How Aavia tackles ambitious OKRs so that you can befriend your hormones

The tea on the 6-week goal-setting ritual that keeps us fiercely focused.
Welcome to the doc that will help you understand Aavia, where we are today, and our approach to the future.

Aavia is a small startup team with a HUGE vision—which means a ton of possible products and directions. And with such a small team, you can either do a few things REALLY well or you can do many things not so well. In other words, you can either be a vital company for a group of select people or nothing for anyone.

Our mission is to advocate for individuals to have a stronger relationship with their hormones. We envision a world where people use the power of their hormonal cycle to optimize potential in all aspects of life. Our
Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) help us achieve both by helping us focus and fiercely prioritize (without being distracted by shiny objects).
They also help us experiment and move forward!

In this doc, we give you a peek into how we run OKRs and provide you with a template to run our process with your own team.

How Aavia runs OKRs.

At Aavia, OKRs are our ambitions—and they’re meant to surface the most important work that we do. Specifically,
Objectives
define
what
we seek to achieve. Great objectives are significant, concrete, action-oriented, and inspirational.
Key Results
are
how
those top-priority goals will be attained with specific & time bound, aggressive yet realistic, and measurable & verifiable actions. Yes or no. We cap our Key Results at 6.

Here’s an example:
Company Objective:
Deliver a simple health app experience that our members love
1 of the 26-week Key Results proposed by product team: increase day one onboarding from 96% to 99%
1 of the 6-week Key Results proposed by the product and experience team: improve day-one onboarding from 96% to 97% (Outcome)
A few of the 6-week initiatives: (Output)
Identify all steps in onboarding
Get feedback from 5 customers who did not onboard successfully
Update onboarding flow
Ship updated onboarding flow

It’s important to note that OKRs do NOT encompass 100% of our activities. OKRs are our big bets for the next six months and what we’re committed to learning and improving. We purposely don’t include HR activities, fundraising prep, etc. And because everything is so fiercely prioritized, no one spends an entire semi-quarter focused solely on the KR.

Each quarter, we consider the questions we want to answer and key insights we want to gain. (e.g. The avg. person needs to receive ___ emails to convert; When members take ___ action(s), they retain ___%.) Then we focus on testing and moving forward based on those insights, providing us with qualitative and quantitative data to support our decision-making processes. Through the entire process, we encourage moments of reflection to consider the prioritized work:
Is this actually helping me achieve Product Market Fit?

From one of my Aavia teammates:
I really like planning six-week KRs because this time frame helps us segment our work into smaller increments and goals that are easier to attain. Pivoting is also easier when you’re only experimenting for six weeks. Plus, the process is a lot more fun!

When things are said and done, we love celebrating with champagne (even if that means I have to get bottles delivered to homes or remote vacay locations).

Reduce distractions with consistency.

I come from a consulting background (and took the GMAT), so I unfortunately suffer from a disease that causes me to cringe when slide headers are misaligned, bullet points are missing punctuation, or someone uses the phrase “amount of people.” While correcting these mishaps in real-time isn’t productive, I do believe laying OKR ground-rules around consistency is a great way to bring everyone up to speed and give the team something substantial to refer back to.

For example,
when you don’t need to worry about 6-week vs 6 week or purple highlighting vs blue, you empower others to focus on the actual content. And a 50 percent increase vs 50 pp increase is vastly different; you have to make sure the person reading knows which one you mean!

Plan your OKRs with Aavia’s template.

Shishir Mehrotra’s initial document on macro and micro goal-planning for when he scaled YouTube was my inspiration for Aavia’s OKR planning (see his latest version
). Since our team is much leaner, I adapted it so that it wasn’t total overkill but it did provide excellent structure. Check out the Aavia template and share with me how you adapt it!

:
dates for 6-week and 6-month OKR schedules
: schedule and instructions for each week, 6-week, and 6-month period including regular meetings and deadlines
: short reference of how to stay consistent through all communication, especially to external stakeholders
: quick templates to use in meetings to reduce group think, answer relevant questions, etc.
: the big “whats” for the next 6 months
: the “hows” for the next 6 weeks
:
updates on our progress towards our OKRs
that are submitted each week by our teammates
: self explanatory :)
: lists to use in drop downs throughout the document

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