OKRs are very useful for goal-driven organizations that want to achieve specific results in a given period of time. Companies can use OKRs in a wide variety of applications, from employee engagement to customer satisfaction. OKRs can be useful for product management as well.
Learn how product managers can leverage OKRs to improve their product strategy and drive an OKR roadmap.
What Are OKRs in Product Management?
Objectives and key results (OKRs) represent a quarterly goal-setting system that product teams often use to focus on the most important improvement areas and deliver valuable measurable outcomes for the business.
Product management OKRs focus on two essential elements. The objectives represent a goal that you can measure qualitatively and represents what you want to improve. The key results refer to the business outcomes that define how well you’ve reached a particular goal.
Benefits of Using OKRs for Product Management
1. A Clear Focus to Work on Priorities
It can be tempting to set up a number of goals for product management. However, in some cases, it’s better to focus on a few key initiatives. OKRs provide a continuous, consistent path for product managers to follow throughout the entire quarter. When focusing on multiple goals at once, it can be easy to lose focus.
2. More Team Autonomy
Outcome OKRs typically don’t just focus on features. Instead, they’re more concerned with the impact a team should aim to create. This is often a better alternative to measuring the number of released features.
As a result, peers and management will agree on a set of outcome metrics first, instead of starting by talking to you about their feature wish list. This allows product teams to focus on the most critical problems first to reach their key results.
3. More Vertical and Horizontal Alignment Around Drafted OKRs
When it comes to defining OKRs, all levels of an organization should be involved. When an OKR strategy starts with management and trickles from the top-down, it makes the people within an organization more unified and company goals more aligned.
Product Management OKR Examples
To gain a better understanding of how OKRs can help with product management, consider the following OKR examples:
Increase net promoter score (NPS) to retain best customers and attract new ones.
- Reduce page load time from 3.5 seconds to 2.7 seconds
- Reduce customer success response from 20 hours to 16 hours
- Get 400 responses from a customer survey to learn why customers recommend us
Research customers’ expectations at early stage of product development to improve the areas that actually matter.
- Get 40 interviews from early-stage customers.
- Analyze the information we gained from the interviews and agree on three main areas to work on.
Find a product-market fit for the ideal customer profile (ICP).
- Conduct 20 problem interviews with buyers that match our ICP.
- Test top three ideas that come from the interviews
Participate in 5 trade events this year to market our product.
- Register for 5 trade events.
- Let 30 prospects per day demo our product at each event.
- Get contact information from at least 200 prospects per event.
Improve product team learning by 40% by the end of the year.
- Hold meetings twice a year for current and new staff members to help them understand your organization’s history and culture.
- Get product team members to conduct weekly knowledge sharing sessions.
Product Management OKR Best Practices
The most successful OKRs improve each contributor’s focus, creativity, and productivity. Clear, quantifiable, actionable, and well-defined OKRs are key to creating a sharper focus, collaboration, agility, and accountability.
There are plenty of ways in which you can implement OKRs. However, here are some suggestions to make the process run more smoothly, effectively and also realize full benefits of OKRs
Align User Problems With Team Objectives
OKRs help product teams reinforce the practice of focusing on the problem at hand. This is different from focusing on potential solutions product teams might employ to address a problem.
Growing attached to problems, and not solutions allows product teams to really zero in on each problem. As a result, you’ll be able to turn user needs into objectives and develop key results as metrics to address those issues.
Align OKRs Across the Organization Sparingly
Although cascading objectives from the very top to the very bottom can provide guidance for contributors, it’s important to not overdo it. When it comes to successful OKR implementation, it’s critical that you build from the bottom up.
Get Input From Everyone
At the very first meeting with your product team, be clear about the value of their individual contributions. This can not only help build enthusiasm and a sense of shared purpose, but it can also spark creativity and new ideas.
Check in Often
Business quarters often go by fast, so it’s important to check in with your team on a regular basis. Weekly check-ins allow you to monitor your team’s progress, offer your feedback, and help them achieve the OKRs your organization has set. As a result, you’ll remain on the right track and if not, adjust accordingly.
Smart goals for product managers entail having an OKR strategy that’s dedicated to creating products customers love. With OKR product management, product teams can improve their goal-setting efforts, making for more attainable, measurable goals.