Objectives and Key Results (OKR) is an easy to use methodology for setting goals. Many companies use it in the start up sector as it is flexible and easily scalable. Companies like Google, Twitter, and Spotify are just a few of the success stories for the system.
With OKR you will set inspirational long term goals (Objectives) that are measured by specific Key Results (KR). It is a transparent system that stresses that every Objective should be made public, so all team can stay in the know. As a manager or leader, this means you can be sure every person in your company is on the same page about where the company is headed and how you’ll get there.
Before switching to OKR methodology, I used a yearly review process like many other companies around the globe. At the end of the year, I would often discover I had forgotten some of my goals. Or I had strayed too far from what we had originally planned in our day to day operations. This doesn’t happen with OKRs since I have to pay attention to them weekly.
5 ways to find peace of mind.
Having used OKR for 3 years now, I’ve discovered the key benefits it brings for me and my team. These are the things that both reduce my stress levels and increase our efficiency.
- OKRs keep your team focused – Using OKR, we always know what we need to focus on. We update KRs every week and our Objectives are always at the back of our minds. So, we hardly ever get sidetracked by ideas and tasks that just aren’t important for the company vision.
- You can more easily anticipate problems – If we don’t make progress on our Key Results, we see see it in numbers right away. We can usually say 6 weeks in advance if we will be able to accomplish our goal by the end of the quarter or not. After all, as quarter is a limited period of time. If you are not making progress in some KR, means it will be much harder to get it done.
- You always know what you need to do – When I go to work Monday, I know what KRs I need to improve, and I know where my focus needs to be. This means I don’t do spend my time on “fake work” with tasks that feel urgent but have no long-term benefits for us. I also don’t have to rethink our long-term plans every week. Once goals are set for the quarter, you can focus on the real work needed to accomplish them.
- Your employees will be more engaged in their work – OKRs help you understanding how your personal goals impact your team and how your team’s performance influences the overall company. Me and my team hardly ever feel that we are doing something trivial, which has boosted our motivation boost.
- You save time from compiling reports – As we use Weekdone for automated reporting, weekly and quarterly performance reviews hardly take any time. As employees update their KR progress, I can simply glance at the dashboard to see what is going well and where we are lagging behind. While I still try to give feedback and ask for more info if needed, I’ve freed up hours of time every week I otherwise would have spent on reporting.
If you want to get start setting OKRs in your own team, take heed of OKR coach Felipe Castro. He gave as few tips to help companies to get started using the “Set-Align-Create” cycle:
- Set OKRs that measure impact instead of tasks,
- Align them with other teams to solve interdependencies,
- Create a weekly follow-through cadence to Achieve them.
It’s easy to implement.
OKRs are easy to set once you get the hang of it. But it can be a little tricky to get started for first time users. Without experience, it’s difficult to decide what makes a good Objective. It will be hard to determine how much a person or a team can accomplish in a quarter. That is why we recommend the “Lean OKR” system for first time users.
With Lean OKRs you assign 1 Objective and 1 Key Result to each employee. This should be the most important goal that has to be achieved in a quarter. Each week, employees record their progress towards that goal with their Key Result.
You can use the Pareto principle to figure out the one Objective your team needs. The principle states that 80% of the effects come from 20% of work. So, for your objective you can set the one impactful goal that will truly move your team forward.
If you want to rest easy at night knowing your team is working hard on the right things, you can start testing out Weekdone and OKR. If you get stuck, we will help you.