BA Must-Reads: #4 OKRs
#BAMustReads number four, is aimed at any business or digital professional who has an interest in using a goal setting framework, specifically Objective and Key Results. Often referred to through the abbreviation of OKRs.
Now, there are A LOT of books, blogs, and more on the topic of OKRs. Some great, some less so. Here are some of the best I’ve come across, or have been recommended by others.
#1 High Output Management — Andrew Grove
Andrew Grove is widely accredited of having popularised the concept of OKR whilst he was at Intel. Interestingly, he was their third employee and eventual third CEO. Andrew published ‘High Output Management’ in 1983, which is the first book to mention OKRs. You could say, this is the book that started them all.
Measure What Matters is about using Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), a revolutionary approach to goal-setting, to make tough choices in business. In 1999, legendary venture capitalist John Doerr invested nearly 12 million dollars in a startup that had amazing technology, entrepreneurial energy and sky-high ambitions. Doerr introduced the founders to OKRs and with them at the foundation of their management, the startup grew from forty employees to more than 70,000 with a market cap exceeding 600 billion dollars. The startup was Google. In Measure What Matters, Doerr shares a broad range of first-person, behind-the-scenes case studies, with narrators including Bono and Bill Gates, to demonstrate the focus, agility, and explosive growth that OKRs have spurred at so many great organizations. This book will show you how to collect timely, relevant data to track progress — to measure what matters. It will help any organization or team aim high, move fast, and excel.
John Doerr, is an investor and former board member at two of tech’s giants, Amazon and Google. Where he helped to create two of the world’s most valuable companies. So arguably, knows a thing or two about embedding OKRs successfully
For me, if you’re wanting to explore OKRs in the broadest sense, i.e. not just to help with digital product delivery, this is my go to. Whether you are setting up new a startup, working in multi-disciplinary Agile team, or leading a global organisation — I think you will find this a great addition to your bookshelf.
#3 Succeeding with OKRs in Agile: How to create & deliver objectives & key results for teams — Allan Kelly
Unlike many other publications on the topic of OKRs, the author describes his experience working with an Agile team adopting them. In fact, Allan Kelly was openly skeptical about OKRs to start off with, before finding them a good fit with Agile delivery. Specifically in terms of focussing teams, as well as using them as an effective tool to communicate barriers, product strategy, and value.
If you’re a business analyst, delivery manager, or product manager wanting to find out more about the power of OKRs, you’ll probably find this has the most practical guidance to offer over the other books recommended here.
#4 Google’s own advice, published for free
Available on re:Work, an effort by Google and others to help share and push forward the practice and research of data-driven HR.
Lots and lots of superb advice. All for free. And from one of the most successful OKR pioneers out there.
#5 OKRs, From Mission to Metrics — Francisco S. Homem de Mello
This isn’t one I’m personally familiar with, but thought I’d include it for two reasons:
- The author, Brazilian born Homem de Mello, is the founder and CEO of Qulture.Rocks. Not a company I know of, but they have a very impressive array of clients from unicorns to Fortune 500. So you’d imagine they know what they’re talking about.
- The cover caught my eye! I know, I know.
If you’ve read it, be great to get your thoughts!
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