Andrew Chen (Andressen Horowitz, ex-Uber) has recently published a pretty valid point on most advice on OKRs (Objectives and Key Results), and on whether they’re even appropriate for pre-Product–Market Fit startups.
OKRs are most certainly harmful for [pre-Product–Market Fit] startups because it causes teams to optimize towards goals instead of constantly asking if the goal I even the right one to begin with? Plus the OKR cycles are typically quarters when iteration should be happening weekly.Andrew Chen on LinkedIn
Every blog post / book on business processes — OKRs, (…) — almost need [sic] a label to describe the stage of [company] the ideas are for.
The argument regarding OKR literature is strong, and I recognise myself in it (no, I’m not so vain as to thing this post is about me). My 2-part series on OKRs does present a narrow view, centered on the experience it stemmed from — post-Product–Market Fit, B2B product company. But is it still fair to say OKRs are harmful for early stage startups?
I responded to Andrew making my case for OKRs to be not only appropriate but particularly helpful to early stage startups.
Continue reading “OKRs, ‘Early Stage Startups’ edition”
Last month I was one of more than 200 product people who got together for this year’s ProductCamp London. To make the most out of my first time, I proposed and ran three sessions. They all provided a safe space to share insights among peers, but I’ll focus on just one of them – a group discussion on remote/distributed teams.
Continue reading “Solving the Distributed Team Working Challenge (A ProductCamp London Discussion)”
Well-crafted OKRs require a team and organisation context that fosters collaboration and learning
In Part 1, we have seen 3 principles for effective OKRs, focused on the OKRs themselves:
- At least one of your Objectives should be cross-functional and stable.
- Its Key Results should express the outcomes that show your progress towards your Objectives (not the work you’re willing to put into it).
- Key Results should be unequivocally measurable.
Let us now look at 3 more principles, focused on the best team and organisation context for OKRs to thrive as an alignment and learning tool.
How we use cross-functional collaboration and focus on outcomes to maximise the impact of product teams at Onfido
At Onfido, we work in cross-functional, mission-driven and long-lived teams. For almost 1½ years, I was the Product Manager for the Hire team (and product line), whose mission was “Scalable, repeatable and trustworthy verification for high-volume recruitment”.
We also use OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) across the whole company (not just Technology) to create alignment around each team’s mission and goals — both within the team and across the company. As we grow more and more, this last bit is harder to achieve without a simple and effective way to create global visibility on how 200+ people are contributing to Onfido’s core vision.
Learning about Machine Learning Through a Toddler’s Eyes
Nothing amazes me more than the wonder of our existence. And nothing ever cried louder about that wonder than having become a parent. First it’s the whole marvel of generating a new living being. But later, another wow appears: the way that this brand new living being learns.
A technological mind that I am, it’s inevitable to see parallels between a) how he (somewhat mysteriously) learns to identify items in the world around him and b) Machine Learning—despite how superficial my knowledge about the latter is. Let me take you through his journey (and ours, as parents) of learning.
Continue reading “Natural Intelligence”
Winding down for the New Year in a remote village in Alentejo (Portugal), I thought I might give it a try at being radically open about how 2018 went for me as a human being doing Product, and what I’m expecting for 2019. Regarding 2018 I’m not only showcasing achievements, but also being open about what I’ve struggled with and what I’ve learned anew — in the hope you can also benefit from that.
Continue reading “My 2018 Product Retrospective”
Can a Product Manager solve all the problems within the reach of the product they manage, or implement all the features so badly want? Certainly not. Complications will always arise. Competing priorities, development team size, dependencies on third-parties, tech debt, compliance issues, all of these limit what a product team can deliver in a certain time interval.
Continue reading “Constraints Are Cool”
When defining the job of a product manager, at least one of two definitions always pops up. The first one (chronologically speaking) is from Marty Cagan’s indispensable book Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love; Marty describes it as “to discover a product that is valuable, usable and feasible”. The other one is Martin Eriksson’s Venn diagram, supporting his definition of “product management as the intersection between business, technology and user experience”.
Continue reading “A Product is a Product: Product Management Is Not Just Software!”
When defining the job of a product manager, at least one of two definitions always pops up. The first one (chronologically speaking) is from the original edition of Marty Cagan’s indispensable book Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love; Marty describes it as ”to discover a product that is valuable, usable and feasible”. The other one is Martin Eriksson’s Venn diagram, supporting his definition of “product management as the intersection between business, technology and user experience”.
Continue reading “Marty Meets Martin: Connecting the Two Triads of Product Management”
Today, I went out for a Sunday morning stroll and snack/coffee around the neighbourhood. Sitting at the table outside a street-level cafeteria (oh, the perks of September in Lisbon), I look at the clear glass window next to the entrance door, and see no less than three Citizen Cards taped to the glass. A girl’s card, a man’s card, and an old lady’s card. This is a strangely common thing here in Portugal. Behind it lies the assumption that the person who lost their card lives in the neighbourhood, might return to the cafeteria, and gets their card back without the hassle of asking for a replacement (or someone recognises the person and contacts them).
Continue reading ““If you find me, hand me at the nearest cafeteria”—Said no ID card ever”