Measure What Matters

Reviewed on , book by John E. Doerr

The right book at the right time for me. The central premise (backed up by numerous studies) is that hard goals drive performance more than easy or no goals. If the vectors or where people are going point in different directions, they add up to zero. But if you get everybody pointing in the same direction, you maximize the results. OKRs are a good way to get there, and the book goes into numerous examples. Don’t get too focused on the results, or you end up placing the gas tank six inches from the rear bumper. Or, you double the production of yams, but quadruple the cooking time. My favourite example of OKR is that of a sports team: the GM’s goal is the super ball, and some revenue number. The coach’s goals are along the lines of wins, the lead defence something else, and so on and so forth. These all cascade into the franchie’s top-level goal. Really enjoyed his definition of an entrepreneur: Those who do more than anyone thinks possible, with less than anyone thinks possible. One thing I’d love for Doerr to have touched on are teams that have created systems that produce results without explicit goals. I’ve seen a few of those. They’re rare, but why is it that this can at times work?