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Agile Coaches' Corner shares practical concepts in an approachable way. It is for agile practitioners and business leaders seeking expert advice on improving the way they work to achieve their desired outcomes. If you have a topic you'd like discussed, email it to, or tweet it with #agilethoughtpodcast.

May 8, 2020

In this episode, Dan Neumann is excited to be joined by special guest, Felipe Castro! Felipe is an expert on OKRs or Objectives and Key Results. He is an OKR trainer, speaker, and author who helps organizations transform how they use goals by adopting OKR! He has even created his own OKR tool called the OKR Cycle which is a simple method to avoid OKR’s most common pitfalls.


As a master of all things OKR, Felipe Castro is here to speak about — you’ve got it all things OKR! He goes over what OKRs are; important aspects you should consider; tips and advice regarding them; common mistakes, misunderstandings, and pitfalls; and how to overcome them.


Key Takeaways

What are OKRs?

Stands for Objectives and Key Results

An Agile approach to setting goals and creating alignment

OKRs are about the outcome you want to achieve

A framework for defining and tracking objectives and their outcomes

Focuses on outcome-based planning as opposed to tracking tasks and activities

Instead of giving the teams a feature to build, you are giving them a problem to solve or an opportunity to tackle

Important aspects of an OKR:

The objective should be memorable, compelling, motivating, and inspiring

The ‘why’ comes from leadership and the team figures out the ‘what’ together

Asking ‘so what?’ can help your team create better key results

Give your engineers autonomy to solve problems

Psychological safety is crucial for fostering an environment for high-performance teams

Felipe’s OKR tips and advice:

Start with targets that are regular goals (hard, but achievable)

Don’t copy another company’s method around OKR — adopting OKR is a journey that will be different for every company

Adapt the principles of OKRs for your specific context

You need to unlearn, adapt, and evolve — especially if you come from an Agile background

Common OKR mistakes, misunderstandings, and pitfalls:

Treating it as a glorified to-do list

Using OKRs as a copy of Jira (which doesn’t add any value)

Seeing the role of engineers as assisting only with the coding rather than problem-solving

That the sweet spot for achieving a target is 70% (which has zero science behind it)


Mentioned in this Episode:

Felipe Castro

The Beginner’s Guide to OKR, by Felipe Castro

SVPG (Silicon Valley Product Group)

INSPIRED: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love, by Marty Cagan

McKinsey’s Three Horizons Model

Doc Norton

“How Can You Test Business Ideas? Interview with David J. Bland,” by Felipe Castro

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


Felipe Castro’s Book Picks:

Testing Business Ideas: A Field Guide for Rapid Experimentation, by David J. Bland
and Alexander Osterwalder

Trustworthy Online Controlled Experiments: A Practical Guide to A/B Testing, by Ron Kohavi, Diane Tang, and Ya Xu


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