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151 OKR's for product teams notes

ProductCamp Boston is the world's largest and most exciting crowd-sourced one-day event for product people.  It's organized by and for product managers, product marketers and entrepreneurs, so attendees get the most out of the day.

Attendees learn about and discuss topics in product management and product marketing, product discovery, product development & design, go-to-market, product strategy and lifecycle management, and product management 101, startups, and career development. 


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151 OKR's for product teams notes

  1. 1. Hi folks! Here is the feedback we collected from you all at the session on OKRs for Product Teams on stickies. Thanks to everyone who came, asked questions, and contributed feedback and questions! I have tried to give a short answer to each question below. Pluses - things we thought were valuable ● Commit hard, recalibrate often ● Don't make one metric king. ex. balance revenue w/margin ● Organization of the topic was very effective. Appreciated the dissenting opinion on such a popular topic. ● Pragmatic and practical. You covered a lot in a finite amount of time. ● Nice intro+metaphor between OKRs and BHAGs! -Angela Nguyen Questions - what else we wanted to know ● How often should we be going OKR planning? ○ At least every quarter after you’ve had a chance to learn from your results. That said, collect and review those results at least every 2 weeks and adjust your OKRs right away if you figure out you are on the wrong track! ● So how can OKRs work with cross-functional teams? What if teams (creative for example) have resourcing limitations? ○ You can’t allow specialists (no matter how talented) to become bottlenecks. You may need to hire or you may need to allow teams to do the work themselves, with less (or no) contribution from specialists. This is usually more efficient in getting to results than waiting on resource availability. ● How did you measure awesomeness at Localytics? ○ We developed a 5-point scale of an arbitrary morale measurement we called “awesomeness” based on a 3-question form about “how awesome” things were at the company, on the team, and for individuals. We eventually developed an app you can use: www.awesomeness.team ● How do you translate Business OKRs to Product OKRs? ○ Product OKRs should support business OKRs directly. Think of them as a subset or a means to the business ends. If the company wants to move up-market to larger customers, the product OKRs should include successfully selling to that new target. ● What happens if you're not on track with your KRs? ○ This happens all the time and your first response should be to ask “why” are we not on track? Are we late with deliverables? OK, adjust the delivery date and get on with it. Were we on time but our work did not have the desired effect? OK, what was wrong with our assumptions? Do we just need to tweak what we shipped or totally rethink our approach? If you recognize early that you are not on track you can
  2. 2. simply adjust your actions to get back on track. If you learn that your underlying assumptions are wrong and your OKRs are not achievable with any amount of time and effort, it may be time to change (or “recalibrate”) your OKRs. This is OK if it is a rational response to what you’ve learned. ● How often should Os and KRs change? ○ This depends heavily on the pace of change in your business. If your business is stable or growing predictably, your annual OKRs may not change during the year. Your quarterly OKRs will be created each quarter with the prior quarters results in hand. If your business is very dynamic, though, and you are learning fundamentally new things all the time, you may need to revisit your OKRs every month or two. ● How granular should OKRs be? Does it change based on business users? -Angela Nguyen ○ Larger companies with greater specialization of roles and teams will usually have more granular OKRs. That said, the base unit for OKRs should ideally be a team of people who own those OKRs and the means of achieving them. This is usually a team of 3-8 people. The granularity should be what 3-5 objectives and 3-5 KRs per objective) that team can effectively accomplish in a quarter. ● What is the balance between building RATs/MVPs and having quarterly OKRs? ○ RATs (Riskiest Assumption Tests) and MVPs (Minimum Viable Products) are tests meant to help a product team learn how they can best meet their objectives -- their OKRs. If you have an OKR to improve website conversion, you could deploy a test to test an idea about what might improve conversion. If it works, you could roll it out to everyone and measure your results against your conversion KR. If it doesn’t work (enough), you need another idea to test. ● When in a quarter do you start OKR planning? How much time do you dedicate to the "how"? ○ You should have a good idea of whether Q1’s OKRs will be achieved a few weeks before the end of that quarter. That’s the right time to leverage that experience in devising Q2’s OKRs. Ideas for “how” to achieve those OKRs will come up during those few weeks and you should discuss, record, and prioritize them so you can start in on the most ● Is there a specific point when it's helpful to revisit a mission statement? Is it ever a +? ● How to be iterative about building products versus having OKRs and roadmaps? ● Doesn't the measurement frequency depend on how often you're shipping features/code? ● How do you improve calibration across teams? What mechanisms are there for sharing between teams with connected OKRs? ● How do you connect a team deliverable (e.g. Epic, etc.) to the OKRs? All the mapping gets annoying. I need a legend now. ● There is a school of thought that you need only OKRs or roadmaps... not both. What is your view on this? ● Talk to me about prioritizing KRs (w/P0-P3). What's the value of doing that? ● Can someone deliver the same results without OKRs and just roadmaps and stories?
  3. 3. Deltas - things that could be improved ● Do missions ever derive OKRs? Think about motivation and intentional alignment, not ideation. Start with insights. Start with HMW statements. Design leads will provide this and give product what you're looking for for OKR derivation on the tactical level.