Product Practice #286: Why Useful Product OKRs should be IDLE


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Sticking to dogmatic principles can make you feel good about your OKRs, but they rarely turn out to be useful. Here’s why Product OKRs should be IDLE to provide value beyond “best practices.”

It’s easy to rigorously follow instructions on HOW to write OKRs. Or to obey the idea that every OKR has to be an Outcome. But it’s much more difficult to go from these ideas to OKRs that are actually useful to Product Teams.

A more practice-informed lens to check the usefulness of your Product OKRs is based on the IDLE attributes:


  • A team’s actions should be able to move the KRs significantly on their own
  • That means no overarching business goals that „change anyway “ or depend on another team’s work



  • To avoid mirroring business as usual, the team’s OKRs have to be linked (not cascaded) to Company-level OKRs and their own Product Strategy
  • If necessary, also horizontally aligned with the priorities of other teams/departments


  • User Outcomes shouldn’t be guessed but rooted in actual insights through Discovery activities
  • Alternatively: Making them Exploratory​ as an alternative to getting to evidence-informed KRs in the future

After allan OKR shouldnt be defined by its technical correctness but by its usefulness in the context of your team, your product, and your company​. Don’t get lost in chasing “best practices,” and check your OKRs for how they can guide your team.

Speak soon,


PS.: If you want to learn how to put these attributes into practice, check out my Practical Product OKRs workshop​ I’m giving as part of the Digitale Leute Summit in October in Cologne, Germany.

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