Focus on What Matters

Field Book for Effective OKRs: A hands-on Guide for Managers and Teams

Dive into the transformative world of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) with this meticulously crafted field guide.

Other books by Gerard Chiva

This book is a game-changer for professionals across all roles and company sizes. By providing a comprehensive exploration of OKR definitions, it serves as a masterclass in shaping corporate vision, refining product strategy, and enhancing team management. Packed with practical examples and insightful canvases, this is a resource that I look forward to revisiting frequently. I genuinely recommend it, especially if you're seeking powerful tools to effectively communicate and advocate for the implementation of OKRs within your senior management team.

SAMUEL LACARTA

- MarTech Director at Imagin. Former Digital Business Director and CIO at Vueling Airlines -

A FIELD BOOK FOR EFFECTIVE OKRs

Transform your approach to goal setting and strategy execution with this essential read.
Designed as a practical compass rather than a mere theoretical exploration, this book is your gateway to mastering OKRs in the complex landscape of modern business.

A Look Inside
Focus on What Matters

  • WHY THIS BOOK?

  • practical advice

  • inspiration

  • key learnings

Why This Book?

You might be thinking, "Gosh, not another book on OKRs!" It's true, OKRs have become a buzzword in the business world, with countless resources discussing their potential and application. But herein lies a paradox – despite the abundance of information, there remains a gap. A gap filled with misunderstandings, misapplications, and pains, especially within product teams trying to implement and use OKRs effectively.

This book is crafted to bridge that gap. While many resources provide a theoretical overview of OKRs, they often leave teams grappling with the practicalities of implementation. "How do we adapt OKRs to our specific context?" "What are the common pitfalls, and how do we avoid them?" "How do we ensure our OKRs are not just another set of goals but a tool that drives real impact?"

These are the questions at the heart of this book.

OKRs Book - OKRs Field Book - Gerard Chiva

Hi, I'm Gerard Chiva. It's great to see you!

Through my journey as a manager, coach, and business owner, I've cultivated a deep understanding of OKRs and strategic planning.

My experiences have shaped me into a trusted guide in this domain. In this book, I share insights and tools I've gathered to empower you in achieving strategic excellence and organizational success.

My goal is to make complex concepts accessible and practical for your professional growth.

Chapter 01

Sneak - Peek

Scroll through this sneak peek preview to see if Focus on What Matters hooks you like it has so many other readers.

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Chapter 01

In the first chapter I want to address a critical topic often overlooked - the importance of a solid product strategy. I frequently see teams diving straight into product discovery or, even more precipitously, into development, without a strategy to guide, limit, and focus their efforts. And there are those who believe strategy only becomes apparent once the product reaches market traction.

But let me be clear: it's crucial to understand that neglecting this step is not only unproductive but potentially catastrophic. By skipping it, we risk squandering both time and resources. Let's explore this subject in-depth to understand the full implications of this oversight and the reasons why it should be avoided.

Understanding Strategy

Firstly, let's begin by defining what strategy is and its significance. Strategy transcends mere planning or goal-setting; it is the underlying force that shapes their formation. It embodies a cohesive set of actions thoughtfully crafted to tackle and overcome specific challenges.

At the heart of a strategy lies a clear diagnosis of the situation, a guiding policy, and a series of coherent actions targeted at overcoming identified obstacles. Moreover, an effective strategy often involves the difficult choice of saying no to many tempting initiatives.

It's not a matter of luck or intuition, but a product of deliberate design and focused intent.

To illustrate this concept further, Richard Rumelt highlights four key elements of a strategy :

  1. A challenge, which could be a problem to solve or a goal to achieve.
  2. A diagnosis that clarifies the nature of this challenge.
  3. A guiding policy.
  4. A set of coherent actions to confront it.

Consider the analogy of a doctor assessing a patient: the challenge is the symptoms presented; the diagnosis is their clinical judgment; the therapy is their guiding action; and the prescriptions are the specific, coherent steps taken in response.

In a business context, the challenge often involves navigating change and competition. We diagnose the specific nature of this challenge, select a general approach, and then meticulously design actions to implement this policy.

Business Strategy vs. Product Strategy

While both business and product strategies are aimed at achieving organizational goals, they operate at different levels and have different scopes. Business strategy provides the overall framework defining the company's mission, vision, and goals. On the other hand, product strategy operates within this general business strategy. It defines how a specific product or line of products will contribute to business goals.

Take, for instance, a microprocessor company choosing to specialize in areas like IoT (Internet of Things), AI (Artificial Intelligence), or Communications. This choice represents a strategic business decision. Following this direction, the company must then define its product strategy. Questions such as whether to develop 5G modems, create mobile platforms, or enter into competition with major players like NVIDIA in the AI sector come into play. These decisions are crucial tasks for the product teams.

The Need for a Product Strategy

I vividly recall collaborating with a B2B SaaS product team in the industrial sector. The challenge was immense: develop a groundbreaking product from scratch. However, we soon realized a crucial ingredient was missing: a defined product strategy. And we wondered, how will we know where to navigate without a map?

So, we embarked on a strategic design process involving all parties. After intense work, we presented two potential routes: energy management and electrical maintenance. After internal discussions, we opted for electrical maintenance, aligning it with the corporate strategy and enhancing the company's value proposition.

With electrical maintenance, the aim was to unify all the company's hardware products under a single Cloud platform and boost sales by offering added value to the hardware. Furthermore, the company was planning to open a new line of specialized customer service, making this strategic option a great asset to propel this business unit.

