Christina Wodtke, Radical Focus (Book Review)

I first read Christina Wodtke's book Radical Focus in April of 2016 and reviewed it in GoodReads, where I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. Our company has just finished a quarter with OKRs, largely driven by this book and on-site coaching by Ben Lamorte. In reflecting on what we did, I decided to re-read Wodtke's book. I like it even more (if GoodReads allowed a score of 4.5 I'd adjust my rating). I think we were successful with OKRs; where we had a few issues, I think we might have heeded more carefully some of Wodtke's tips. So this is a revision of that review. One thing I want to pick out here is the story of product development and engineering in the book: I think that aspect of OKRs is still a bit mysterious. In a later post I want to share some thoughts about Agile and OKRs.

What are OKRs?

An OKR is a public declaration of a qualitative, inspirational objective, followed by one to three numerical / quantitative key results. The idea was originated at Intel, and is used by some valley companies like Google. I don't think it's as popular on the east coast.

An inspirational O might be something along the lines of "Dominate our market." Ideally the numerical key results should be a stretch (no sandbagging!). For example: Increase units sold by 75%. Or, with more brio, "Slay the market by selling 75% more!" Wodtke advises adding a number between 1 and 10 indicating the confidence one has for reaching the result (1 = no confidence). Since increasing units sold might be a true...

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