Measure What Matters by John Doerr
  • Title: Measure What Matters
  • Subtitle: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs
  • Author(s): John Doerr
  • Publisher: Penguin
  • Year: 2018-04-24
  • ISBN-10: 052553623X
  • ISBN-13: 9780525536239


“Measure What Matters” by John Doerr is a compelling and practical guide to the concept of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), a goal-setting system that has been adopted by numerous successful organizations, including Google, Intel, and Amazon. The book presents a step-by-step approach to implementing OKRs, a management framework designed to align teams and individuals around clear and measurable objectives, fostering a culture of transparency, accountability, and continuous improvement. John Doerr, a renowned venture capitalist and an early advocate of OKRs, shares his insights from working with some of the world’s most innovative companies, providing readers with real-life examples and case studies that illustrate the power of this goal-setting methodology.

Throughout the book, Doerr highlights the importance of setting ambitious yet achievable objectives and measurable key results. He outlines the four “superpowers” of OKRs: focus, alignment, tracking, and stretching. By focusing on a small number of critical objectives, companies can concentrate their efforts and resources on what truly matters. Through the process of alignment, organizations ensure that all teams and individuals are working towards the same overarching goals, driving synergy and collaboration. The tracking aspect of OKRs emphasizes the continuous monitoring of progress and outcomes, allowing for agile adjustments and course corrections. Lastly, the concept of stretching encourages setting aspirational goals that challenge teams to push their boundaries and achieve more than they initially thought possible. The book’s combination of practical advice and inspiring success stories makes it an invaluable resource for leaders and teams striving to improve their goal-setting and execution processes and drive meaningful results.

Book Review

“Measure What Matters” by John Doerr is a game-changing book that introduces readers to the Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) methodology—a powerful goal-setting and management system that has revolutionized the way some of the world’s most successful organizations operate. As a venture capitalist and an early advocate of OKRs, Doerr offers a comprehensive and practical guide on how to implement this framework to drive organizational success.

One of the key strengths of the book is its emphasis on the importance of setting clear, ambitious, and measurable objectives. Doerr shares the story of Intel’s transformation under the leadership of Andy Grove, where OKRs played a pivotal role in aligning the entire company around strategic goals. Grove implemented a top-down approach, cascading company-wide objectives down to every level of the organization. This alignment of objectives ensured that all employees were working towards the same vision, fostering collaboration and eliminating silos.

The book also showcases the success of OKRs at Google, where the methodology was embraced from its early days. As an investor and mentor to Google’s founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Doerr played a crucial role in implementing OKRs at the company. One notable example is the OKR set by Google’s YouTube team—to increase the number of daily video uploads by a specific percentage. This ambitious objective pushed the team to innovate and find creative solutions to handle the increased volume, leading to significant growth for the platform.

Furthermore, “Measure What Matters” highlights the importance of continuous tracking and feedback in the OKR process. Doerr emphasizes the value of frequent check-ins and updates to monitor progress and ensure alignment with the desired outcomes. He shares the example of the OKR system at John Deere, where quarterly check-ins allowed the team to identify challenges early and make necessary adjustments, resulting in improved performance and outcomes.

The book’s rich collection of case studies and real-life examples from companies like Google, Intel, and The Gates Foundation demonstrate how OKRs have been instrumental in achieving ambitious objectives and driving innovation. Doerr’s writing is engaging and accessible, making complex concepts easy to understand and implement for readers of all backgrounds.

In conclusion, “Measure What Matters” is a must-read for leaders, managers, and teams looking to improve goal-setting, alignment, and execution within their organizations. John Doerr’s insights and examples from some of the most successful companies in the world illustrate the transformative power of OKRs in driving performance and achieving meaningful results. By providing practical guidance on implementing this proven methodology, the book empowers readers to revolutionize their approach to goal-setting and elevate their organizations to new levels of success.

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Target Audience

The book “Measure What Matters” by John Doerr is recommended reading for a wide range of audiences, particularly:

  • Business Leaders and Managers Business leaders and managers can benefit greatly from this book as it offers a comprehensive guide to implementing the Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) methodology within their organizations. The book provides practical insights and real-life examples from successful companies like Google and Intel, demonstrating how OKRs can drive performance, align teams, and foster a culture of transparency and accountability.

  • Entrepreneurs and Startups For entrepreneurs and startups, “Measure What Matters” serves as an invaluable resource for establishing a goal-setting system that helps them prioritize objectives and achieve growth milestones. The book’s emphasis on setting ambitious yet achievable goals and tracking progress allows startups to stay focused, make informed decisions, and adapt to changing market conditions.

  • Individuals and Teams Seeking Personal and Professional Growth The book’s focus on setting clear and meaningful objectives extends beyond organizational settings. Individuals and teams across various domains can adopt OKRs to drive personal and professional growth. By learning how to set measurable and challenging goals, readers can apply the principles to their personal projects, career development, and life aspirations.

  • Consultants and Management Experts Management consultants and experts looking to enhance their knowledge of performance management and goal-setting techniques will find “Measure What Matters” to be a valuable addition to their library. The book provides a comprehensive overview of the OKR methodology, including its implementation, challenges, and best practices, making it an essential resource for professionals in this field.

  • Students and Academics Students pursuing business, management, or entrepreneurship studies can gain insights into the practical application of goal-setting principles through the case studies and examples presented in the book. Academics and researchers interested in organizational performance and management methodologies can also benefit from the extensive research and data-driven approach showcased in “Measure What Matters.”

Overall, “Measure What Matters” is recommended reading for anyone seeking to improve their goal-setting practices, drive performance, and achieve meaningful results. John Doerr’s expertise, combined with real-world success stories, makes this book an essential guide for individuals and organizations aspiring to set and achieve ambitious objectives while fostering a culture of accountability and innovation.