When do you act on new data? Using OKR thresholds to trigger a team response can help. Here's how to do that.
We build on the shoulders of giants. That doesn’t mean those giants were flawless. Grove, Doerr and others gave us OKRs. Here’s how they evolve.
OKRs are a simple concept. That doesn't mean they are easy to implement. Redefining your goals should have a big impact on your company.
Everyone has great ideas. Those ideas show up at random moments. They risk derailing your initiative. Here's how to avoid that.
A short video walking through how to come up with lightweight experiment ideas from a business problem and solution hypothesis.
Expanding a bit on the idea that everyone makes something for another human to use and why that impacts the work we do.
If we're going to invest in lean ux and product discovery we should be able to measure its impact. Here's how to do that.
OKRs can work like an organisational flashlight, shedding light on the dependencies that keep teams from delivering autonomously
10 practical tips for building a culture that obsesses over the customer and understands them deeply
I’ve been working in, with and around product organizations for more than 20 years now. Over time, as with all things, patterns reveal themselves in the work. Sadly, and despite … Continue reading 10 Challenges to Building a Customer Obsessed Organization
Most teams want to do product discovery. Most teams struggle to find the time. Here are 3 tips for ensuring discovery happens every sprint.
There are efficiency metrics in certain organizations that don’t fall neatly into the OKR template, “Who does what by how much?” If we’re setting goals for a team that manages these types of metrics, how do we reconcile that with measuring human behavior.
3 startups share how they think about and execute customer research and the impact it's had on their business
Most enterprise companies require business cases to fund work. Most business cases are fabrications. What should we actually put in our business cases?
You’re going to work on projects that don’t make sense to you. This doesn’t mean your work should be of a lower quality. Here’s why.
How do we create a process where every role has customer access in an effective and sustainable way? Here are some thoughts.
Don’t write your OKRs without involving a UX designer. They are the staunches advocate for customer behavior goals.
The names of our processes can sometimes be the thing that keeps adoption low. Here’s a way to rethink that.
You can write objectives and key results for services businesses. Just make sure to focus on the right behaviours. Here is an example.
OKRs can be a big change. Reduce the risk by notching small wins. One way is by changing the questions you're asking. Here's how.
Quantifying your key results is not only critical to your success but it also tells you when you’re done. Why do teams avoid doing this then?
Committing to a new way of working is risky. Reduce that risk by shortening the time between check-ins and course corrections. Here’s how.
Every artefact and deliverable a product manager creates is an opportunity to tell a story to drive alignment, direction and progress.
If you can’t answer a question about your job or product in a clear, concise way you may be guilty of creating a word salad.
Here's a case study showcasing OKRs in the healthcare space and how they influence the work done at the hospital.
B2B companies often struggle with OKRs because it's not clear whose behavior we want to change. Here's how to fix that.
Implementing a new goal framework is risky. Here's a way to de-risk it, learn how to improve and then scale it.
In the past, we've never doubted that we were going to ship the product. In a continuous world the product is now the variable.
Here's how to take your organization's strategy and translate it into a set of actionable, customer-centric goals using OKRs.
We are always going to make a plan. Inevitably parts of that plan are going to be wrong. What you do at that moment makes all the difference.
Lots would prefer to skip objectives and head straight or the key results. This is only half the story. Here's how to get the objective into the story.
What does a complete cycle of planning and delivering on OKRs look like. Here's an example.
User story mapping is a powerful tool for coming up with timely, user-focused key results with your product development team.
Modern product managers are not in charge of the production line in the feature factory. They job is to navigate a product through the uncertainty of idea to production.
Without a clear, articulated company and product strategy, scaling OKRs to the whole company will not realize the intended benefits.
How to use product thinking to de-risk your agile implementation.
Here's a simple, 3 step process for putting together a compelling story that can influence any team or audience into aligned action.
Key results should be outcomes, measures of human behavior. Behavior is action oriented meaning your KR's should be verbs.
There are no short cuts to product success. This case study shows how Fender guitars used solid product management work to discover and define a winning, modern product strategy.
Everyone should talk to customers. Most companies buy the idea. They also believe it's a waste of time with developers. Here's why they're wrong.
When working in B2B2C it can be tempting to set goals based on end user behavior. That's risky and may set you up to fail. Here's why.
