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Innovation and Product Development

Charting Your Course to Success: A Guide to Crafting Powerful OKRs for Product Development


Last week, we introduced the concept of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) – a goal-setting framework for aligning your teams, fostering innovation, and driving measurable outcomes – and demonstrated the differences between OKRs and KPIs . If you haven’t explored that post yet, you can find it here. Now, let’s dive into how OKRs can transform your product development process and explore the art of creating powerful & measurable objectives.

Strategic Thinking: Crafting Compelling Objectives in Product Development

Crafting compelling objectives is a strategic exercise, especially for product development. Begin by revisiting your company’s broader vision and mission statements. Next, analyze current market trends and pressing customer needs. Are consumers demanding more sustainable products? Is there a growing preference for personalized experiences? How can your product offering position you as a leader in your industry?

Once armed with this bigger-picture understanding, start brainstorming with key stakeholders across the organization. Don’t be afraid to dream big. Ask yourself:

  • How can we revolutionize our product line to redefine the customer experience?
  • What breakthrough features or functionalities can we develop to set us apart from the competition?
  • How can we streamline the product development process to accelerate time-to-market?

Powerful objectives inspire your team and provide a clear focus for all product development efforts – think of them as your North Star. They should always center on the desired outcomes and the value your products deliver.

Translating Objectives into Measurable Milestones: Key Results

With your objectives defined, it’s time to translate them into measurable milestones: your key results. Here’s where concrete metrics ensure you stay on track and gain insights to fuel future product iterations. To make them truly effective, ensure they are specific, quantifiable, challenging but realistic, directly supportive of the objective, and bound by a clear timeframe.

An Example: OKRs in Action for Product Development

Let’s illustrate this with an example. Suppose you set an objective: “Launch a groundbreaking new product within our existing portfolio that generates a 20% increase in revenue within a year. ” The following key results might help you achieve it:

  • Achieve 95% completion of product development milestones throughout the project timeline.
  • Secure 50% pre-order sales by [launch date – 3 months].
  • Attain a customer satisfaction score of 8.5 or higher for the new product within two months of launch.

Building OKRs: A Collaborative Approach

Building OKRs within product development requires a collaborative process. Invite input from stakeholders across various departments to ensure alignment and buy-in from teams responsible for bringing your products to life. Facilitate open discussions to refine the objectives and explore the most relevant and impactful ways to measure progress with your key results.

Finally, remember that OKRs aren’t just a one-time planning exercise. They are a continuous, iterative process of setting goals, tracking progress, and adapting your product development roadmap along the way. By regularly reviewing and adjusting your objectives and key results, you keep your efforts aligned and optimize your products for long-term success.

Perficient Product Development is your Product Success Partner

Want to learn how OKRs can supercharge your digital product success? Have questions about tracking and analysis? Contact us today to discuss how we can help you harness the power of data-driven goals and create products that truly soar.

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Jeff Small, Director, Mobile Solutions

Jeff Small is a Certified Product Manager & Product Leader, and an experienced mobile solutions leader that understands the connection between experience and product success. He is a Director in the Product Development Solutions group for Perficient.

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