• Sam Decker

The Workback Waterfall

Recently I gave a presentation to an industry group called “How to Build a Marketing Machine” .

In that presentation, I showed a simple tool to ‘processize’ your way to achieve a quantifiable goal.

I call it a Workback Waterfall. It’s nothing revolutionary…but it’s sometimes the simple things that make an impact.

Once you determine what you want to accomplish, you define the steps to get there and then work backwards and determine the ‘waterfall’ of variables that measure the success of each step.

More specifically, here are the steps: 1. Start with the goal in mind, and work back the steps necessary to achieve the goal. 2. Then play with the variables that are necessary to achieve each step towards the goal. 3. Track progress and success of those steps so you can measure actual results of those variables. 4. Adjust variables to forecast future progress. 5. Optimize each step and the process to reduce effort to achieve each step…and reach the goal.

As an example, here’s how it works for achieving a sales goal:


This is a simple way to approach achieving all sorts of goals, and optimizing your process to achieve them in a repeatable fashion. Examples:

– Landing a job – Getting a date – Productivity output – Management goals and motivation – Online marketing goals – etc.

You can apply this to all sorts of activities, then improve it once you have the steps outlined and the variables that measure the success of each step. As they say, once you can measure it you can manage it…which is core to six-sigma and business process improvement (BPI).