Anyone out there a Shark Tank fan like me? My husband and I love it. We watch it with our kids and love seeing the creative ideas, start-up spirit and (sorry to say, my guilty pleasure is) seeing the entrepreneurs squirm under pressure. One of my favorite parts of the show is the pitch. If you haven’t seen it, basically the entrepreneurs walk into the “shark tank” and have a minute or two to pitch their idea. Most of them follow the same format – likely established by the show’s producers. It follows a pretty predictable, tried and true technique of an elevator speech. They set up the problem, focus on their target customer, explain what makes their product unique and sell hard to get the “sharks” to invest in them.
Now let’s take it one step further. Ever heard of the term OKR? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many of us had to Google it the first time we heard it, too. The formulation of OKRs or (Objectives and Key Results) is a popular process formed by the “Father of OKRs,” Andy Grove, in the 1960s. The goal of OKRs is to connect company, team and individual objectives in a measurable way, focused on results and a unified direction. In product, this process can be especially important because so often you’re chasing features or enhancements that your users or stakeholders are saying they want, that it is easy to let yourself get derailed on the original objective of the product. When you have a clear guiding north star of your objectives and the key results you intend to deliver to, it creates guardrails to ensuring your product doesn’t become too complex and keeps your users’ problems, goals and outcomes at the forefront of your decision making.
So, recently I challenged our product owners to sit down and by product answer these questions:
- What problem is your product solving?
- Who is your target user?
- What is your product’s objective(s)?
- If you were on “Shark Tank” – what would be your 30-60 second pitch?
- What metrics are you going to use to measure success/failure?
The result of their work is pretty awesome. As we mature in our building of products that agents love, our team is leveraging this process to ensure that everyone is aware of the “why” behind our products.