The birth of Outcome

June 20th, 2022
Vignir Gudmunds

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Great organizations start with a few extraordinary people. As they grow in size and complexity, they need more than great people. They need an environment where ordinary people deliver extraordinary results.

Our mission is to enable organizations to become better as they get bigger

We see more and more organizations experimenting with new ways of working as they grow in size and complexity. Why? Because they want to escape what some call the “spiral of death”:

We build something people want -> success -> more people -> more teams -> more alignment -> more meetings -> less time building -> builders leave -> less gets done.

Progressive organizations like Haier, Buurtzorg, Amazon, Netflix, Spotify, and many others have innovated on “how to collaborate at scale” and inspired the rest of us. However what seemed to work for them was hard to replicate for two main reasons.

There was a knowledge gap and an operational gap

The knowledge gap existed because even if we knew that those organizations were different, it was difficult for anyone sitting on the outside to understand how they worked and, more importantly, why it worked. We heard about the “two-pizza-team rule” at Amazon, the “loosely coupled and tightly aligned teams” at Spotify, and the “no rules policy” at Netflix, but it was only the visible part of the iceberg.

In the last few years however, thanks to the work of practitioners, scholars and researchers, a rich body of literature has emerged which largely closes the knowledge gap. It includes the authors of Corporate Rebels, Empowered, Team Topologies, Brave New Work, Working Backwards, and more. Among other important ideas, they revealed that most progressive organizations embrace transparency, team empowerment and decentralized decision making as core operating principles.

The knowledge gap has largely been closed. What great looks like is no longer a mystery.

Inspired by this movement, Outcome co-founders, Vignir and Guðrún, led initiatives at CCP Games and Tempo to create empowered and outcome-driven cross-functional teams. The main challenge at the time was not to convince people to adopt new ways of working, as the ideas were compelling. Rather, it was to turn ideas into practice.

Vignir and Guðrún hit the operational gap, which is still wide open

When transforming to empower teams, the attention shifts away from individuals and projects towards ensuring that cross-functional teams have a clear purpose, ownership and measures of success within explicit boundaries. The problem that Vignir and Guðrún faced was that most tools used by tech companies are not designed for this shift. For example: Org charts describe the hierarchy of individuals and software development tools primarily focus on managing outputs such as tasks or projects. Leaders and teams need more than their existing workarounds like Excel, Powerpoint, Google Docs, Confluence or Miro, to manually build their own team management systems. In those tools, essential team information remains scattered, hard to track, hard to update, and hard to access.

Outcome is building the platform that empowered teams run on

Outcome will serve as a single-source-of-truth for progressive tech companies to empower teams. It will become the main interface for essential team information, increasing transparency and alignment within the organization.

The first version of our team platform will remove much of the burden that normally comes with managing a team, so that team leads can spend more time leading and less time managing. Team leads will use Outcome to clarify ownership, express team identities and eliminate most of their administrative burden.

The future of work is already here, we just need to spread it out faster

The operational gap will primarily be solved through technology. The time has come for a new generation of platforms to close this gap and thereby accelerate the adoption of more effective ways of working.

This is why Outcome exists.

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