How to Use OKRs for Roadmap Prioritization and Planning

When customers are expecting you to deliver high-quality products within no time, it often feels overwhelming. Learn how to apply OKRs!

Having a well-defined roadmap and a solid plan can help you organize your priorities efficiently. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of using Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) methodology. Learn several tips that can help one in the Product Management path! 

Roadmap Prioritization and Planning

Follow these steps and you’ll be on your way to start rocking roadmaps:

1. The Problem: What to Build?

Your customers are screaming at you to build new features. The dev team wants to pay off engineering debt. Your manager has his own agenda. Your partner teams also have more requests. So what should you build? This is perhaps the biggest problem companies face. Start by gathering suitable requirements for the product.

2. Unprioritized List of Features

  • Talk to customers — Get feedback from official channels and from social media channels like Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, etc.
  • Speak to the sales team.
  • Telemetry  — Understand the usage of your product, its quality, and missing features.
  • How do you fit into your org’s strategy?
  • What are your competitors doing?

If you dont know where you are going, you might not get there — Yogi Berra 

3. OKRs Methodology

 We’ll deliver a certain OBJECTIVE as measured by the following KEY RESULTS:

Objectives should be:

  • Long term. Shouldn’t change month to month.
  • Up to 3 objectives for each PM.
  • Up to 5 objectives for a PM team.

Key Results should be:

  • SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely.
  • 3- 5 Key Results per Objective.

4. Advantages of Using OKRs

  • Requires regular planning
  • Commitment from all stakeholders
  • Transparency
  • Provides focus
  • Accountability tracking
  • Makes it easier to say no
  • Stretch goals boost morale

5. Sample OKRs

  • We will increase usage as measured by the following key results:
    1. Increase monthly active enterprise customers by 3X in the next 3 months.
    2. Increase monthly active users by 2X in the next 3 months.
    3. Increasing new app sign-ups by 2X in the next 3 months.
  • We will decrease customer dissatisfaction as measured by the following key results:
    1. Reduce app crashes by 2X in the next 3 months.
    2. Reduce support tickets by 3X in the next 3 months.
    3. Improving availability to 99% in next 3 months.

6. Create a Prioritized List of Features

  1. Should help you achieve your Key Results.
  2. The list should ideally be stack-ranked.
  3. Accurate list for next 3 months.
  4. Less accurate for the next 6 months.
  5. Everything else goes into >6 months bucket.

7. Communicate!

    • Communicate your features to your team and partners.
    • Send regular status updates.
    • Tweak Key Results if required. Prioritize on an ongoing basis.

Key Takeaways

    • Define your objectives and key results (OKRs).
    • Prioritize a list of features and plan your roadmap with your OKRs in mind.
    • Communicate the roadmap to partners and customers.
    • Close the loop by tracking success.

How do you prioritize as a Product Manager? Share your tips with us!

Meet Salah Ahmed

Salah Ahmed is currently working as the Senior Product Manager at Microsoft. He leads the Machine Learning team in Azure AD Cloud Identity where he has developed and launched v1 of the enterprise security product. Previously he worked as the Head of Operations + Product at GSM Nation LLC. Salah has a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Yale University.

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