OKR Examples

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Operations

OKRs for Early-stage Startups

Focus

Acquisition
Activation
Retention
Referral
Revenue

Key Questions

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Are we solving a real pain for our users?

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Is our product sticky?

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Do we have enough insights from the user?

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How easy is it for people to get started?

Early-stage companies are still figuring out how to build the right product and keep users happy. This is why they should mostly focus on the Retention and Activation stages of the AARRR funnel (in that order).

First, you want to make sure that people stick to your product and come back to it. It's okay if you need to set people up manually at that stage, or if you don't have the best onboarding. It's far more important to know that people are happy with the core product experience first.

Then, you can look at Activation and make sure that it's easy for people to sign up and get started with your product.

Don't waste time optimizing your acquisition channels until your product is sticky enough. You'll end up losing a lot of potential users otherwise.

Example of Early-stage Startup OKRs

You'll find below an example built around a fictitious company. Your OKRs should move from quarter to quarter and map to your company's reality – that's why we thought it's best to illustrate things as a case study that you can take inspiration from.

Scenario

Askawoof is a startup building a platform to help companies run customer satisfaction surveys. They've been working on their beta for 3 months, and decided to set some OKRs to get the product ready for launch.

General advice

Some of your objectives will be hard to achieve within a quarter. This is often the case when building core features. So what should you do? The answer is to find leading indicators of success.

You might not be able to charge your customers today, but you can still ask your users if they'd pay for it. In this case, the team at Askawoof decides to send surveys early to measure Product/Market fit while they wait to have true retention scores.

Their OKRs

Objective

Our platform is a must-have tool for our beta users

Key result

Get a 70% Product/Market fit score

Key result

Get to 300 weekly survey responses sent back to customers

Key result

Pass 150 weekly active users in the beta

Objective

Users successfully onboard the product by themselves

Key result

Reduce onboarding churn from 50% to 25%

Key result

Reduce the time to first survey from 48h to 30mins

Key result

Reduce average activation time from 5 days to 48h

Best practices for tracking OKRs

#1 Make it part of the team rituals

OKRs won't be of much help if you're not keeping an eye on them. Staying focused and aligned starts by adopting a simple routine with the team.

  • Monday: review progress on OKRs as a team, then look at your roadmap.
  • Monday-Friday: work on projects.
  • Friday: demos.

Start your Monday by looking at outcomes first (OKRs) and then outputs (roadmap). This will make sure that roadmaps discussions are centered around the most pressing issues.

#2 Make sure everyone can see trends

A common mistake for tracking OKRs is to use a table where you replace values in cells with the most recent update.

Not seeing trends can give you a false sense of security. You may be above the target line today, but the overall trend might be going the wrong way. So make sure that you have a simple way to understand if you're getting off track.

A simple progress chart can do wonders to help you understand if you're getting off track.

#3 Automate your OKRs process

OKRs will most likely cause friction as you expand their use within your organization:

  • Team leads have to send reminders every week.
  • People have to scramble through spreadsheets to find their goals.
  • Reports need to be handcrafted for leadership.
  • There's a general lack of consistency in implementation.

You can greatly simplify things by adopting a platform like Tability that will automate most of the OKRs tracking and make progress easy to see.

Tability can help you automate OKRs
Turning OKRs into a collaboration process with Tability

What other early-stage metrics can you use?

If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are some example of metrics that can be relevant for your Key Results.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

NPS is seen as a general indicator of happiness for your customers. It measures how likely your users are to recommend your product.

Product/Market Fit score

The Product/Market Fit survey asks your user how disappointed they would be if your service no longer existed.

Daily/Weekly/Monthly Active Users (DAUs, WAUs, MAUs)

How many people are using your product every day/week/month.

Retention rate

What's the percentage of users that come back to your product every day/week/month.

Activation rate

What's the percentage of leads that turn into successful users?

Engagement

How do people interact with your content (it can be anything, from visits to specific sections to conversations in Intercom…)?

Monthly Recurring Revenue

How much revenue is generated every month by existing customers?

Signups

How many users sign up for your product?