If you are just starting out with OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) some problems and mistakes are likely to happen. OKRs require you to make a cultural change, and change itself is difficult. You can expect to get the hang of OKRs only after about 2-3 quarters. But for now, knowing what not to do can help you on your OKR adventure journey. Here are five common mistakes people make while starting out.
1. Your Objectives are too challenging or not challenging enough.
You may think that your team completing 100% of their goals is great! However, you may be setting goals that are too easy. Objectives should be ambitious, but not too difficult. You should expect to achieve about 70-80% of an Objective in a given quarter. Anymore or any less and you may want to reevaluate your OKRs.
2. Setting and forgetting your OKRs
You and your teams should update the progress of your key results regularly. OKRs should be discussed every week. Create a weekly ritual around OKRs to review them with your team. Otherwise, at the end of the quarter, you may find that you are way off track!
3. You have too many Objectives or Key Results
Too many objectives or key results can take away the focus on what your priorities are. Teams should have maximum of 3 Objectives per quarter with up to 3-5 key results per objective. That way, the amount of work will be much more manageable and far less confusing.
4. Your Key Results are not measurable
Key results should be numeric. They are what makes your Objective measurable. It's important to remember Objectives are your big, ambitious goals, Key Results measure the achievement of an objective, and Weekly Plans are the daily tasks and initiatives you do to reach your goals.
5. Not keeping the big picture in mind
This problem comes when personal objectives are not written to support team and company goals and vice versa. Management should be communicating with team leads the role they play in the bigger picture, and employees should understand how their activities help achieve team goals as well. Make sure to have a meeting when OKRs are created so you can move everyone in a unified direction.
OKRs take some time to implement and you can expect a few bumps along the road. That being said, using an online tool like Weekdone can make starting the process all the more easier. Training yourself in the proper methodology to set OKRs will increase your chance of being successful with them.
Still, if you need help with your OKR methodology, there are tons of examples at OKRexamples.co to help you on your journey of writing your own.