OKRs should have an opinion. Without one, teams lack clear direction. Here's how to write unambiguous objective statements.
Analysis paralysis is a team momentum killer. Biasing for action builds both learning and decision making chops. Here's how.
Outcomes are measures of behavior. Here's the difference between a business outcome and a user outcome and why it matters.
Despite decades of advice and proof that building learning into our work improves results, organisations are still resistant. Why is that?
The key to reducing analysis paralysis and amplifying evidence-based decisions is knowing when to let an idea go.
OKR require agility to succeed. The basics of Scrum provide the exact right scaffolding for this.
Start the year by erasing all of your goals and do this instead.
Everyone makes a product. Everyone has customers. Even those who don't think they do. Here's a quick story about making that obvious.
This is the simplest way to come up with your comprehensive product strategy.
Whether you’re a leader, engineer or someone else who isn’t usually associated with “getting to know the customer”, there's no excuse for not talking to your audience.
Doing customer interviews is great! Doing it with a clear sense of what you’re trying to learn is even better. Here’s why.
Middle managers can strongly influence the success of OKRs. Here’s how their job changes to support these new goals.
We say these words all the time yet they mean nothing. Here's a list of phrases to avoid and what to use instead.
Measuring the performance of our products and services can easily get confused with measuring our users' behavior. Here's how to avoid that.
Disciplines that function as services to product teams can have OKRs too. Here are two ways to think about how to do that.
Just because we've always done things a certain way doesn't mean they still make sense in a modern context. Questioning means improving.
Running experiments in a corporate environment can be daunting. Here's one trick to help bring good ideas into perspective.
If you're going to work with hypotheses you need clear success criteria. Outcomes provide the objective lens needed to determine our next steps.
Defining your work is crucial to creativity, innovation and agility. Here are two templates to help your team do that.
OKRs require continuous learning. Your teams require tools that help them do that. Here's what they'll need.
If your key result is a metric (and it should be), should you use absolute numbers or percentages? Here are a few reasons to use percentages.
Sometimes building in seemingly simple supports can strengthen a new way of working in unexpected ways. Here are two.
As we experiment we learn and through that learning we earn the right to invest more in our ideas. The Truth Curve makes that obvious.
Fixed goals equal static products and ultimately failed businesses. OKRs encourage agility both in your product and business. Here's how.
Here is what a complete Lean UX canvas looks like -- example and template.
Teams working in large organisations often hand their work off to IT teams to implement. This hurts agility. Here's how to avoid that.
New ways of working can be risky and scary for large organisations. To increase their chances of adoption and success treat them like products.
Finding customers and users to speak with in a B2B product company can be hard. Here are 5 ways to start that process right now.
In this short video I answer one of the most commonly asked questions I hear: what is shared understanding and why is it valuable?
Keeping track of your OKRs is a common issue for most companies. Here are 3 tools to help you get started based on size and maturity.
Many companies use SMART goals with their teams. Are OKRs a different system or are they compatible? Turns out they fit quite well together.
Airtable surveyed over 700 people to get a better understanding of the challenges product managers face daily. Here's my summary.
It's hard work getting a team to gel and be productive together. Once achieved, how long should we keep that team together?
Get the most relevant stories from your customers with this one, simple question.
Here are 7 simple questions to help you write the perfect pitch for your product or service.
Understanding when a feature stops delivering user value is crucial to prioritising where your team works. OKRs can help you decide. Here's how.
Key results are also assumptions. Here’s how to ensure you’re testing your goals as well as your feature hypotheses.
An agile organization learns and acts fast on what it's learning. The more agile an organization is the better chance it stands in a recession.
We always have an existing backlog. If we create new goals, we have to rethink our work plan, not create goals that reflect it.
Product managers are in high demand while their job descriptions vary greatly. Here are 5 things that product managers should never be asked to do.
If your teams' OKRs are turning into lists of tasks to complete that's a red flag that you're asking the wrong questions.
The biggest change a leader has to make if OKRs are to succeed is to stop telling their teams what to do.
OKRs require the psychological safety for teams to be wrong and a culture that celebrates the learning they bring from their product discovery work.
Setting up goals is the beginning of your OKR journey. The next step is understanding how you, as a leader, must support product discovery.
Leading teams with OKRs requires several changes to the way you manage. The first and most important is trusting the team you’ve hired to do their work. Here’s how to start.
