Dk illos jess define success transparent 575x

Define Success

Sit down with your team and map out what Success looks like. Setting key milestones will keep you on course and give you something to work toward.



Suggested Time

90 Minutes

Level of Difficulty


Materials Needed

Pens, Post-its, paper


Design team, key partners, people you’re designing for

Process Phase

In the course of the Implementation Phase you’ll think about Staffing your Project, creating a Funding Strategy, and making a Roadmap of your project timeline, and this is an opportunity to figure out what success looks like. You’ll determine important milestones in the life of your solution and come to understand what succeeding looks like. Think about a variety of time horizons. What is success in the next two months, in the next year, in five years? Imagine success in terms of both your organization and the people you’re designing for. What does success look like in terms of how you’ve affected them?


  1. Start by returning to your How Might We question. Use that as a lens to think about what success looks like.
  2. Look at your Roadmap and find key delivery dates and milestones. Hitting those dates might be a good indicator of early success. How can you plan to make sure you stay on target?
  3. Imagine what success would look like from different angles. Maybe breaking even by a certain date makes sense from a business perspective. What about success in terms of your organizational operations? What about the perspective of the people you’re designing for?
  4. Are there any external measures of success that you need to consider? Are funders or partners going to hold you accountable to certain standards? Plan for those as you Define Success.
  5. You can refine how you want to Define Success as you undertake the Measure and Evaluate method. They’re certainly related and the one will feed the other.