Inputs vs. Outputs vs. Outcomes
Inputs are what goes into a project. outputs are what comes out. outcomes are the result of outputs. people tend to over-index on inputs and sometimes outputs, what they should be doing is focusing on outcomes
In software you can think of inputs as the hours of work + libraries used to build a project. The output is the piece of software. The outcome is the impact that software has on the world.
Outcomes > Outputs > Inputs
When making decisions, outcomes matter more than inputs. It's fine to do the right thing for the wrong reasons, so long as the desired outcome happens.
One of my main criticisms of hourly billing is that it forces conversations towards inputs over outcomes. More talk is had about how many hours things take and instead of weather or not they are good for the project. Clients do not, should not care about the amount of time or energy you spend working on a solution, they only care about the quality of the solution.
Work to focus stakeholder conversations away from inputs and towards outcomes. It's how you move away from being an implementor and towards being a strategic player. #developer to consultant.