An OKR for The OKRs Field Book
Several people have asked me, “can we see your OKR for The OKRs Field Book?” This is a great question that merits analysis.
Most everyone agrees that OKRs should not reflect all important work that needs to get done. We have three main categories:
- OKRs – Focus for measurable improvement in the near term. Example of a key result: increase number of weekly active users of a certain product from X to Y by end of quarter.
- Health metrics – Important metrics to monitor and maintain, but not the focus for improvement now. Example: maintain website uptime above 99.95%.
- “Just Do Its” – Key tasks that need to get done but are not defined by measurable outcomes. Example: complete the audit.
As OKRs coaches, we ask our clients questions that help them clarify where to focus efforts in the near to make measurable progress on what matters most.*
We often begin with questions about objectives.
- What is the most important area to focus on measurable improvement in the near term?
- Why Now?
Then, we ask questions about key results.
- How will we know the objective is achieved by the end of the quarter?
- How will we define measurable progress by a certain date?
Differentiate between “Just Do Its” and KRs.
When asked about key results, our clients often provide a task list; so, we ask, “what is the intended outcome of the task?”
This is a great question and can be hard to answer, especially when the client is stuck working on a big task that has a deadline. For example, suppose a client has drafted the key result, “launch feature X by end of month.” This is not a measurable key result that reflects an outcome; it is a task that reflects work output. So, we must ask the client, “what is the intended outcome of launching feature X? How will we know this feature has made an impact?” Sometimes, the client says, we just need to do it, so it’s better to classify as a task, or “Just Do It, rather than a key result.
In other cases, we may conclude that “successfully launching the feature” is better classified as an objective with underlying key results that define the successful launch. This may look like the following:
- Objective: Successfully launch feature X
- Key Result: Increase average number of weekly users engaging with security dashboard from 100 before feature X launch to 200 after launch of feature X
The OKRs Field Book, a case in point.
When I started working on The OKRs Field Book, I tried to translate the project into an OKR. I struggled. My draft key results were tasks such as: (1) finalize the table of contents, (2) remove excess content, and (3) submit chapter 3 to my editor for feedback. I discovered that writing the book was better treated as a “JUST DO IT” rather than an “OKR.”
Ironically, now that the book is completed, it may be time for an OKR. Manos Koumantakis, an OKRs coach friend of mine posted a comment in the OKRs Coach Network that got me thinking. Here’s his comment:
“I believe we would all love to see your OKR regarding The OKRs Field Book.”
Manos, here is my answer to your question. Here is my OKR regarding The OKRs Field Book:
- Objective: Successfully launch The OKRs Field Book
- Why: While Radical Focus and Objectives and Key Results were the first two books written on the topic of OKRs, neither created demand for OKRs coaching. However, with the 2018 publication of Measure What Matters, demand for coaching to support organizations looking to deploy OKRs started taking off.
- Why Now: These first three books introduced readers to the basics of OKRs such as the history, the benefits, and case studies. Now, there is an urgent need for a field book written specifically for OKRs coaches.**
Next in the OKRs process, we list the key results that measure the success of the objective. But before I do, let me clarify that it was never my goal to make a bunch of money through book sales. I already knew from the 2016 book I co-authored that writing a book is a big project and that authors receive a small portion of book sales. While I’d like the book to sell lots of copies and am happy to receive a check in the mail from book sales, making money does not qualify as a key result. In fact, book revenue is best classified as a “health metric” that is important to monitor but is not my focus now.
Here are three key results as of today for the balance of Q2, through the end of June 2022.
- Key Results
- Double Amazon reviews of The OKRs Field Book from 15 in Q1 to 30 in Q2
- Increase signed copies shipped to internal OKRs coaches from 15 in Q1 to 45 in Q2
- Triple new members joining the OKRs Coach Network from 5 in Q1 to 15 in Q2
Analysis of key results.
The first key result reflects quantity, but it fails to capture the quality of reviews. So, in addition to the key result, I will also track the following health metrics.
- Health metrics
- Royalties from book sales (monitor payments received from publisher)
- Maintain average rating of book on Amazon >4.0 on 5.0 scale (currently 5.0)
The second key result looks a bit more like a task, but it does require that OKRs.com clients who feel they are playing the role of internal OKRs coach provide a mailing address and that I find the time to sign, address, tape up the envelope, and deal with USPS. So, while it’s more of an “output” than the first key result, it is measurable and will drive the right behavior.
The third key result is perhaps the most important. One of my primary reasons for writing this field book was to serve as a common framework for OKRs coaches to leverage, discuss, and evolve through connecting and sharing lessons learned with other coaches around the world.
In closing, I might ask myself, “what was the intended outcome of this blog post?” The blog is intended to promote the field book. So, the call to action below is to get a free preview of the Wiley edition of the field book. I just received the introduction and first chapter in PDF format from Wiley. I am excited to share it with you now:
To learn about joining the OKRs coach network, click here:
If your organization is interested in hiring OKRs.com for OKRs coaching and training, click here:
* The first attempt to list all the questions OKRs coaches ask is included in the epilogue in The OKRs Field Book.
**For more on why we need OKRs coaching now, refer to Chapter 1 of The OKRs Field Book.