How we’re doing Q2 OKRs at Sutro

Ravi Kurani
6 min readMar 23, 2021

Ah, the time for OKRs! It’s almost Q2 — April 1 2021. OKRs are tough, and we’re only 6 months in (so I wouldn’t say that I’m an expert), but I wanted to outline the process that we went through at Sutro.

Luckily we have a great board, management team, and employees that are willing to get their hands dirty. Which is the first step to running this process, because it is messy.

What are OKRs?

I assume if you’re reading this you know what OKRs are. I have a few resources below, but if you’re not using them at your organization (and you run a startup), you definitely should.

I’ll leave a few resource links I’ve found helpful at the bottom of this post, but in it’s simplest:

O — stands for Objective. This is where you want to go.

KR — stands for Key Result. This is how will you get there.

The OKR process is a bilateral process that allows board, management, and employees level-set, prioritize, align and measure the outcome of their work. OKRs help bridge between strategy and execution. It helps move from output to outcome based approach to work.

Dave Bailey has a great little ditty that’s built on George Doran’s SMART Objectives. I’ll leave it at this for my explanation, but there are a TON of resources on line. A simple Google search will keep you busy for the weekend.

OKRs build on George Doran’s S.M.A.R.T. objectives (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-frame). Repurposed from Dave Bailey’s post on OKRs.

Theres something missing, it should be called OKR[I]s

During Dave Bailey’s Clarity course, which I wrote a separate review on, he mentioned an interesting point about the missing piece of OKRs — the initiative. It’s the piece that connects (especially in a smaller startup), the roadmap item (the actual initiative) to the objective and the key result.

He has a great intro to OKRs and talks about the initiative in this blog post. I would definitely recommend any startup founder that is interested in implementing OKRs into their organization (or even just needs some inspiration), check out the post.

He has an amazing quote that you should keep in mind as a founder, always (rising above the OKRs).

From Dave Bailey:

“In a startup, there are only two things that matter: your customers and your team. Therefore, every OKR across the business — at the company level, functional level, and individual level — should serve either your customer or your team. Period.”

The TL;DR of the post is:

  • Craft OKRs as customer (and team) end-states NOT as tasks
  • Crafting end states are a bit difficult, so start with the initiative and work backward.

Sutro’s Q2 process for OKRs

OK, so now that we got that initial fodder out of the way, how are we doing it at Sutro? I’ve put a rough org chart below, so I can refer to people in name and focus area. BTW — this is not an exhaustive org chart.

The light-weight org chart

RevOps and Product are led by Max and Alex, respectively

Sutro is basically split into two major focus areas.

  • RevOps. Revenue operations is the front-lines for anything that needs to interact with customers. In RevOps we have sales, customer success, and digital advertising. This is run by Max.
  • Product. Product is anything to do with engineering and R&D. Under Alex (who manages mechanical engineering as well), there is firmware /backend, app / front-end / web-app, and chemistry (because we build a water chemistry monitor).

The schedule

Below is a little map on how and when we started working on our OKRs. I’ve also numbered each section to correspond with what date and who was participating in the forums.

Sutros Q2 2021 OKR Process
  • 1. Monday March 8. Product and RevOps team collected 1:1 feedback from their teams around initiatives and features they want to work on in Q2 and things they feel are problematic or buggy in the current system.
  • 2. Friday March 12. The strategic team (Alex, Ravi, Lea, and Max) met to collate all feedback. We used a Miro board to drop all the feedback in, cluster them to potential KRs and then up to Objectives (as Dave Bailey mentioned). Miro is actually great to run post-it white-boarding exercises.
  • 3. Wednesday March 17. We then took our ‘strawman’ (draft) to the management board who then brought in their own budgetary constraints and learnings from Q1 to make sure the ship was being steered in the right direction. We captured their feedback and took it to our March 19th strategic meeting.
  • 4. Friday March 19. During this meeting we took in the board’s feedback and further tuned and massaged the OKRs.
  • 5. Monday March 22. Max and Alex will review with their respective RevOps and Product teams. They will be responsible for building out a second layer of tactical OKRs. Which will live at the Product and RevOps level.
  • 6. Wednesday March 31. During our all-hands end of Q1 meeting, we will present the holistic Q2 OKRs from the management OKRs to the Product / RevOps OKRs. We’ll work with our PM Lea who will make sure that we have roadmap items, and trickle down the agile tickets into each respective team’s board.

Then go go go go go! Crush competition, make the best product on the market that solve customer issues, and have a ton of fun while you do it.

Monthly, we’ll review our OKRs and stop-light them as green, yellow, or red (based on the KRs).

It starts with the initiatives

As Dave mentioned in his blog post, we used the same process on March 12th, when we bundled all the feedback and initiatives from the team to turn them into KRs and then eventually into Objectives.

Building KRs and Objectives from Initiatives, as mentioned in Dave Bailey’s post

Resources for OKRs

Perdoo has AMAZING resources around OKRs, I totally stole this little graphic from this site (but heres the credit).

The birthing of OKRs from Peter Drucker to Perdoo

There are two things I’d recommend that you do if you want to get your hands dirty with OKRs.

1. Pick up a copy of Measure What Matters from John Doerr

This book is truly a god send, he has a ton of examples, really walks through how Peter Drucker and Andy Grove built out MBOs (the early OKRs).

Measure What Matters by John Doerr

2. If you’re lazy and just want a small primer, watch his TED talk

The TED talk really goes through the crux of OKRs.

John Doerr is truly the OG of OKRs, and if you’d like to get a bit more e-mail spam, sign up for his newsletter at

John Doerr, the Godfather of OKRs

What is Sutro?

Sutro is a robotics company that builds a floating monitor for your swimming pool or spa. You just toss the monitor in your water and your app tells you what chemicals you need to add and when.

The Sutro Smart Monitor for your pool (or spa)

This is day 10 of my #90DayOfProse challenge