On Defining Customer Value by Working Backwards


Richard Russell headshot
Richard Russell

OKR and Leadership coach

Episode notes

Do you always keep in mind what the customer needs when developing a product, or do you just develop what you like? Working backwards strategy means providing value by building things that matter to customers. 

In this episode, Jenny speaks with Richard Russell, an independent OKR and Leadership coach who held leadership positions at Amazon, Google, and Deutsche Bank. While working at Amazon, he learned the “working backwards framework” and uses it now in helping companies achieve results using the OKR methodology

Listen in to learn how to build products that matter to customers through the working backwards strategy and avoid getting stuck on internal agendas. You will also learn the importance of listening to people and representing objections when presenting your ideas. 

“If you’re in a big company and you want to take advantage of that massive resource and your market penetration, you have to bring all these people along with you and you have to be willing to go along with them.” — Richard [18:58]

Show notes

  • [3:00] Richard on his background and his interest in OKRs and leadership coaching. 
  • [5:29] Working backwards – writing down your idea in a way that explains both the problem and the solution in the way the customer understands.
  • [9:36] How to work backwards from the outcome with your OKRs to measure and provide value. 
  • [16:08] How to work with your organization to recognize the value in your objectives and ideas. 
  • [21:26] Having the capability to listen to people and understand different perspectives.
  • [28:32] Richard answers more quick-fire questions.

Relevant links

About our guest:

Richard Russell headshot
Richard Russell

OKR and Leadership coach

Richard Russell started his dream job at Google where he was introduced to their goal-setting system, OKRs. Now, he helps leaders, especially in growth companies, scale better and execute faster with OKRs.

Additional resources