I was extremely fortunate to have started my career at HP as an engineer during their heyday, when they were known as the industry's most successful and enduring example of consistent innovation and execution.
As part of HP's internal engineering management training program called The HP Way, I was introduced to a business objective–based system known as MBO—management by objectives.
Dave Packard claimed: “No [tool] has contributed more to Hewlett‐Packard's success. [MBO] is the antithesis of management by control.”
The MBO system was refined and improved at several companies over the years, most notably by the legendary Andy Grove at Intel. Today, the primary business objective management system we use is known as the OKR system—objectives and key results.
John Doerr brought the technique from Intel to a very young Google, and a couple decades after Dave Packard attributed much of HP's success to MBO, Larry Page said essentially the same thing about the importance of the OKR process on Google's success.
The concept is straightforward and based on two fundamental principles: