Succeeding with OKRs in Agile

Succeeding with OKRs in Agile

Publication February 2021

OKRs are about goals bigger than the next story, or even epic. OKRs prioritise purpose and strategy over backlogs. Objectives are big goals; key results are smaller goals that build towards the objective.

OKRs and agile work well together because they are both outcome oriented and results focused. Used right OKRs give purpose, power and authority to teams. Used poorly OKRs can re-introduce command-and-control and hinder agile working.

Allan Kelly has written this short guide to OKRs: writing, organizing to deliver and the pitfalls of using. He doesn’t try to sell OKRs, rather Allan draws on his practical experience with teams working agile and adopting OKRs, day-by-day, quarter-by-quarter.

Initially sceptical, Allan found OKRs became an effective way to focus teams, expose problems, communicate with senior managers and a powerful means of asking bigger questions about product strategy and value.

The Art of Product Ownership

The Art of Agile Product Ownership

Every product owner faces a complex and unique set of challenges within their team. This provides each individual the opportunity to fill the role with different ambitions, skills, and insights. Your product ownership journey can take a variety of paths, and The Art of Agile Product Ownership is here to be your guide.

Read a review on Amazon.

Project Myopia

Project Myopia book cover

Projects fail. Some say 40% of all IT projects fail, some say 70%. And it has been that way for years.

Each project fails for its own reasons but they all share one thing in common: the Project Model. Could it be the project model itself which creates failure?

Project Myopia presents the case against projects, aka #NoProjects. This is a companion book to Continuous Digital.

Buy printed or electronic version on Amazon today – and audio version on Audible.

Continuous Digital

Taking Agile to the next level – An agile alternative to projects

In the digital world, the business is technology, and technology is the business. Every business is a digital business

Continuous Digital is a new management model for digital business. Agile software development was the first wave of process change for digital business. Now it is time to update management models and thinking.

This book describes the Continuous Model, a world in which technology development drives the business and the business drives technology.

Available on Amazon – print and electronic – and LeanPub (DRM free).

Save month: buy both Project Myopia and Continuous Digital as a bundle on LeadPub today.

Little Book of User Stories

Heuristics for requirements in an agile world

Buy on Amazon today

This book was written because, while User Stories look easy, I found I was answering the same questions again and again. Questions like:

“How do I make my user stories smaller?”

“What is the right size for a user story?”

“What is the difference between an Epic and a Story? And where do Tasks and Sub-tasks fit in?”

“Who writes user stories?”

Little Book of User Stories on an Amazon near you now.

Listen to Little Book – audio version on Audible.



Team Centric agile Software Development

Xanpan the book - an XP Kanban hybrid

A Kanban/Extreme Programming (XP) hybrid
Xanpan is…

A cross between XP and Kanban…

Is an example of a roll-your-own method…

Is team centric Agile…

Is distilled from Allan Kelly’s own experiences running development teams and then helping multiple teams adopt Agile working methods and practices. Xanpan draws ideas from Kanban and Lean, XP and Scrum, Product Management and Business…

Reviews and comments on Xanpan:

Save $15 and get Xanpan eBook for free when you subscribe to newsletter for this site.

Business Patterns for Software Developers

Business Patterns for Software Developers

You know all about your software product but could do with some help in understanding the strategic side of things. If so, this book is the one–stop resource you′ll need in order to become a successful software entrepreneur. A step–by–step route that needs to be followed in order to understand business strategy and operations.
Reviews for Business Patterns

Published by John Wiley & Sons, 2012

Changing Software Development

Learning to be Agile

Changing Software Development

Changing Software Development Learning to be Agile is a study in changing the software development process. At a practical level it sets out to help the reader change the way software is created.Changing Software Development considers learning to be the vital tool in the change process. In doing so it blends the fields of management and software development.

The book argues that software development as primarily a learning activity and software developers are at the cutting edge of the twenty-first century knowledge economy.

From Amazon UK

Published by John Wiley & Sons, 2008

Japanese translation – Changing Software Development in Japanese

Books with chapters by Allan Kelly

Practioner’s Handbook of Project Performance

Edited by Mark Philips, 2019

This book is the result of the hard work and dedication of more than 35 authors from more than 15 countries across four continents. It brings a diversity of experience, professional and personal. It includes practitioners, leading academics, renowned theorists and many who straddle those roles. The chapters cover experiences in software, large-scale infrastructure projects, finance and health care, to name a few. The chapters themselves take many forms. Check out the Table of Contents to get a deeper sense of the topics included. All provide real-world guidance on delivering high-performing projects and show you how to build, lead and manage high-performing teams.

Business Analysis & Leadership

Business Analysis and leadership

The book takes a framework for leadership, starting off with a focus on the self, then leading within your project, then moving out to leading across your organization and, finally, leading in the wider world.

Allan Kelly contributed a chapter on Knowledge Sharing and Analysis with Patterns.

97 Things Every Programmer Should Know

97 Things Every Programmer Should Know

97 Things contains sage advice from over 30 experienced software developers. Two of the contributions are from Allan Kelly:

  • Two Wrongs Make A Right (and are difficult to fix)
  • Check Your Code First Before Looking to Blame Others

Published by O’Reilly, 2010
Edited by Kevlin Henney (2010)

Pattern Languages of Program Design


Volume 5, 2006 – Edited by Dragos Manolescu, Markus Voelter, and James Noble
19 patterns and pattern collections relating to the development of software systems. Including Encapsulated Context pattern by Allan Kelly.
Available from Amazon

Published by Addison-Wesley, 2006

EuroPLoP 2009 Proceedings

EuroPLoP 2009

Editors Allan Kelly and Michael Weiss

Chair of the 2009 conference and co-editor of the conference proceedings

Buy EuroPLoP 2009 at Lulu

Available as a free PDF download or paid for printed version from

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