What’s your take on Andrew Chen’s OKR post on linkedIn


(Eileen Alden) #1

I’m wondering is this group agrees/disagrees with using OKRs before p/m fit in a startup, and why/why not…


(Troy W) #2

Depends on your definition. Normally, no. Like Steve Blank says: a startup is an organization in search of a sustainable business model. You execute that when you have a business, using OKRs to keep on track. If you don’t have a sustainable business model yet–just a hunch–“OKRs” as they are typically defined by MBA/enterprise types are like adding ten middle managers to your six-person startup.

I’m a qualitative user researcher. One issue I see is that most founders, even product managers, don’t have a lot of background or experience in actual qualitative procedures or insights. They’re getting better–in tiiiiny increments–at interviewing users, but still don’t understand how to approach the information gained. If you want startup OKRs, you could set them along principles of experimental design. How many product hypotheses are you coming up with in X period of time, how many test-and-revise iterations, etc. Truly courageous founders would include OKRs (bonuses!) for coming up with product-killing ideas.

A startup ought to be concerned with defining a shared understanding of its product, its market, and its customers, literally creating a map that is baked into the DNA of everyone at the company. When you’re exploring, you might want to measure distance covered, map accuracy, or significant discoveries recorded. If you have a map, you’re mostly concerned with the most efficient way to drive from New York to L.A., something you’ve done often.