Product Thinking
Shifting How We Measure Success with Jeff Gothelf
April 27, 2022
Melissa Perri welcomes Jeff Gothelf to this episode of the Product Thinking Podcast. An experienced consultant in the Agile and Lean UX space, Jeff just released the third edition of his popular book, Lean UX. Jeff talks with Melissa about how he’s shifted focus to teaching about OKRs, and why he encourages the companies he consults with to adopt this goal-setting framework to measure success. He breaks down what OKRs are, why they can’t be the only product-led change a company adopts, how many OKRs there should be within an organization, what a good OKR looks like at the executive level, and why OKRs make a “great gateway drug” to organizational agility.  Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Jeff talk about: HR leadership, especially the performance, retention, and promotion factions, is taking an interest in new ways to measure success, Jeff shares. They want to learn how to deploy this new metric across their organizations so they can improve their overall internal and external performances. [5:03] Jeff shares how he educates clients about integrating their corporate strategy with their OKRs. “These things don’t exist in a vacuum and can’t be manufactured out of thin air,” he says. “They have to be derived from some kind of corporate strategy, product strategy, business unit strategy.” [9:19] Objectives are the qualitative goals that we would like to achieve; they are aspirational and inspirational, and the value of doing them should be clear. [11:02] When your teams are too independent, you run the risk of hyperlocal optimization, Jeff advises. “One of the better tactics that I've seen over the years is to take a set of teams and give them the same OKR set to hit,” he adds. “With those teams, we’ve defined what success is.” [19:09] Jeff describes an exercise he runs with most of his executive clients. They visualize the relationship between impact metrics and leading and lagging indicators in order to identify the outcomes they’re going to work toward. What this exercise ends up becoming is a top-to-bottom customer journey map. [25:44] Typically, teams get told what to build; they make a roadmap and get it approved. In Jeff’s OKR conversations with clients, he removes the output part of the process. They now have to discover what to build by practicing Lean UX, product discovery, and design thinking. Many organizations either don’t know how to do that, or they do and they make it difficult or impossible to execute the work. [33:09] Quarterly check-ins allow you to reflect on whether it makes sense to go towards the goals you’ve set for yourself. [38:06] Being a good storyteller is a key component of being a good product manager. A vast majority of product managers have to rely on bringing people together on a vision they’ve either built themselves or along with a team through storytelling, as they lead without authority. If you can tell a concise and compelling story that ties in the necessary information, that will be a valuable asset. [41:45] Resources Jeff Gothelf on LinkedIn | Twitter
Melissa Perri welcomes Jeff Gothelf to this episode of the Product Thinking Podcast. An experienced consultant in the Agile and Lean UX space, Jeff just released the third edition of his popular book, Lean UX. Jeff talks with Melissa about how he’s shifted focus to teaching about OKRs, and why he encourages the companies he consults with to adopt this goal-setting framework to measure success. He breaks down what OKRs are, why they can’t be the only product-led change a company adopts, how many OKRs there should be within an organization, what a good OKR looks like at the executive level, and why OKRs make a “great gateway drug” to organizational agility.  Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Jeff talk about: HR leadership, especially the performance, retention, and promotion factions, is taking an interest in new ways to measure success, Jeff shares. They want to learn how to deploy this new metric across their organizations so they can improve their overall internal and external performances. [5:03] Jeff shares how he educates clients about integrating their corporate strategy with their OKRs. “These things don’t exist in a vacuum and can’t be manufactured out of thin air,” he says. “They have to be derived from some kind of corporate strategy, product strategy, business unit strategy.” [9:19] Objectives are the qualitative goals that we would like to achieve; they are aspirational and inspirational, and the value of doing them should be clear. [11:02] When your teams are too independent, you run the risk of hyperlocal optimization, Jeff advises. “One of the better tactics that I've seen over the years is to take a set of teams and give them the same OKR set to hit,” he adds. “With those teams, we’ve defined what success is.” [19:09] Jeff describes an exercise he runs with most of his executive clients. They visualize the relationship between impact metrics and leading and lagging indicators in order to identify the outcomes they’re going to work toward. What this exercise ends up becoming is a top-to-bottom customer journey map. [25:44] Typically, teams get told what to build; they make a roadmap and get it approved. In Jeff’s OKR conversations with clients, he removes the output part of the process. They now have to discover what to build by practicing Lean UX, product discovery, and design thinking. Many organizations either don’t know how to do that, or they do and they make it difficult or impossible to execute the work. [33:09] Quarterly check-ins allow you to reflect on whether it makes sense to go towards the goals you’ve set for yourself. [38:06] Being a good storyteller is a key component of being a good product manager. A vast majority of product managers have to rely on bringing people together on a vision they’ve either built themselves or along with a team through storytelling, as they lead without authority. If you can tell a concise and compelling story that ties in the necessary information, that will be a valuable asset. [41:45] Resources Jeff Gothelf on LinkedIn | Twitter

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