Why HOSKR improves the OKR framework for digital product development

Nick Lebesis
3 min readAug 20, 2020

Many of us are familiar with the power of a good framework. There are a whole variety of valuable strategies for bridging the gap between high-level, holistic objectives and measurable, indisputable achievements. Not only do they help provide clarity, they can also accelerate thinking, and inform the outcomes we track.

Since the 1970s, a premier go-to model has been the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) framework. It is great for individuals, teams, and organizations working toward clear goals.

Photo of Andy Grove

The development of OKRs is generally attributed to Andy Grove (photo above).

However, when it comes to the digital product development process, it does have its shortfalls, such as the lack of connection between objectives and key results or its ability to measure whether teams are capable of hitting results or whether the objectives set are actually of importance.

HOSKR is a new improvement to the OKR framework recently popularized by Rapha Cohen, the CPO at Google Waze. This framework adds critical elements that help connect objectives with key results. Through HOSKR, you’ll begin to ground objectives within a realistic worldview. You’ll identify your ability to reach your desired results, as well as why they matter.

HOSKR stands for hypothesis, objectives, signal, and key results.

Let’s take a quick look at the stages and how they help you set realistic goals.

It starts with a worldview…

HOSKR starts by developing a qualitative and up-to-date worldview. This is crucial in setting the right goals for your products. In product development, teams are often tempted to bend their worldview to match the products they are trying to create. Once you clarify your worldview, you can begin to frame an informed hypothesis for how your product or feature will function in the world.

Person holding a globe in their hands

Hypothesis

Once you’ve clarified your worldview, you can set a hypothesis on the relationship between your product and the value to the user and your business. You developed an understanding for how your product will function in the universe where it exists by forming your worldview. So, now you can express how you believe your product will influence and shape the world — ultimately, user behavior and other KPIs in the form of a hypothesis.

Objectives

Once you have a broad understanding of the hypothetical universe you plan on creating, you can set your qualitative objective. This takes the same form as it would in OKRs, but now it is informed by your worldview and hypothesis.

Signal

Product development requires having a clear concept of what motivates people in two distinct universes: one in which your hypothesis is validated, and one where it is not. The signal phase asks you to imagine these two realities in detail. How do they differ? In a world where your feature exists and is well received, how will user behavior evolve? Critically think about these signals upfront.

Key results

Now, similar to the ORK framework, key results need to be quantifiable and measurable by a specific metric. Most times, your key results are going to be a specific metric and a value to reach. Within the HOSRK framework, your key results are now stacked on top of a firm understanding of the world and how you aim to shape it.

Beyond tracking meaningful outcomes, this framework extends your understanding of the reality you’re shaping. Using the HOSKR framework for your product development process leads to a more complete definition of success than taking a standard approach.

At Product Ventures, we help partnering teams build useful, high quality digital products.

Connect with us to discuss your digital product needs.

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Nick Lebesis

Founder @ Product Ventures | We help partnering teams build useful, high quality digital products www.Product.Ventures