The days between Christmas and New Years are great to reflect on everything that happened throughout the year. Christmas, for me, is a time to go back home to the Netherlands and catch up with family and friends. They all want to know how Perdoo has been doing in the past year, forcing me to summarize the highs and lows of 2017, which I’ll also share with you.

The highs

Let’s start with some of our highs:

We had a great start of 2017 after growing by 663% in 2016, for which we have been recognized as a Rising Star at Deloitte’s Technology Fast50.

In 2016, we had also decided to start working on an entirely new version of our software which we launched in 2017. Goal management for businesses was still a relatively young industry in 2015, so we decided to spend a lot of time with our customers to ensure we would be the fastest learners in the industry. This accumulated in the decision to build a new version that forces our customers to work with, what some call, “true OKRs.” This version was co-developed with our customers, and in Q2, we were able to migrate our first customers to the new platform. The launch wasn’t flawless (see lows), but overall Perdoo V2 has been very well-received by our customers.

Based on our learnings from 2015 and 2016, we also decided to further invest in our professional services. Many organizations chose Perdoo over any other vendor because of our unique combination of OKR technology and OKR coaching. The feedback from our customers has been phenomenal. For obvious reasons, this makes some of our investors fret about the scalability of our business, but we believe that the ability to make customers successful defines long-term growth. Everything else is a means to an end.

Here are our Perdoo Coaches Daniela and Raul at a laser tag team event in spring 2017:

To further support our customers and to help professionalize the OKR industry, we have started the Perdoo Partner Network in 2017. It quickly evolved into a global network of more than 60 handpicked consultants and consultancies and is now the largest network of OKR professionals. Together we shape the future of strategy execution and help organizations turn ambition into reality. If you’re interested in joining, sign up here for more info.

One of our longest-­standing partners, Nick Stanforth, invited Daniela and me to join him at the Oktoberfest in Munich: 

We were also honored that the German Accelerator, which is supported by the German Ministry of Economics, selected us for their mentoring program in the U.S. This is an elect program that helps German startups expand to the United States market.

The lows

Looking back at 2017, there have also been 2 major lows:

We had spent a significant amount of time developing the new version of our software. Despite the fact that the logic behind this new version was embraced by the market, we had some technical issues which led to a frustrating experience for some of our non-EU customers. When a customer would test the new software with a small number of users, it all worked fine, and they enthusiastically wanted to switch. However, when they added hundreds of users to their new Perdoo account, performance issues occurred. It took us several weeks to resolve all this, and even though performance today is great, it still hurts to think back to these few weeks.

We’ve also lost a few customers because they decided OKR is not working out for their organization. That is always painful. At Perdoo we are convinced that goals play a critical role within organizations. We’re not married to OKR, but we do believe that — at present — OKR is the best way to structure your business goals. This is why we released a video explaining why OKR is such a powerful way to structure goals. As it turned out, almost everyone agrees that it is indeed better to structure goals as OKRs with Initiatives, so OKR itself wasn’t the real issue. The issue was the rules within the OKR framework. Apparently, we failed to communicate that these rules are nothing else as best practices for enterprise goal management, and organizations are free to adjust these rules to their organization. Our investments in OKR coaching have hopefully resolved this problem.

Conclusion

All in all, 2017 has been a good year for Perdoo as it was another major step toward our Ultimate Objective to become the #1 OKR solution by helping organizations turn ambition into reality. With all the endorsements we have received but also the tough lessons we have learned in 2017, I’m very excited to continue the journey in 2018.