From there, we began the product discovery process to determine the solution to be built. Thanks to the discovery process, we realized that the initial idea of moving towards predictive maintenance with AI was far from the market's maturity, still using pen and paper. So, the team decided to focus on preventive maintenance with alarm and incident management.

The first Minimum Viable Product (MVP) was launched successfully in the market for electrical substation maintenance. This segment, identified as early adopters during our discovery process, showed significant potential and welcomed our product with great enthusiasm.

This real case underscores the importance and function of a product strategy:

  • Aligns us with the business strategy.
  • Secures buy-in and commitment from stakeholders.
  • Provides context and limits to the discovery process.
  • Determines what is important and what is not.

We also observe the evolving nature of strategy; it's a journey rather than a static plan. It isn't set in stone indefinitely. In fact, as previously mentioned, while strategy guides the discovery process, the insights gained from discovery can, in turn, refine and reshape the strategy itself.

Strategic Development Principles

What principles should we follow when developing a product strategy? Firstly, recognize that strategy is akin to a design process. It's a complex challenge that demands a thorough understanding of both the market and the organization. It's similar to how a doctor needs to make an accurate diagnosis before prescribing treatment.

Secondly, strategy is an ongoing journey. It's not a single milestone, but a continuous process of adapting and learning, much like navigating a mountain with its various challenges.

Lastly, the execution of a strategy is as vital as its design. Without effective execution, any strategy remains merely a concept. Therefore, the design and implementation of a strategy must work in tandem.

Components of a Product Strategy

Let's review the key elements that make up a product strategy:

  • Product Vision: The overarching goal or dream that the product aims to achieve.
  • Playing Field: The specific market or domain where the product will compete.
  • How to Win: Strategies and tactics to outperform competitors in the chosen field.
  • Capabilities: The skills, technologies, and resources required to execute the strategy.
  • Management Systems: The processes and structures needed to support and manage the strategy effectively.

In the concluding section of this chapter, I'll tie everything together with a real-world example. I'll share a case study from my work with a client in automated sports video production, showing how these various elements we've discussed are applied in practice.

[...]

Having implemented OKRs in a variety of organizational contexts over many years, it's rare to come across a resource as insightful and practical as 'Focus on What Matters.' This book is a masterclass in seamlessly connecting high-level strategic visions with the nuts and bolts of OKR implementation.
What truly distinguishes this work is its practical approach. The book is replete with actionable techniques and methods that can be adapted to various organizational contexts, from nimble startups to large, complex enterprises. It's evident that these strategies are drawn from deep, real-world experience and understanding of how companies operate and succeed.

Gerard's unique perspective on aligning detailed OKR processes with overarching business strategies is both enlightening and immensely practical. This book does an exceptional job of breaking down complex concepts into clear, understandable guidance, making it an invaluable tool for anyone tasked with driving strategic objectives within their organization.

As a seasoned OKR practitioner, I can attest to the value this book offers. It's not just a guide; it's a roadmap to successful strategy execution through well-implemented OKRs. Any professional serious about mastering OKRs and driving meaningful business results should consider this book an essential read.

IVAN FONT, CSO AT TRAVELGATE

A transformative read for anyone navigating the world of OKRs. It brilliantly demystifies the alignment of OKRs with business strategy, offering practical insights on overcoming implementation challenges.
A must-read for managers seeking a transformative guide to creating an organization that can drive strategic objectives with precision.

PETER KERSCHBAUMER, ENTERPRISE AGILE COACH

I recently read 'Focus on What Matters' and was thoroughly impressed by Gerard's clarity on vision and market understanding. His approach to identifying necessary skills and resources, and setting up effective processes is enlightening. The use of Wardley Maps and OKRs is particularly effective, offering a powerful framework to define, communicate strategy, and prioritize objectives amidst change and uncertainty.

JOAQUÍN PEÑA, FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR OF MAPAS

Chapter 01

In the first chapter I want to address a critical topic often overlooked - the importance of a solid product strategy. I frequently see teams diving straight into product discovery or, even more precipitously, into development, without a strategy to guide, limit, and focus their efforts.


Chapter 01

Lorem ipIn the first chapter I want to address a critical topic often overlooked - the importance of a solid product strategy. I frequently see teams diving straight into product discovery or, even more precipitously, into development, without a strategy to guide, limit, and focus their efforts. And there are those who believe strategy only becomes apparent once the product reaches market traction.

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In my own words...

This is the book I yearned for when I embarked on my own OKR journey eight years ago. While classic texts laid the foundation, they fell short in addressing the practical challenges I faced as a manager, coach, and business owner. Here, I've distilled all my experiences, anecdotes, client case studies, tips, and tricks. This book is your guide to sidestepping the pitfalls I encountered and overcoming the obstacles I faced.
While rich in practical advice, tools, templates, and techniques, this book also anchors itself in a solid theoretical framework. The first section, which I debated including, tackles a frequently overlooked aspect in OKR literature: the concept of strategy.
The initial section on strategy and OKRs is indispensable. It clarifies the distinction between setting goals and defining strategy. It elucidates how OKRs fit into the broader strategic framework of a business, bridging the gap between other critical techniques like roadmaps and product discovery.
In essence, this book is more than a guide; it's a compass navigating the complex, often misunderstood terrain of OKRs in the real world of business and product management.