It's easy to add an OKR for every activity. Instead work towards setting the fewest number of goals. Here's how to do it.
No designer should ever have to fear reviewing their work with a stakeholder. Here's one story of how it happened to me and what I learned.
It is no longer viable to design your organization around a centralised IT department. It's not agile. It's not customer focused. Here's why.
I've spent the last two years working from home. Here are 7 things I've learned about working and living remotely.
There are some products that have to be shipped as one big release. This article explains how to make big bang releases work with OKRs.
It's tempting to set a goal and never think about it again. It's also a huge mistake. Here's how to avoid doing that with OKRs.
Shared purpose and alignment come from a broad understanding of strategy. Here’s how to help your teams know why they are doing their work.
Visualizing the connection between what customers do and how the business fares ensures we're focusing on the most important goal. Here's how.
Teams that sandbag their OKRs set easily achievable goals. Here’s why this stifles innovation and what you can do about it.
Processes, methods and deliverables receive the heavy focus of product management training but without a compelling story they can all fail.
The Business Model Canvas is the high-level assumptions work you need to do before the Lean UX Canvas. Here's how to connect them.
Should you have personal goals in life and at work? Yes, you should. Should you use OKRs to set those goals in both contexts? No. Here's why.
My entrepreneurship journey has been different than many others'. Here are 10 things I've learned in the last 10 years.
You can laud the idea and still be critical of the implementation. That is the true spirit of Agile. Here’s how I came around to this idea.
Can you practice OKRs in regulated environments, in multinational corporations and with leaders who don't give specfific goals. In short, yes.
Objectives and Key Results offer a new opportunity for user experience and design work to make a powerful impact on our products and services
Your objectives and key results are assumptions. At times they will be wrong. Here's how to handle a situation where your goals aren't right.
Managing to outcomes works well if we're also monitoring negative behavior. If we're not, we risk real world negative consequences.
Scaling OKRs can get messy quickly. Here's one quick trick to simplify OKRs at scale that also works for your scaled agile efforts.
We use OKRs to set goals. Should all of our goals then use OKRs? This article discusses which goals make sense and which don't.
We spend a tremendous amount of time planning next year's work. We don't need an entire season to do this. Here's a better way to plan work.
Here is a simple, free tool to track your objectives and key results. It's designed to help get your teams started with setting and tracking goals.
OKRs require fast learning but what if our cycle times are long. Here's how to reconcile OKRs with long cycle times.
Successful businesses know that making the customer happy is their only concern. Here's why.
Planning work with OKRs exposes the uncertainty in software-driven business planning. Here's how to deal with it.
The Lean UX canvas helps you create your objective and key result statements. Here's where to find them.
Here are some of the big highlights from the new 3rd edition of the lean ux book, available now.
Every company makes decisions based on the highest paid person's opinion. It turns out it's just a hypothesis. Here's how to tame it.
If we're going to set new goals with OKRs, we need to change how we measure the performance of our teams. Here are 6 ways to do that.
Objectives and Key Results can do a lot of things. One thing they can't do is determine your strategy. Here's how to reconcile OKRs and strategy.
Your company’s digital transformation diet should consist of a mix of fast food type trainings and long-term transformation diets supported by coaches. Here’s why.
Being done with digital work no longer makes sense. Here's why.
Businesses are cyclical. Thinking about when you're going to plant vs harvest ensures we've always got new ideas to try and grow.
There is a lot of confusion around the terms output, outcome, impact and KPI. Here is what each one means and how they relate to each other.
Why do you continue to climb the career ladder? Because you’ve been told to do so. To future proof your career you have to rethink how to attract career opportunities.
We all know go to the gemba tell us to go and see and we inspect and adapt. But there’s another part to it — showing respect to the people we seek to improve. Here’s why.
This short video explains how to use the hypothesis prioritization canvas to determine which hypotheses you should test.
Every second you spend sharing your expertise you’re building equity in yourself and laying the foundation to becoming Forever Employable.
Don’t assume that telling your teams what their OKR goals should be is the best approach. Here’s a better way.
Here's how to set the proper level for your Objectives & Key Results so you can set goals your team can achieve.
This short video explains how to use the Lean UX canvas.
Decision making can cripple teams. Here’s how to unstick that process and get your ideas to market quicker.
