In my 15+ years in tech, it seems that every time a new leader was introduced, the leader would “shake things up” and promote growth by introducing a new business or goal setting framework. Invariably, these frameworks were gleaned from a bestselling book. Many of these frameworks did not stand the test of time. Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) were a welcome exception to forgotten frameworks. For a bit of context, OKRs are measurable, time-bound goals. They are aspirational. If you complete 100% of your target in a quarter, you are aiming too low. See John Doerr’s excellent book Measure What Matters to lean more about goal-setting through OKRs.
This year (2020), the spread of the Coronavirus “shook things up” in my own world. The whole family was now at home every weekday, which is both pleasant and challenging. Routines have been disrupted. Without childcare, my family went from two incomes to one. Thankfully this was something we had prepared for. At work, layoffs at work became more frequent. Experienced folks who helped build our products were let go. My earning potential was further reduced. During my career, I had seen some difficult times (like the great recession), but not anything like this. For the first time, work was no longer near the top of my list of passions. There were bigger challenges to face elsewhere in life. Meanwhile, my wife was struggling too (in part from giving up her job to focus on childcare). Looking forward, something has to change.
About two weeks from this post, things will change. I will end my 9 year journey from startup employee, to a team lead grinding towards acquisition, to sticking around to become a product team manager providing strategy to large enterprise-sized teams. I am excited and scared that I will instead focus on parenting a two year old.
I have never been out of work for more than a week-long vacation. I have never been the primary provider for a small child. I’m going to need to leverage the best goal setting framework I know of to get through this intact. I will heavily rely on my background as an builder and as a creative thinker. This site will be dedicated to the products I will build and the projects I will complete to make this journey a success. I hope that some of these ideas will be helpful other to other handy parents. For this new endeavor, here are my goals:
Objective 1: Promote equality. Lead by example, not some far-off aspiration.
- KR 1: Immediately give notice and work to ensure that the impacted teams are in the best possible state for quarterly planning.
- KR 2: Ensure that my wife can begin her new job 100% free of distractions. Help her set up a productive workspace.
- KR 3: Develop a framework to promote my daughter’s development with a focus on unstructured learning and exploring.
Objective 2: Be a “stay at home” parent outside of the house.
- KR 1: Create a clean, comfortable, durable, and portable potty training solution by mid-September. Nothing on the market completely meets our needs.
- KR 2: Make improvements so that at least one of my small boats is safe for unassisted boating/launching (with a toddler in tow) by mid September (following the 120 degree rule).
- KR 3: Design or acquire a solution for hiking with daughter for up to 5 miles over rough terrain.
- KR 4: Solve the problem of providing warm meals and cold milk in the field.
Objective 3: Introduce my daughter to new experiences.
- KR 1: Take my daughter on field trips at least 4 days per week.
- KR 2: Teach my daughter basic swimming skills by end of Fall.
- KR 3: Prepare and complete an arts and crafts project twice each week.
- KR 4: Animate a cartoon with the help of my daughter by end of 2020.
- KR 5: Limit entertainment-focused screen time to less than 2 hours per day. (both of us)
Objective 4: Harden my skills so that I’ll be more effective when re-entering the workforce.
- KR 1: Complete basic machine-learning coursework by end of 2020.
- KR 2: Update my (early 2000’s) technical skills by building a modern website to document our journey.
- KR 3: Stay current on AdTech industry news. Demonstrate a clear understanding of recent developments.
My Daughter’s Objectives: