Measure What Matters (OKRs) 

‘There are so many people working so hard and achieving so little.’ –  Andrew Grove
The  book  Measure What Matters by  John Doerr  describes a goal-setting system called  Objectives  and Key Results ( OKRs ). 
Does it  work ? Let’s see what  Larry Page Bill Gates  and Sheryl Sandberg think: 
‘I wish I had this  book  nineteen years ago, when we founded  Google . Or even before that, when I was only managing myself! As much as I hate process, good  ideas  with great execution are how you make magic. And that’s where  OKRs  come in’ –  Larry Page Google  co-founder 
How does it  work
OKRs  allow an organisation to focus on  metrics  and  KPIs . This makes a cultural shift from output to outcomes. They also create alignment and transparency within the organisation. 
Key  ideas
  • Objectives  define what is to be achieved. They are significant, concrete, action-oriented and inspirational. 
  • Each objective is measured by 3-5 key results. These KRs benchmark how we get to the objective. They are specific, time-bound, aggressive yet realistic, measurable and verifiable. Typically include numbers like revenue,  growth , active users, quality, safety, market share, customer engagement. Marissa Mayer used to say “It’s not a key result unless it has a number“. In the case of new products or features where you don’t have any idea of revenue or projected users, MyFitnessPal pined key results to deadlines: “e.g. Launch this by 20/7/2019.” 
  • The organisation, every department and every employee, including the  CEO , should have their own 3 – 5  goals . Leaders can’t have just team  goals
  • After the  leadership  presents their  OKRs , they can  trust  people to set some of their own  objectives  bottom-up and most of their key results. If a person or team is misaligned, it will stand out as all  OKRs  can be seen and commented by anyone in the company. Due to this transparency, frontline employees thrive as they can see how their  work  aligns to the company’s overall  goals . Moreover, this also means that all  objectives  of an employee don’t necessarily need to align with her managers’ but can support other departments or directly top  OKRs
  • You should have  goals  which must be accomplished and others that stretch you to do something 10 times better. Try to have an achievement of 70%. If you aim for 100%, you’re not setting challenging enough  goals  / key results. 
  • If you achieve your key results but not your  goals , your key results were poorly chosen. 
  • It’s better not to tie salaries/bonuses to  OKRs . Otherwise, people won’t choose really challenging  objectives
  • If an objective or key result is not relevant anymore, it can be dropped or changed. 
  • Objectives  and Key results usually have a 1, 3 or 12-month lifespan. 1-month usually for early-stage companies still finding  product-market fit
Edit: Although the  book  doesn’t say, some companies like Spotify and Gitlab use  OKRs  up to the team level, they do not have individual  OKRs
Please sign up or log in to add comments and/or write your own notes and articles