6 Books on OKRs for Product Managers

How can you set strategic plans and maintain the flexibility to react to day-to-day challenges? — OKRs

Robert Drury
Mar 27 · 5 min read

The basic premise of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) is that they comprise:

  • an objective — a clearly defined goal
  • 3–5 key results — specific measures used to track the achievement of that goal.

The goal of OKRs is to define how to achieve the objectives through specific and measurable actions. You then measure your progress toward your key results on a 0–100% scale or any numerical unit (e.g. dollar amount, %, items, etc.).

Objectives should also be supported by initiatives, which are the plans and activities that help to achieve the objective and move forward the key results.

It can all seem a little overwhelming when you get started (what really is an objective? how do we ensure that something is really measurable?), but there is some good guidance out there now as the concept has been in place for quite a few years (I first used them about 7 years ago).

Measure What Matters: OKRs: The Simple Idea that Drives 10x Growth

When I was part of the founding team at a FinTech startup, this book was one of the first on our shelves (alongside Lean Startup and Lean Analytics), because it clearly laid out how to keep yourselves focused on what really mattered when you could be pulled in all sorts of directions.

Objectives, and Key Results, are a mechanism for working out what you need to be working on and then measuring your progress towards those goals. It’s so simple, and full of common sense, but you need a little helping hand to get you going. I think it took us a year to really start to get the hang of setting them, but without the book we’d have been lost.

How to buy:

Getting Started in Product (supporting independent bookstores)

Amazon

Radical Focus: Achieving Your Most Important Goals with Objectives and Key Results

I included a book by Christina Wodtke in the book list for leadership, and here she is again, this time covering OKRs.

Radical Focus tackles OKRs through the story of a struggling tea startup, run by Hanna and Jack. When the two receive an ultimatum from their only investor, they must learn how to employ Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) with radical focus to get the right things done.

Following the story of another startup is an interesting device for Wodtke to use to show how OKRs work, and one that brings the concept to life for those who haven’t previously experienced them.

How to buy:

Getting Started in Product (supporting independent bookstores)

Amazon

Objectives and Key Results: Driving Focus, Alignment, and Engagement with OKRs

From the basic framework to a detailed dissection of best practices, this informative guide walks you through real-world implementations to help you get the most out of OKRs.

Written by two leading OKRs consultants and researchers, this book looks to provide a one-stop resource for organizations looking to quantify qualitative goals and ensure each team focuses their efforts to make measureable progress on their most important goals.

How to buy:

Getting Started in Product (supporting independent bookstores)

Amazon

Toolbox Objectives and Key Results: Transparent and agile strategy implementation with OKR

In addition to the basics on OKRs, the toolbox presents the steps for planning and implementing OKRs from a user perspective. It aims to be a practical guide for the introduction of the OKR method and includes lots of practical tools for you to pick up and follow.

How can OKR be distinguished from other management systems?

What are the characteristics of Objectives and Key Results?

What are the implementation strategies for OKRs?

How to buy:

Amazon

Start Less, Finish More: Building Strategic Agility with Objectives and Key Results

The combination of uncertainty and complexity often make things unproductive, which in turn makes it challenging to chart the best course of action for where you want to be in the medium to long term.

With the introduction of agile practices, there has been a shift towards being both strategic (through high level planning) and agile (through flexibility of how you plan to get there).

We know we need to reduce customer churn, but we haven’t defined how. We know we must reduce overheads, but we’re flexible on the ways in which we’ll go about it. This is where OKRs come into their own.

How to buy:

Amazon

The OKRs Field Book: A Step-by-Step Guide for Objectives and Key Results Coaches

The second book on the list from author Ben Lamorte, this one though is not an introduction to OKRs. Instead, this book is written for those who are looking coach others on the introduction and operation of OKRs; whether inside or outside of your organization. It provides a comprehensive framework to guide users through the phases and steps necessary to make your OKRs project a success.

How to buy:

Amazon

Our books

Getting Started in Product operates its bookstore through Bookshop.org, and 10% of every sale is donated to independent bookstores within the country of operation.

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Getting Started in Product

All you need to know to get you started with a career in product

Robert Drury

Written by

Helping people kick start their product management career at gettingstartedinproduct.com * Product person at Watchfinder

Getting Started in Product

Product related roles have grown considerably over the past five years, which means an influx of people who are starting out in a new skills area. Getting Started in Product aims to support these people make the transition.

Robert Drury

Written by

Helping people kick start their product management career at gettingstartedinproduct.com * Product person at Watchfinder

Getting Started in Product

Product related roles have grown considerably over the past five years, which means an influx of people who are starting out in a new skills area. Getting Started in Product aims to support these people make the transition.

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