Choosing the right book is a great way to dive into the world of objectives and key results (OKRs). Anyone from OKR rookies to seasoned OKR practitioners can gain valuable insights to inform the real-world application of OKRs.
But with the wealth of information and resources out there, narrowing down the best options can be a challenge.
In this article, we've created our top 25 list of OKR, strategy, and management books in the market. From some classics to new releases in strategy execution, these books are sure to take your OKR game to the next level, no matter where you’re starting from. We’ll explore the books by these topics:
- OKR foundations
- OKR implementations
- Agile methods and OKRs
- Strategy execution and transformation
1. Measure What Matters
Author: John Doerr
Quick summary: This book is the go-to introduction to OKRs that can be used by organizations of any size — it emphasizes using OKRs to set and track progress toward achieving one’s most important goals. The book provides practical guidance, real-life examples, and OKR success stories from various companies, including Google and Intel.
2. Radical Focus: Achieving Your Most Important Goals with Objectives and Key Results
Author: Christina Wodtke
Quick summary: This book offers practical advice on implementing OKRs effectively and efficiently, focusing on achieving long-term goals. It highlights the importance of setting a clear vision, identifying objectives, measuring progress, and adjusting plans as needed, while also providing practical tips for implementing OKRs effectively.
Read more if you want a head start on OKR foundations
3. The OKRs Field Book: A Step-by-Step Guide for Objectives and Key Results Coaches
Author: Ben Lamorte
Quick summary: This is a comprehensive coaching field guide to understand the importance of OKRs and how to use them to help clients set and achieve their goals. It covers everything from the basics of OKRs, to advanced techniques and real-world case studies.
4. Objectives and Key Results: Driving Focus, Alignment, and Engagement with OKRs
Author: Paul Niven and Ben Lamorte
Quick summary: This book offers an in-depth introduction to the OKR methodology and provides examples of how it can be used to drive focus and alignment in organizations. It explores the benefits of OKRs and gives guidance on how to develop and deploy OKRs at any organization.
5. Make Progress with OKRs
Author: Antonio Civita
Quick summary: This is a concise playbook for individuals and organizations looking to implement OKRs to improve their performance. It provides an overview of the OKR framework, offers practical advice on setting and achieving goals with OKRs, and provides examples from real-world companies.
Learn more about what it takes to implement OKRs
6. The Modern Management Mentor: Next-Level Tools for New Managers
Author: Christine Sandman-Stone
Quick summary: This book targets new managers to help develop their leadership skills and navigate common challenges. It covers building relationships, setting expectations, and managing conflict, while providing tools and exercises for readers to apply the concepts in their own work.
7. Popcorn for the New CEO
Author: Caroline Franczia
Quick summary: This is a business novel, telling the story of a new CEO who takes over a struggling popcorn company, then turns it around with new strategies and by building a strong team. It provides insights on leadership, communication, and problem-solving, and is presented in an engaging and accessible format.
8. The Intentional Organization
Authors: Sara Hicks and Mathias Meyer
Quick summary: This book will teach leaders how to build humane organizations that focus on their people, first and foremost. It gives direct insight into the authors’ experiences in building organizations with the "intentional" spirit, from highs and lows, to wins and failures.
9. Thinking in Systems
Author: Donella Meadows
Quick summary: This book shows readers how to develop critical systems-thinking skills relative to 21st-century life — teaching the use of conceptual tools and methods of systems thinking to foster outcome thinking, a learning mindset, and problem solving at a global level.
10. Getting Results the Agile Way
Author: J.D. Meier
Quick summary: This book gives a framework for achieving success in Agile projects, with a focus on personal productivity and leadership. It explains how to implement Agile principles in daily work, including techniques for setting goals, managing time, and improving communication.
11. Agile Estimating and Planning
Author: Mike Cohn
Quick summary: This book provides practical advice on how to plan and estimate software development projects using Agile methodologies. It covers key concepts of Agile development, such as user stories and velocity, provides practical advice on how to estimate project costs and timelines, and how to plan Agile projects effectively.
