Wednesday 11 January 2017

Radical Focus - OKRs

Radical Focus explains the OKR process with a business narrative (a startup building the StarBucks of Coffee). The story shows how focusing on OKRs supports the team taking the tough decisions (e.g. stopping promising work if it doesn't support an objective) and spending their limited runway of activity on the right tasks.

It's a short read, with some good points but having read the book and watched "The Executioners Tale" ( I'd pick the video next time!

Key takeaways

  • OKRs are great for setting goals, BUT without a system to achieve them you are as likely to fail as with anything else.
  • A mission keeps you on the rails - the OKRs provide focus and milestones.
  • Set only one OKR for the company - it's about focus
  • Timescales should be about 3 months - too long and it's too far away to have impact, and too short and it's not bold enough
  • Objectives are inspirational not metrics
  • Repeat the message. The goal needs to be in front of everyones mind and tied to all activities. - "When you are tired of saying it, people are starting to hear it" (Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn")
  • Heuristic for KRs - one usage metric, a revenue metric and a satisfaction metric.
  • A good key result should be a bit scary - a 50/50 confidence you can make it is about right.
  • Use health metrics to identify areas to protect as you meet the goals (what can't you screw up?)
  • Use the four-square template ( to keep focus
  • Reinforce the message at the beginning and end of the week (Monday discuss/challenge, Friday demonstrate/celebrate)