Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs

Published: September 5th, 2017
ISBN: 9780525536222
Reviewed: 2021

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John Doerr wrote a really great book about setting goals and measuring goals with Measure What Matters. The layout of the book felt like the perfect way to address columns of the OKR methodology with an introduction to the tactic followed by a couple case studies from organizations like Bill Gates Foundation, Intel, Remind and even Bono's ONE foundation.

When you get past the silicon valley worship and horn tooting, the book actually has a lot of great information you can use.

There are a lot of great parts here and I highlighted many sections of the book to revisit. Some of the big takeaways I had here were: Implementing OKRs will be hard especially the larger the organization, so start with what makes sense and work your way into it.

OKRs, as defined in the book:


An OBJECTIVE, I explained, is simply WHAT is to be achieved, no more and no less. By definition, objectives are significant, concrete, action oriented, and (ideally) inspirational. When properly designed and deployed, they’re a vaccine against fuzzy thinking—and fuzzy execution.

Key Results

KEY RESULTS benchmark and monitor HOW we get to the objective. Effective KRs are specific and time-bound, aggressive yet realistic. Most of all, they are measurable and verifiable.

Pairing them together you start to align your results to chip away at the objective. Think about it as a bunch of steps to get to the moon.

I found it interesting that a majority of workers would feel more motivated when others see and can collaborate on goals, though im not surprised:

In a recent survey of one thousand working U.S. adults, 92 percent said they’d be more motivated to reach their goals if colleagues could see their progress.

When you have transparent and collaborative goals you get a scenario like this:

“People across the whole organization can see what’s going on. Suddenly you have people who are designing a handset reaching out to another team doing software, because they saw an interesting thing you could do with the user interface.”

Lastly, something that shouldn't have to be written its so basic, but a simple thank you goes a long way.

Continuous recognition is a powerful driver of engagement: “As soft as it seems, saying ‘thank you’ is an extraordinary tool to building an engaged team.