although not designed for product roadmaps, in particular, the okr model has a lot to offer product teams. objectives and key results, or okrs, are a model for setting business goals and trackable outcomes. let’s look at an example of objectives and key results (okrs) in action. a set of shared okrs can help everyone understand how their day-to-day to-do items support the key results the company has set for itself.
as you might have noticed, okrs have a lot in common with both the structure and the strategic purposes of a product roadmap. a product team can turn user needs or problems into objectives and develop key results as metrics to address those issues. after your team has decided on a set of okrs for your okr roadmap, pull everyone together regularly to check the progress of each objective’s key results. then create a few key results to measure the outcomes of your work toward that objective. knowing your baby is the driving engine… read → you’re a product manager, and you need to run a collaborative roadmapping exercise with various teams across your company.
we started with the okr system and it did wonders. the thing with smart people is that they figure things out quickly. you give a team the purpose and underline the significance of their effort, you end up with a motivated lot. in fact, some of the teams moved to an okr only system rather than maintaining long lists of tasks to complete. but can a product team move to an okr only system? well, i have pondered over this question a million times last quarter till i actually tried the okr only system without any product roadmap. i have also created a framework for you guys at the end of the article to decide whether product roadmap should accompany your okrs. let’s just start with the basics first. the concept originally invented by folks at intel corporation is widely used amongst the biggest technology companies in the world including google and zynga. the non-nerd way saying this is “motivation and output driven system” i would recommend reading okr (objective & key results) article by niket for the complete understanding of okr system and few examples of okr system.
let’s look at this comparison of another perspective based upon product lifecycle stages and see on which stages which one is more suitable: introduction: in this phase, everyone is clear what they want to achieve but how will they achieve is not clear and most the startups achieve this through mvp process. the main objective is to create a product that addresses the problems and needs of a group of customers i.e. growth: this is the phase when the product is developed and found product-market-fit but it can be incomplete or not as feature rich as competitions. here the product roadmap comes into the picture where every item is aligned with the objective. so in the growth stage roadmaps together with okr make sense. in this phase focus is to optimize the product to fulfil its objectives e.g. this stage of the product can be managed by okr system. any effort or task should be clearly justified by objective and okr system make sense to use at this stage. according to me, okrs are not a complete replacement of the product roadmap and one should decide which one fits well according to their requirement and stage. it is the classic conundrum. maybe some kickass product manager or a ceo or an executive or an associate sitting somewhere in google, apple, facebook or even one of those white-collar consulting firms will come up with a framework that can solve this conundrum.
how to use okrs for product roadmap prioritization turn user needs or problems into okr objectives. make the products roadmap items are the task which enables to achieve goals of products okr talks about once the product strategy is defined, okrs can be developed and later directly plugged into your, okr roadmap template, okr roadmap template, product owner okr examples, google product roadmap, okr strategy.
in my last article i introduced a way for product teams to wean senior management off roadmaps (read here). one of why okrs can’t replace a roadmap. a product roadmap is an organizational tool that communicates a statement of intent when customers are expecting you to deliver high-quality products within no time , it often feels, product design okr, okr and product vision, product marketing okrs, how to do okrs
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