Book of the month – June 2024

Book of the month – June 2024

sooner safer happier book cover

Sooner, Safer, Happier Review: Focusing on Outcomes for Success

Have you ever noticed that so many projects seem to drag on and on, with no end in sight? Or that teams can get stuck spinning their wheels without making real progress? In his book Sooner, Safer, Happier, Jonathan Smart lays out a practical roadmap for achieving better outcomes faster.

Drawing on years of experience helping organizations improve, the author zeroes in on what really drives results. Forget output. It’s all about outcomes. Through insightful examples and actionable advice, he shows you how to focus relentlessly on the impacts that truly matter. The brilliance of this book is its simplicity. Smart cuts through the complexities and provides clear guidance to start driving dramatic improvements right away. Reading this, you’ll get equipped with specific techniques to start achieving sooner, safer, and happier outcomes.

The Importance of Outcomes Over Outputs

Outcomes are what really matter in achieving success, so make them your focus. As Jonathan Smart explains in Sooner, Safer, Happier, outcomes show the effect of your outputs on your desired results. They ensure your efforts are actually achieving what you want.

Outputs like completing a task or hitting a milestone are tangible and easy to measure – like the number of projects completed – but outcomes encompass the bigger, long-term impact like customer satisfaction or business growth. They create meaning, build relationships, and make a real difference. While outputs keep you busy, outcomes lead to progress.

This book focuses on achieving better business outcomes through better ways of working. Smart argues that agile, lean, and DevOps are means to an end, not ends in themselves. The key is to focus on delivering Better Value Sooner Safer Happier (BVSSH), so the end goal should always be the delivery of value to customers and stakeholders.

Achieve Big through Small

Large-scale, “big bang” transformations tend to be unsuccessful. They cause deep dips in morale and productivity as everyone struggles to unlearn and relearn at the same time. Therefore the key is to start small and build momentum. Pilot programs with a few willing teams can demonstrate the benefits and build confidence for wider adoption. Allowing flexibility and autonomy for these pioneer groups will inspire others with their successes.

As more groups adopt human-centered changes and see positive outcomes, “a tipping point” will come where the transformation shifts from a top-down initiative to an organic, bottom-up movement. Self-sustaining momentum is the ultimate goal, as it ensures the new culture becomes deeply embedded rather than a passing fad.

Smart warns us that this journey will take time and require patience. Setbacks are inevitable but can be turned into opportunities with an open, learning mindset. By nurturing a culture of trust, empowerment and growth, your organization will develop the agility needed to thrive in today’s fast-changing world. In the end, achieving agility and adaptability is not about following a rigid framework but developing a mindset and culture that embraces change as an opportunity for growth.

For those looking to deepen their understanding of distinguishing and prioritizing outcomes over outputs, “Sooner, Safer, Happier” is a must-read. It provides a comprehensive roadmap for achieving greater agility and resilience in today’s fast-paced business environment.

The book provides many examples and lessons learned from the author’s experience. What really got me hooked (apart from the really great ideas in the book) is the way it is structured – the examples as well as best practices are provided in the form of patterns and antipatterns, which truly spoke to me. Jonathan Smart might not be an architect, but he does think like one.

This book is available to order on Amazon and in your favourite bookstore.

If you want to check our previous Book of the Month selection, you can find it here:

Book of the Month – How to Make Sense of Any Mess by Abby Covert

Book of the Month – Architecture Modernization by Nick Tune