There’s so much more to product development than writing code. Here is what The Work consists of and why you should make time to do it.
Ensuring the right fit is key to an abundance mindset Last month’s blog post about the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe as it’s known) not being agile was a real barn … Continue reading How losing a client helped me find better ones
Online writing can change the flow of your career, attracting opportunities to you continuously. Here are 3 reasons why.
Scrum teams fail without dedicated designers. Here’s why.
If you're not getting the kind of creativity and innovation you know your team can deliver, reframe your requests to them in this one simple way.
SAFe - the scaled agile framework - attempts to bring agility and scrum to large enterprises. In my experience, it fails and is not agile.
Pablo Picasso had the right idea when it came to pricing his work. Here's what you can learn from him.
Do the work to define what will make your user interfaces and experiences, intuitive, compelling and successful.
Here are the top 10 questions asked in my recent masterclass on objectives and key results.
Humility is the key to leading and building agile teams and organizations. Here’s why.
Not everyone wants to do product discovery but everybody should. Here's a story about one way I convinced a group of reluctant developers to meet their users.
One of the most common complaints from teams going through an agile transformation is that their bosses don’t get it. The teams are asked to change how they work but … Continue reading How to get executive buy-in for Agile using two popular product development approaches
How do you plant your flag and start telling compelling stories that cement your position of expertise in the market? Here’s how four folks did it.
Simon Mujamdar, writer, chef, podcaster and tv personality, shares his Forever Employable story on career change in your 40’s.
Do OKRs work with jobs to be done? They do. Here's how.
Los cinco pasos para convertiros empleables para siempre. Forever Employable.
Your next career move doesn't have to be risky. You can experiment your way to the best next move. Here's how.
Impostor syndrome never goes away. Here's how to mitigate it.
Leading with negativity -- as a victim of your agile transformation -- is a sure fire recipe for it failing.
I work with teams around the world every day helping them implement objectives and key results. I’ve written about OKR here a lot over the last few years and now, … Continue reading OKR anti-pattern: reverse engineering key results to match your backlog
One of the most powerful agile tactics is timeboxing. With remote teams it's hard to coordinate time keeping. These 10 fun web-based timers can help with that.
It's easy to blame HR for your team's shortfalls. In the end though, it's your fault and responsibilty.
Volkswagen's electric vehicle ambitions reveal how their manufacturing history gets in the way of their technological success.
There are always excuses for why our teams can’t innovate or be agile. Constraints shouldn’t be one of them. In fact, they can be the source of these desired qualities. Here’s why.
Finding the right community to help grow your career isn’t always easy. Sometimes the better path is to build your own community. Here’s how I did it.
Give your teams the best tools to do their best job.
Visualizing a system is the fastest way to build shared understanding. Here's why.
How to continuously reinvent yourself with Michael Bungay Stanier
Following recipes is the beginning of your agile transformation. To reach true agility you must become a chef.
Katie Saindon and David O'Malley took the ideas in Forever Employable and put them into action immediately.
Elite speaking coach Bill Smartt and I spend an hour discussing how to tell a compelling story, even from your home office.
Just ask for what you want. It sounds simple and straightforward and yet so few of us actually do it. It's something I've had to practice doing, shushing the voice … Continue reading Forever Employable Stories: Lindsey Pollak, NYT best-selling author and multi-generational work expert
If your team is struggling to deliver top-notch work, you'll need to revisit your definition of done.
I was lucky enough to meet Alisa Cohn by chance. Dorie Clark, who wrote the forward for Forever Employable, invited me to a virtual cocktail party a few months ago … Continue reading Forever Employable Stories: Alisa Cohn, #1 Startup Coach in the World
The work you do that you don't love to do is obvious to your customers and clients. Here's what to do about it.
The success of your org's agility isn't solely dependent on your executives. Teams have their part to do as well.
Just because it's part of The Process doesn't mean it's the best way to do things. Earlier this year I held a webinar panel with Sense & Respond Press author … Continue reading Optimize your process for decision-making, not dogma
Your core value is the thing that won't change in 10 or even 20 years. How you deliver on that core value will evolve with the times, your career and your personal choices.
