When OKRs became mainstream 10 years ago, life seemed easy. People put anything in Key Results. They thought, "that's fine". What we've learned over the decade is: the success of OKRs depends a lot on what you put in them, especially in Key Results. Even more important is what you don't put in your OKRs.
One of the most common OKR mistakes is putting tasks, projects and milestones in your Key Results. These are outputs. What you want is outcomes. Correct KRs describe what a good outcome looks like. We have a separate blog post on Outputs vs Outcomes here.
In our everyday work though, we all have outputs. These are the things we do day in and out. We accomplish tasks. We do activities. We run projects and these have stages or milestones. We count how far we are with something. All of that must contribute to the well-being and success of your OKRs.
For years Weekdone has been the best OKR tool to connect your outputs – your weekly Plans and Progress – to your OKRs. Even our name is a testament to that. Weekdone gets real work done.
While keeping tasks and issues in your weekly plans and progress – and never in your KRs! – works great, there has always been a question: "Where should I keep my projects and other work taking longer than a week?"
With that in mind, let us introduce Initiatives. An Initiative is any block of work or output that takes a few weeks or a whole quarter to get done. Think projects, research reports, or anything else you need to accomplish. An Initiative drives your Objective forward to achieve a positive outcome for your Key Results.
Initiatives in Weekdone live under Objectives, in their own tab, next to Key Results. They even work very similarly to KRs, with their visual progress bar showing how far you are with the Initiative. Whenever you move their progress forward, don't forget to add a Comment on what got done, what were the insights and lessons learned.
Just like KRs, the Initiatives start out on a scale of 0-100% done. As percentages are never easy to measure though, it's better to use custom types, be it monetary units, counts of anything or use your own text unit for them. You also don't have to stick to 0-100, instead, you could have an Initiative to move something from a level of 5 thousand to 25 thousand. Just change the Start and Target values in the Initiative adding or editing modal window.
Unlike Key Results, Initiatives do not contribute to Objective fulfilment percentage though.
By using Initiatives, your Key Results will be much cleaner and focused on outcomes, not outputs. Go, try them out!
As time goes on, we will tell you more about good Initiatives versus Key results. That said, our professional customer success team is always happy to discuss and train you on writing your OKRs and Iniatives. It's free for our customers. Reach out and we'll get you going.
Stay tuned for more improvements as we help you make your OKRs even better. For example, the just released KPIs support in Weekdone.