Objectives and key results (OKRs) are an effective goal-setting and performance management system used by many organizations. OKRs help teams and companies set ambitious goals, measure progress, and provide feedback. Following best practices when implementing OKRs can help ensure that they are successful and that they deliver the desired results.
Understanding the Basics of OKRs
OKRs should be ambitious, measurable, and agile, and should align with the company’s overarching mission and goals. An ideal OKR cycle is a quarter (3 months), and should include key results to assess progress and identify improvement areas. Quarterly OKRs should be actionable and include initiatives and weekly plans to drive progress. Regular check-ins and OKR software can help monitor progress and stay on track.
OKRs should be set in a “nested cadences” model, with the company’s mission goal or vision as the biggest doll. Quarterly OKRs allow for agility and flexibility that annual goals alone cannot provide, as well as encouraging teams to take innovative and game-changing risks. Annual goals should serve as a broad framework or guidance for the year and should inspire quarterly OKRs.
Identifying the Key Objectives and Results
OKRs should be significant, concrete, and clearly defined, and should also be inspirational for the individual, team, or organization that is working towards them. Key results should be measurable, either on a 0-100% scale or with any numerical value (e.g. count, dollar amount, or percentage). Doerr recommends that an organizations target success rate for key results be 70%.
Setting Clear Goals and Objectives
OKRs are typically set at the company, team, and organization levels, but not for individual contributors. OKRs overlap with other strategic planning frameworks like Objectives, goals, strategies and measures (OGSM) and Hoshin Kanris X-Matrix. Using an iterative approach instead of implementing OKRs all at once can help achieve optimal results. Using best practices gives a clear structure and direction to take during implementation.
Aligning Objectives with Strategy and Tactics
It is important to align team OKRs with company objectives to ensure everyone is working towards the same goals. Referring to OKR examples created by experts is the best way to ensure OKRs are written correctly. Aligning weekly plans with team OKRs helps improve employee engagement and lets employees see OKRs in action.
Measuring Progress and Results
Regular assessments such as weekly check-ins and monthly team reviews are important to ensure the OKR implementation is successful. Quarterly company-wide reviews are important to observe progress, provide and get feedback, discuss challenges, and share lessons learned. Using an OKR software program can automate tasks of setting, tracking, and measuring OKRs.
Leveraging Technology to Track Progress
Developing a goal-setting mindset across a company is important for successful OKR implementation. Automating tasks such as setting, tracking, alignment, and integration can help maintain focus on creating relevant objectives and goals. Planning next quarters OKRs 2 to 4 weeks before it starts is a great way to stay ahead and ensure successful implementation. Use dedicated OKR software to streamline and speed up the OKR setting and measurement process. We’ve prepared a useful guide for mid-market and enterprise size business OKR software here. Small businesses will find this resource more applicable to their OKR needs.
Adopting Best Practices
Adopting OKR best practices can help get the best results, such as keeping the number of OKRs manageable, making sure they are measurable and transparent, assigning specific responsibilities to each key result, defining action steps for specific team members, adopting a scoring system, charting progress visually, sharing progress with the team on a weekly basis, evaluating progress on a quarterly basis, setting realistic timelines, ensuring OKRs are aligned with the overall company goals, tracking progress and measuring results regularly, providing feedback and support, encouraging collaboration and communication, utilizing tools and resources, and celebrating successes and recognizing achievements.
OKR best practices can be used to ensure that the implementation of OKRs is successful and that they deliver the desired results. Best practices include setting ambitious goals, aligning objectives with strategy and tactics, measuring progress and results, leveraging technology to track progress, and adopting best practices. Implementing OKRs is an effective way to ensure that everyone in the organization is working towards the same objectives and that they are achieving their goals.