Image credit: https://greatist.com/ A few weeks ago I shared with you the most basic description of Objectives and Key Results -- the goal-setting trend sweeping the business world -- I … Continue reading How to use OKRs to set goals for your professional and personal development
One of the critical pieces of getting a team in the right frame of mind and comfortable with the tools available to them is kicking off the meeting with a proper icebreaker technique. I’ve put together a list below of icebreakers I’ve crowdsourced, participated in and used myself to help you get your distributed collaboration sessions off on the right foot.
“Unless you’re the founder and the product manager at the same time, you are not the CEO of anything.”
The team works for multiple weeks, sometimes months. And we launch, fingers crossed, looking daily (sometimes hourly) to see if our predictions were correct. But the customers don’t come at the level we predicted, and the numbers don’t move quite in the directions we’d hoped.
I stumbled across Danny Thompson’s twitter account not too long ago. Immediately I noticed that this was no ordinary software developer. Not only was he humbly sharing his learning journey … Continue reading Forever Employable Stories: Danny Thompson, software developer and community leader
If teams don’t feel safe sharing what they’ve learned, they’ll never be agile. Psychological safety ensures teams doing discovery can implement the feedback they learn in the process anda truly be agile.
Entrepreneur, educator, singer and youtuber Peter Hollens shares his Forever Employable career path and story
Objectives and Key Results - OKRs. Ask around, and you’ll hear a level of adoption across industries and domains similar to the big wave of Agile adoption in the late … Continue reading What is an OKR? A basic guide.
There's more to team leadership than just shipping it. What's your team's reason for being?
In anticipation of the launch of my new book, Forever Employable, I’ll be sharing a series of interviews and stories from people from all different professions who have created a … Continue reading Forever Employable Stories: Jared Kirby, Traditional fencing master and fight director
Writer, author and talent developer Tara Schuster shares how she built her platform and became Forever Employable.
In anticipation of the launch of my new book, Forever Employable, I’ll be sharing a series of interviews and stories from people from all different professions who have created a … Continue reading Forever Employable Stories: Nir Eyal, best-selling author of Hooked and Indistractable
In anticipation of the launch of my new book, Forever Employable, I’ll be sharing a series of interviews and stories from people from all different professions who have created a … Continue reading Forever Employable Stories: Stephen Shedletzky, Brand Director and Igniter at Simon Sinek
In anticipation of the launch of my new book, Forever Employable, I’ll be sharing a series of interviews and stories from people from all different professions who have created a … Continue reading Forever Employable Stories: Tendayi Viki, innovation consultant, author and professor
In anticipation of the launch of my new book, Forever Employable, I’ll be sharing a series of interviews and stories from people from all different professions who have created a … Continue reading Forever Employable Stories: Alden Mills, ex-Navy Seal, entrepreneur, author & speaker
Agile is great for product development. It can be great for your career as well. Here's how.
Celebrity photographer Mathieu Bitton is forever employable. Read his story.
In anticipation of the launch of my new book, Forever Employable, I'll be sharing a series of interviews and stories from people from all different professions who have created a … Continue reading Forever Employable Stories: Joel Hoekstra, Guitarist for Whitesnake
I hope this finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy. A month ago I was sitting in a restaurant in London with a group of friends enjoying dinner, … Continue reading How are businesses pivoting in the pandemic? Here are 3 inspirational examples
Recently, a long-term client of mine sent me an email with the question below (scrubbed for anonymity) after we’d spent close to a year together building a set of objectives … Continue reading There’s no guarantee your product strategy will work. Here’s how to de-risk it.
Part of the reason organisations struggle to switch to managing to outcomes is that its difficult to measure employee performance. Once that becomes difficult, how do we know someone did a good job? How do we know if that person should receive a raise? A promotion?
For as long as I've been working professionally the visual metaphor for moving customers through an experience has been The Funnel. The idea being that we have the most amount … Continue reading Metrics Mountain: A realistic visualisation of any customer lifecycle metrics
How to prioritize your hypothesis so you know what to test first.
(Want to get this article in your inbox? I publish one article a month and share it in my newsletter first. You can sign up here and join 40k other … Continue reading Velocity should be renamed “future tech debt”
It's been 3 years since the Lean UX Canvas was published. It was time for an update.
Teams that don't make customer facing work still work on "products" and have "customers." This article explains how to think about this kind of work - from HR, Legal, Finance et al - in a new light.
Truly agile teams enjoy the ability, desire and safety to respond to change over following a plan.