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Outcome Management: Lessons Learned and Best Practices

5  Conclusions

The consensus of all parties consulted during the study was that Outcome Management provides significant value in focusing their thinking on the outcomes as opposed to the deliverables, that it engages a broad set of stakeholders in the process, and that it should be conducted as early on in the initiative lifecycle as possible.

Outcome Management provided more value than traditional cost-benefit analysis through its techniques, facilitation, models, and ability to incorporate softer benefits on an equal footing as the hard benefits such as financial savings, which was especially helpful on the more complex initiatives.

However, demonstrating the value of Outcomes Management overall has been difficult to do with this set of eight pilot projects, as they are all still in the early stages in their lifecycle.  Intuitively, all participants agreed that Outcome Management is very valuable, but at this point the proof is elusive – it is anecdotal, without any demonstrated results in the Canadian federal government as yet.

As indicated by the research and best practices, other western countries are in various stages of introduction and adoption of Outcome Management (or equivalent), implying there are sufficient positive outcomes of Outcome Management.

The key to the successful adoption of the approach in Canada is the demonstration of that value, which can best be done by following a sample of the eight projects that were consulted as part of this assignment.  At the time of writing, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada’s National Land and Water Information Service (NLWIS) had embarked on Stage 2 of the Outcome Management Process, and some of the other projects expressing interest in continuing further as well.

The key conclusion therefore, is that Outcome Management has significant value in the planning stages of an initiative, as demonstrated by the lessons learned detailed in this report.  However, there needs to be follow-up in the latter stages of those initiatives in the measuring and monitoring and benefits harvesting stages to demonstrate the full value of Outcome Management.  Once this is done, the buy-in from departments to adopt the approach should follow, when they see that initiatives are more successful in attaining the intended outcomes by using the Outcome Management approach.