Define Success

We clearly define the expected business outcomes the project team must deliver and ensure all stakeholders have a common understanding of success. Business and IT collaborate to define the desired outcome based on five key discussion topics: vision, stakeholders, needs, application and business goals. We recommend to use the Application Vision Board template to guide you through this exercise in a collaborative effort (download link at the bottom of this article).


A statement or slogan that captures the application’s purpose. What is  the essence of what we will achieve by implementing the product? It can be something straightforward like “Quickly and easily onboard new hires to our company.” 


Which people should benefit most from the product? Who are the product’s users, customers and wider stakeholders who will feel the (bottom-line) benefit from the outcome (e.g. the sponsor or line manager of the end users). For an internal recruitment and hiring application this can be HR Officials, Recruitment Agents, Legal, Line Managers and the new hires themselves. 


“What problem are we trying to solve?” Identify pain points and bottlenecks in the current way of working; functional and technical. You can also ask: “what are the benefits the solution should provide?”. Possible responses can be:

  • Increase transparency of the process so we can easily see where and with whom a request is currently sitting
  • Give new employees a smooth and pleasant first exposure to internal operations
  • Ensure a quick and easy handover between task owners without delays and lost emails


We define the high level features or characteristics that will drive the product value. For example: the product needs to be web-based and accessible via mobile devices, or tasks need to be automatically created and assigned to task owners.

The output helps the development team visualize the application and set expectations to project and product capability. 

Business Goals

What are the measurable business goals in order of priority? These goals typically relate to a business’ Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Examples of these are: reducing new hire boarding lead time from 5 days to less than 1 day, or reduce the time spent on boarding by all users in the process by 60%.

The business goals provide the ultimate benchmark to measure the need and priority of a business requirement. They are also key input for defining and prioritizing the application’s report requirements.

Key Insight: KPIs serve multiple purposes

Establishing measures for the business goals of a project allows to calculate the project’s return on investment, and can be used as a way to clarify the expected outcome to the entire project team. Also, you can use it to assist with difficult prioritization decisions by asking how a feature contributes to the overall objective. 


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