Setting Goals for Agile Teams with OKRs

When assembling a team in Weekdone, the main questions we ask are “What are the objectives this team needs to accomplish?” and more more importantly “Will the people be able to change directions when our priorities change and they need to focus on something else?”. We are not talking about sales people needing to write code or the marketing team becoming an HR team.

In a high-performing team, you need specialists with a wide range of skills in their chosen field. Teams made up of cross-functional groups of people that are able to perform most tasks by themselves are called agile teams.

Climb every mountain image

Having an high-performing agile team is every manager’s and leader’s dream.  Motivated and engaged employees in an agile team are able to go further, get more done, and reach the company’s goals faster. But, handling agile teams can be a challenge for leaders as well. You must have the right company culture, the right employees, and you must be able to train them to work together. This requires a way to easily track and measure your team’s performance. To make sure your employees work on impactful, motivating, and ambitious goals.

Goal setting in agile teams.

No team can do what you want unless you tell them clearly what you want. According to leadership coach Felipe Castro, the best methodology for setting goals in your agile teams is the Objectives and Key Results methodology.

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.

In his webinar “OKR for Agile Teams”, Felpipe Castro says that the biggest mistakes agile companies make when setting OKRs are:

  • Bad OKRs – Using OKRs as a to-do list or a redundant copy of the roadmap.
  • OKRs in silos – Teams not aligning goals and ending up with conflicting OKRs.
  • Setting OKRs like a New Year’s resolution – Setting goals but not reviewing or tracking them.

The solution for this is to use the Set-Align-Achieve cycle. He told us that “if you are getting started with OKR, make sure you follow the three steps:

  1. Set OKRs that measure impact instead of tasks;
  2. Align them with other teams to solve interdependencies;
  3. Create a weekly follow-through cadence to Achieve them.

Shifting directions, when needed.

If your current goals do not work as well as you like, you need to change them and set new goals that follow the Set-Align-Achieve cycle better.

Working in marketing, I was hired to produce content. 9 months later, we discovered that while I accomplish my tasks well, they don’t have the result we expected. At this point we were measuring tasks instead of impact. Luckily, we understood it fast enough and had a longer discussion on what sort of tasks would be more impactful. So I refocused on doing more SEO and paid advertising. I was still working in marketing but I was doing completely different things. This is possible, because in an agile team, everyone has some basic understanding of different aspects of their field. While originally a content writer, I know how other fields of marketing operate.

Understanding your team’s impact.

Weekdone TV Dashboard for Company Progress

To always be sure that your employees are on the right path, you need to always know what is going on in your company. Monitoring your teams and making sure they are working on the most impactful tasks and projects is no easy task. The weekly follow-through and weekly review of OKRs requires a platform that makes it as easy as possible. Otherwise you will spend most of your time reviewing work.

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. If some teams are lagging behind or their tasks have no impact on the company’s long-term plans, you’ll be able to see problems and roadblocks ahead of time. That way you can act fast and be an agile leader yourself.

If you want to measure the impact your agile teams have and be sure they are on the right track, try Weekdone with your team for free.