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Product Playbook

Product Objectives

Once your strategy is in place, it is time to define concrete goals that help you execute your strategy and bring you closer to your vision.

Typically this is done through company-wide Objective-Key-Results (OKRs), which are planned and reviewed on a quarterly basis. If you are not familiar with OKRs, a good starting point is the book “Measure what matters” by John Doerr.

That said, at the end of each quarter bring together your team in a 4 – 8 hours long workshop session, review the achievement rate of your past OKRs and define new ones for the upcoming quarter. You could use the session to also plan the product roadmap afterward, which we will talk about in the next chapter.

In addition, here are some valuable tips on how to ensure OKRs help your team to focus and maximize their impact:

  1. Ensure stakeholder alignment and commitment: Even if your product department creates its goals autonomously, close alignment and commitment with all departments and top management must be ensured. Commitment does not necessarily mean everyone agrees on each OKR or priority, but everyone needs to understand why certain OKRs were chosen and ultimately commit to them.
  2. Ensure contribution to company goals: Every product goal should support an overall company goal, otherwise, it does not seem relevant for the company.
  3. Ensure alignment with your vision: Every goal should bring you closer to your product vision and most of your goals should align with your current core strategic objective/metric.
  4. Balance product discovery and delivery: Include not only product delivery initiatives but also product discovery initiatives in your goals.
  5. Try to have a maximum of 3 goals per quarter.

Outcome vs. Output OKRs

Often OKRs are formulated as outputs but especially for product teams, it can be more beneficial to define outcome goals.

While output is something that is a concrete deliverable (e.g. feature), an outcome is a measurable change or impact:

outcome-okrs(credit: Tom Lombardo)

Note that it is not defined how exactly the outcome is achieved. This means for your goals it does not matter which exact feature will achieve the outcome you want and can be defined later.

Focusing your OKRs on outcomes will help you and your organization to focus more on problems instead of features.

Align your OKRs with relevant stakeholders and make a final reality check together with your team to make sure your goals are realistic to achieve.

For that, set your targets ambitious, but not unrealistic. If you get on average 70-80% of your OKRs completed per quarter you have the right balance of realistic yet ambitious goals to motivate and challenge your team.

OKR Examples

Discovery Objective: Our product is very intuitive and fun to use for our users.

  • Key Result 1: Conduct 10 face-to-face user testing & interview sessions to confirm the outstanding usability of our product.
  • Key Result 2: Customers spend 20% more time within our app compared to the previous quarter.

Delivery Objective: A growing number of our users subscribe to our premium package.

  • Key Result 1: Get 10% of our existing free users to upgrade their accounts.
  • Key Result 2: All our features are available on mobile, not just desktop.

Further Resources

  1. Leading and lagging indicators for OKRs
  2. “Measure what matters”
  3. Heart Goals Framework
  4. Outcome Mapping
  5. OKRs Software Workboard