Objective-level review of outcome pictures

In this article:
Any outcome on the objective must match exactly one cell. Sometimes a picture is missing.

Previous article: Picture and Cell Review

Parent article: Risk in work unit business planning: Prove and consolidate the outcome pictures

This article was improved 1 September 2017.


When you have reviewed each of the cells for an objective, look at the way the pictures work as a whole to paint a series of alternative success and failure levels. For each objective, consider the following questions.

Any outcome on the objective must match exactly one cell.

Would any real-world outcome on the objective match one of the cells? None? Pictures in two or more cells?

What won’t work is having a well-defined real-world result (however unlikely) that could equally land on two or more of the outcome cells you’ve defined. In that case, re-write one or more of the outcome pictures. You may also find that one of your objective is actually two different objectives, in which case you edit the objectives list and split your existing pictures across the two new objectives.

Unit Objective: Prevent and avoid actual or perceived unit violations of organisation values and codes of conduct Unit Objective: Prevent and avoid actual or perceived unit violations of organisation values and codes of conduct
Success/Failure level Outcome pictures Success/Failure level Outcome pictures
Success All team members have been kept aware of expectations by unit leaders and remain fully aware of them at the end of the year. BECOMES Success Payroll unit behaviours have been well within values and codes. Any exceptions by individual team members were addressed decisively. Awareness of expectations is entrenched.

If there are no cells anywhere for a newly imagined potential result, you will need to create at least one outcome picture that contains that result. Finding the right cell for it may lead to re-writing some existing outcome pictures, or to moving existing pictures between cells.

Sometimes a picture is missing.

For each kind of picture in the row, is there a related picture in the cells representing better or worse outcomes? For example, if the ‘Success’ cell includes ‘operate within the approved budget’, is there something like ‘Operate within budget, with some explainable exceptions’ in the adjacent ‘Qualified Success’ cell?

In the following payroll example, there is a gap to the extent that the Success pictures do not refer to benefits from the change project. Benefits were important enough to mention in the Objective itself, and in the Excellence and Qualified Success pictures.

Unit Objective: Move to a new payroll system and service arrangements with long term benefits Unit Objective: Move to a new payroll system and service arrangements with long term benefits
Success/Failure level Outcome pictures Success/Failure level Outcome pictures
Excellence The payroll unit is the effective leader on the change, more so than the nominal project manager. As a result, greater benefits will be delivered sooner, at lower capital cost. STAYS AS Excellence The payroll unit is the effective leader on the change, more so than the nominal project manager. As a result, greater benefits will be delivered sooner, at lower capital cost.
Success New system and service on track, and not delayed by factors controlled within the payroll unit.

Payroll unit has participated productively in the change project.

BECOMES Success New system and service on track. Benefits and delivery schedule have not been compromised by factors controlled within the payroll unit.

Payroll unit has participated productively in the change project.

Qualified Success The change project is still expected to produce benefits. There has been some delay caused by payroll unit issues. STAYS AS Qualified Success The change project is still expected to produce benefits. There has been some delay caused by payroll unit issues.

Clear similarities between adjacent cells are not always necessary. However, asking the question may lead to filling in gaps that should be filled.

Reviewing continuity across cells can be easier if each objective is split into sub-objectives, each representing an outcome theme.

Again, you might find there are other random changes you want to make while working through these questions. When you’re happy with one objective, proceed to the next objective, until you have passed the tests for all the objectives.


Next article:

Review of the whole picture collection

Merging complementary objectives

Previous article: Picture and Cell Review

Parent article: Risk in work unit business planning: Prove and consolidate the outcome pictures

Index to the series

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