treating this as budget issue, try to optimize processes, or streamline headcount, management went back to first principles to determine what outcome they were trying to achieve. Lifeguards are there to protect citizens… prevent emergencies and quickly provide medical assistance if they do happen.

This step is simple, but it isn’t easy.  Because once you start to look at first principles, it is a short jump to the realization that perhaps one shouldn’t be performing a function (or that the current deliverable won’t generate the desired outcome).  And that’s exactly what happened here…

Once they focused on these outcomes, it didn’t take the Parks and Rec department long to realize that protection, prevention and assistance weren’t their core strengths…  As a result, they transferred responsibility for safeguarding pools to Public Services, giving lifeguards a career path as emergency medical technicians (EMT) or as firemen.  Guess what?  Job satisfaction and retention skyrocketed. 

One Response

  1. […] “they are only hiring teenagers”.  Here is one article on how this has worked: Keep the focus on outcomes […]

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