Agile methods and OKRs
12. Succeeding with OKRs in Agile: How to Create and Deploy Agile Objectives and Key Results
Author: Allan Kelly
Quick summary: This book offers guidance on how to integrate OKRs into Agile development processes, with a focus on aligning business and technical objectives. It shows how OKRs can help Agile teams align around common objectives, improve collaboration, and deliver value to customers faster
13. Lean-Agile Acceptance Test-Driven Development: Better Software Through Collaboration
Author: Ken Pugh
Quick summary: This book offers practical advice on how to implement Lean-Agile acceptance test-driven development (ATDD). It explores how ATDD improves collaboration, software quality, and reduces risk to achieve greater customer satisfaction.
14. Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
Author: Jeff Sutherland
Quick summary: This book introduces the Scrum framework for Agile development, with a focus on achieving productivity and innovation. It explains how Scrum can help organizations deliver value to customers faster, with higher quality and more creativity, and offers practical tips on how to implement Scrum effectively.
15. The “Hanban Blue Book” Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business
Author: David J. Anderson
Quick summary: This book provides the steps to implementing Kanban, a Lean methodology for managing workflow and improving business processes. It introduces Kanban as a way to visualize and manage work, reduce waste, and optimize workflows.
Read more if you’re curious about how OKRs work with Agile
16. When Coffee and Kale Compete: Become great at making products people will buy
Author: Alan Klement
Quick summary: This book helps entrepreneurs and product managers create products that resonate with customers by focusing on the job that the customer is trying to accomplish. It introduces the "Job to Be Done" (JTBD) framework and provides real-world examples to illustrate its application.
17. The Lean Product Playbook: How to Innovate with Minimum Viable Products and Rapid Customer Feedback
Author: Dan Olsen
Quick summary: This book offers a practical guide to developing successful products using Lean startup methodologies. It offers step-by-step instructions on how to validate customer needs, prioritize features, and iterate quickly.
Strategy execution and transformation
18. Good Strategy/Bad Strategy
Author: Richard Rumelt
Quick summary: This book provides an overview of strategic thinking, with a focus on identifying and executing effective business strategies. It emphasizes the importance of creating a coherent and focused strategy, based on clear understanding of the organization's strengths and weaknesses, as well as the external environment
19. The 4 Disciplines of Execution
Quick summary: This book provides a framework for achieving business results by focusing on a few key priorities. The book presents four disciplines — focus on the wildly important, act on lead measures, keep a compelling scoreboard, and create a cadence of accountability.
20. Digital Transformation Playbook
Author: David Rogers
Quick summary: This book offers a practical guide to digital transformation, with a focus on developing digital strategies that can drive business growth and success. It includes how to assess the current state of the organization, identify opportunities for growth, and create a roadmap for digital success.
21. The Goal
Author: Eliyahu M. Goldratt
Quick summary: This is a novel that introduces the Theory of Constraints, a methodology for identifying and eliminating constraints in business processes to improve efficiency, profitability, and productivity. It tells a story about a manufacturing plant manager who learns about the Theory of Constraints, which helps him to identify and eliminate bottlenecks.
22. First Things First
Author: Stephen R. Covey
Quick summary: This book provides practical advice on how to prioritize tasks and manage time effectively, with a focus on achieving personal and professional goals. It gives a holistic approach to time management, emphasizing the importance of clarifying values, setting goals, and prioritizing tasks based on importance and urgency.
23. The Fifth Discipline
Author: Peter M. Senge
Quick summary: This book introduces the concept of a learning organization, with a focus on developing systems thinking and continuous learning to drive organizational success. It emphasizes the importance of an organization that can adapt and thrive in a constantly changing environment, with a focus on cultivating personal mastery and team learning.
24. Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done
Authors: Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan
Quick summary: This book offers practical advice on how to execute business strategies effectively. It provides a roadmap for achieving business objectives through effective leadership, clear communication, and a culture of accountability, with a focus on aligning strategy, people, and processes.
25. Playing to Win
Author: Roger L. Martin
Quick summary: This book gives a practical and actionable framework for creating and implementing a winning strategy for your business. It emphasizes that strategy involves making simple choices (five, to be exact) and highlights critical questions needed to develop a viable, results-focused, and sustainable strategy.
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