Top critical review
John fails to make the book practical + doesn't immediately disclose his conflicts of interest.
11 June 2018
So I already knew about OKRs before getting this book. Our organisation tried to implement them a few years ago and failed. I was hoping this book would shed some light on how to create, implement, and measure OKRs efficiently in a small business such as ours.
Sadly the book fails to go into any depth about how to make the most important phase, implementation, possible. There are also 2 concerns which really calls into question the practicalness and authenticity of the book.
1. John recommends that we separate OKRs from employee compensation/bonuses. That's fine - I'm willing to give that a shot. But doesn't actually say what a practical alternative approach should actually be. He mentions that instead of combining performance reviews, goals, and bonuses into one group... they should be 3 separate groups (performance reviews = feedback sessions, goals = OKRs, bonuses = bonuses) which form part of your judgement on whether to give bonuses or not effectively taking the hard facts out of how compensation is given and making it based on opinion. Exactly why he says later in the book that annual performance reviews don't work! (because they're based on opinion).
2. The more alarming issue is that towards the end of the book John very coyly mentions that BetterWorks' software is helping companies adopt the OKR methodology more effectively and that organisations should really think about what tech they can use to make sure OKR adoption succeeds in the business. John fails to disclose (at least during that chapter) that he in-fact is an investor in BetterWorks! The book basically feels like a 280 page whitepaper written to desperately try to help BetterWorks get more sales.
If you want to learn more about OKRs and how they work, there's a great 50 minute YouTube video by Google about how they use them. Save yourself the money and time and watch that instead.