This is my first time writing my own product release note.
I'm extreamly proud to tell that the app is the fruit of my first ever OKR period. And it was impossible without the magic power of OKR. What is more magic is that the product Vision is exactly an app for OKR management built with my own experience.
Well, I was wondering what kind of this note should be looklike. I tried something really formal and official -- something went "What is Vision", and gave a definition of it before introducing the main concept of OKRs, then tried to explain how useful it is.
Finally, I gave it up. To be honest, I've never finished reading a single book about OKRs. I've never been an expert on it. Instead I decided to explain by telling my own real story about the journey of OKRs.
I heared about OKRs at my company, even though I was not part of the ones who were required to practice it. They took a top-down way to introduce OKRs to the staffs at my company. And obviously, I'm a Web engineer from the lowest layer with no obligation to practice this for now.
By then, I knew little about OKRs -- a kind of methodology for helping people get things done (GTD). "Probably like a todo list", I thought.
I always love products of Apple. They may call me an Apple fan. As a developer, however, I've never written a single app for the Apple's platforms. That really has been a shame for me. I wanted to get something done with that dream. One day OKRs suddenly occured to me, reminding me that maybe it was the savior.
I texted a message immediately to one of my collegues who was practicing OKRs at company asked if OKRs were suitable for personal use. She replied positively.
I was delighted, and started googling the keyword "personal OKRs", finding one blog post which tremendously inspired me for implementing personal OKRs. It was How to set your Personal OKRs and stick to them . And I would like to put some highlight quotes below.
OKRs stand for Objective Key Results, and they’re a goal-setting framework developed by the legendary Andy Grove when he was CEO of Intel. John Doerr then introduced them to Google and attributed much of Google’s success to the OKR framework, which has popularised the approach in recent years.
This gives a brief introduction of OKR.
In a nutshell: OKRs take big lofty goals, segment them into objectives, and then tie each of those objectives to actionable Key Results.
Well, I'd like to explain this with my own experience as well as the ideas behind the Vision app.
I always want to learn interesting things, specifictly, novel technologies for building useful apps, dreaming one day I can make a living with writing and selling my own apps. That should be my biggest goal for now. With this in mind, I had an Objective with a weight of 30%:
Learn Swift language (the programming lauguage for iOS development).
followed by Key Results:
- finish learning the Swift language course
- meassured by one lesson
- with the weight of 30%
- with the total quantity of 20
- for each lesson I learn, I could score 0.45% (calculated by weight * Objective's weight / total quantity of 20, which is 30% * 30% / 20 = 0.45%)
- read the Swift official documentation
- messured by a session (a 25-minute period)
- with the weight of 70%
- with the total quantity of 48
- for each session I read, I could score 0.43% (30% * 70% / 48)
And also an Objective with a weight of 35%:
Finish building one app with submitting to the App Store.
also by the similiar way segmenting it into several Key Results
Measurability & Quantifiablity
The main idea of designing your own ORK is that they should be measurable and quantifieable. Take a look at my examples above.
You may notice that I introduced 4 kinds of metrics to describe my Key Results.
- total quantity
- and the calculated Score
They just make a measurable and quantifieable OKR possible. And your biggest motivation to finish your OKRs is that you take actions to get the Scores you planned to achieve!
Measurement & Total Quantity
Imagine an Objective "Keep fit" with two Key Results which lack of these kinds of metrics -- "Run" and "Climb mountains", they simply DON'T tell you how many kilometers should I run as "run", and how many mountains I should climb as "climb mountains".
Let's modify them a little, something like "Run 30 kilometers", "Climb 2 mountains". Well, this modification lets these Key Results meet the first two kinds of metrics. And you can't be clearer that how you can finish them. Feel it!
What is a weight
You may not find it in other blog posts or books, however, I think it is one of the most critical parts of my version of OKR.
Also take the modified examples of "Run 30 kilometers" and "Climb 2 mountains". If you want to score for each kilometer you run, and for each mountain you climb, you may find that they SHOULD NOT be scored equally. That's to say, the effort you possibly make to run a kilometer is not equal to climb a giant mountain. This is exactly where weight comes into play.
Still with the example, you can give "Run 30 kilometers" a weight of 30%, a weight of 70% to "Climb 2 mountains", depending on how difficult for you to finish them.
Like Key Results, Objectives also take weights. You may allocate more weight to your Objectives on career elevation, and a possiblely considerable weight to your fit keeping, if you always make difficult time exercising. In a nutshell, the weight is the powerful tool for you to design the Objectives as well as Key Results in the demensions of importance and urgency.
The Final Score
With the first 3 kinds of metrics in place, we can finally calculate the Score. You will get a Score of 100%, if you finish all your Key Results. The formula of calculating Score is
the sum of each Key Result's finished quantity / its total quantity * its weight * its Objective's weight
It may be a little hard to understand the formula for the first time. However, if you try to finish your Key Results, you'll see that the Score gradually increases. You'll feel a huge sense of achievement as you go. That's the ultimate weapon of OKRs to "force" you to keep going. You'll be addicted to it!
Even if it seems a little long to read, it is really a tip of the iceberg of OKRs. I've talked and explained what are my version of OKRs, and the main concepts behind it. The kinds of metrics, the final Score come together really makes your OKRs useful, and most importantly, helps you achieve your goals.
In the following posts, I'd like to
- talk how Vision came out
- talk some tips on designing your first OKR
- and show you how to leverage weights and total quantities to design your Key Results in the demensions of importance and urgency.
Thank you. Hope the Vision app and this blog post are helpful.