Best practices for OKRs

  • 14 February 2022
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For those unfamiliar with OKRs, I found this article by Christina Wodtke enlightening. 

She breaks it down like this, "The objective is qualitative and aspirational and key results are measurable signs the objective has been met. You want qualitative and quantitative goals in order to inspire people who are motivated by vision and people who are motivated by numbers."

In last week's roundtable, I raised the question of OKRs and how others checked in with their progress more frequently than once a quarter. I've worked with quarterly goals in the past and have found that I need more frequent check-ins, or I tend to lose sight of my goals and get distracted by a new idea or problem to solve.

Christina gave this recommendation that resonated with me, "You set an Objective so that people do not forget to work on what is important strategically but not urgent. You add Key Results to quantify success. You manage it with the monday commitments and friday celebrations to make sure all that other stuff doesn't result in everyone forgetting about the important but not urgent."

For those of you experienced with OKRs, what tips do you have for staying focused and checking in with yourself? For those of you who don't set OKRs, what's holding you back from setting them or what other methods do you prefer?

Please let me know if anyone wants to join me in reading Christina's second edition of Radical Focus! 📖


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I’ve just read Radical Focus 2.0 and loved it! I really love the main idea of setting goals and leaving the team space to figure out how to get there.

I am attempting to implement the OKR approach to defining product objectives/features/outcomes using the OKR format - it’s something specifically pointed out near the end of the book. Before jumping to ideas for solutions as a Product Owner, I first define the problem/objective for a given feature and engage the whole team in brainstorming on how we can achieve the goal.

I am also fiddling with a thought - maybe it’s better to prioritise problems without solutions instead of features? How many users have this problems? How painful is it? I believe having a pipeline of problems instead of solutions and comparing them might be an interesting twist to the classic way of juggling feature ideas.

I would love to engage in conversations about this, especially if anybody has any experiences to share!

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I believe having a pipeline of problems instead of solutions and comparing them might be an interesting twist to the classic way of juggling feature ideas.

I love this thought, @merchel . It seems that the benefit of this strategy is that you would be able to develop a feature that solves multiple problems. Or possibly adjust an existing feature to address those needs. 

Not immediately jumping into creating new features is something that I have improved upon over the years, but it is still tricky. As a community builder, I want to quickly provide everything that a community asks for. Still, I’ve learned the hard way (and the expensive way) that it’s better to deeply understand the problem the user is facing, as well as their wants, needs, or goals, and then rely upon my years of experience and unique 360-degree view to come up with the best solution. 

What steps are you taking to implement the OKR approach to defining product objectives? I would love to hear more about that process.

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