John Doerr’s “Measure what matters” is one of the most popular book about Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) out there. And the book does give a good overview on why this goal setting methodology has been so effective in Google and other companies. Still, knowing why OKRs work is not the same as knowing how they work. It is a long step from “okay, I’ll use OKRs” to “I know how to implement the methodology successfully.”
Implementing OKRs takes a lot of commitment and hard work from both you and your team. While it may look like an easy path to success, it definitely is not that. It is a hard method to master. You will likely fail on your first try. And it doesn’t help you if you give up quickly.
Feel inspired? Good. Now you are ready to try out OKRs.
What are OKRs?
“Step by Step Guide to OKRs” says that “Objectives should be qualitative and describe the desired outcome. For example: Understand customer needs.” And: “Key results measure how far from reaching your objective you are.”
Objectives need to be inspiring and show everyone where you’re company is heading.And Key Results measure the progress towards this destination. So, it is very important to get the Key Results right.
Setting SMART Key Results.
The easiest way to set Key Results is to follow the SMART model. SMART is a methodology that sets criteria to the tasks you set. The KRs must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. The questions you need to ask for each goal are:
- Specific: is the KR well-defined and understandable for everyone?
- Measurable: can you measure success or failure?
- Achievable: is it realistically possible to do?
- Relevant: is this KR important for your objective?
- Time-bound: have I clearly established when the goal must be met? For OKRs this time is usually one quarter.
To get the most out of OKRs in your company, you should consider using a online goal setting tool. Tools like Weekdone that focus on OKRs, make it easy to both implement the OKR methodology and to keep measuring results on a day to day basis. You are more likely to succeed using an OKR tool than using spreadsheets.
Measure what matters.
1 – 2 Weeks before starting your first quarter of using OKRs. the management team should decide if their company objectives are going to be annual, quarterly, or a mixture of both. Slow changing companies might opt for annual OKRs over quarterly. Especially if moving from a more traditional model of using mission and vision to define company goals. Fast changing companies would do better using just quarterly OKRs.
Companies that want to focus on high level long term goals, while also having the flexibility of fast changing quarterly goals, would opt for a mixture of both. Generally speaking, when both annual and quarterly OKRs are used, the annual objectives are defined first. Then each quarter new objectives are defined to support the annual objectives.
Get help from the professionals.
Weekdone offers a platform that lets you keep track of your team’s weekly tasks and quarterly OKRs online and in real-time. In Weekdone, you insert OKRs and your employees update them when they achieve progress. That helps you to always stay up to date with your company's current status and how everyone is doing.