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Richard Russell

One of the reasons why many companies find digital transformation so difficult is that their technology teams “serve the business” — and their transformation efforts are often intended to increase the level of that service.

This results in disappointment, because in the best case, they get more of the same with added technology but without the desired business results, and nothing approaching transformation. But more importantly, the business results are usually lacklustre, regardless of how the “transformation” is considered to be going.

But isn’t “serving the business” a good thing?

Here’s what it usually means in practice:

  • The business makes prioritized feature requests that they pass to the…


Some people, especially in the startup community, say business plans are as outdated as a typewriter or fax machine and should be consigned to the dustbin of history: “we use Business Model Canvasses, create MVPs and stick post-it notes on walls instead these days” …

But in most established and growth businesses, people are still writing business plans and similar documents. At Amazon, they are usually called Operational Planning documents, and in some fast moving parts of the business, the Quarterly Business Reviews serves the same purpose.

How do you make your business plan or other planning document really useful?


How to do Minimal Viable Products when you can’t do Minimal Viable Products.

Innovation culture today is obsessed with Minimum Viable Products (MVPs). Launch early and often, learn and iterate.

But what about when you can’t launch something “minimum”? What about when the cost of even the most “minimum” product makes it barely viable?

You’ve probably seen this image showing how to make an MVP using a car as an example:

https://blog.crisp.se/2016/01/25/henrikkniberg/making-sense-of-mvp

But have you ever seen VW produce and test-market a skateboard, scooter, bicycle or motorbike as an MVP before launching a new car?

Let’s consider what car manufacturers actually do.

Concept Cars and Motor Shows


“Sales already has a commission scheme. Do you need OKRs as well?”

Yes.

And the reason goes to the heart of what OKRs are for and about, for any team. And sales makes it particularly easy to explain what these goals are, which makes it helpful for other teams to understand.

I wrote earlier about the three different types of goals: activity, results, and value.

In sales, activity goals are things such as number of calls per day, number of appointments per week, number of proposals sent, and so on. They can be useful to drive activity, but they don’t…


Some people get hung up on perfecting their OKRs before they even start. There’s lots of advice on the internet, and many rules, some contradictory.

I’m going to share my method (OKRs FAST), and the one question you need to ask about each OKR you write.

OKRs FAST

I call my method OKRs FAST because it’s based on the acronym FAST, which stands for:

Frequently discussed

Ambitious

Specific

Transparent

(see this MIT Sloan Review article for more on FAST goals beat SMART goals)

I am considering changing “Ambitious” to “Agile” because especially when starting out, you should be willing to…


“Q1 OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) already? It feels like Q4 has only just begun!”

Yes, already.

Let’s work backwards from the start of 2021 to create a timeline.

Week beginning 4 Jan

It’s now the start of 2021, and people are coming back from vacation. As soon as you have enough people back, communicate the OKRs for Q1. Don’t wait for everyone, or you’ll have people at risk of idling for the first week or two.

2 Weeks beginning 21 Dec

Don’t kid yourself — people are on vacation, and their minds are elsewhere. …


I recently had an introductory call with the 10 new startups I’ll be coaching as part of Luxembourg’s Fit4Start program. And as with every other startup I’ve coached, these entrepreneurs were passionate about their product. But they didn’t really know their customers.

Established companies tend to know their customers better, but this knowledge is not widespread, and many people are too busy doing their work to think about customers.

Is it any wonder that most startups and most new product launches fail?

I’ve recently discovered a great approach to solving this problem — the Customer Need Narrative, based on this…


Dragon’s Den UK (aka Shark Tank, Lion’s Cave, Money Tigers, etc)

Staff chatter expectantly in the cafeteria, which has been converted into a makeshift auditorium with a stage and a projector.

The MC introduces four executives, who take their seats at the four desks lined up at the front.

The show begins.

A series of budding intrapreneurs present their idea for two minutes each. The executives play judge, grilling them for three minutes. They enthuse about the best ideas, riffing off them to show their own innovative spirit. They dance around the fine line between constructive criticism and harsh rejection.

The judges vote. The MC announces three winners to warm applause…


The celebration on a boat on the Thames after riding form Paris

I’m a cyclist.

Last year I rode 320 km from Paris to London in three days and raised about €2000 for charity — the whole group of about 70 of us raised about €70,000.

Richard Russell

I help you turn ideas into action and get people to commit to your idea as if it were their own.

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