“By clearing the line of sight to everyone’s objectives, OKRs expose redundant efforts and save time and money.” John Doerr
Setting goals and achieving them at different levels by and within an organization is critical to increasing and driving performance and achieving the defined vision. Organizations prefer to set the goals at organizational, departmental, or individual levels to plan what they want to achieve.
Many organizations use the top-down approach (or framework) to define the goals at the top level and align the staff goals according to the top-level defined goals. Even though the above are the known practices in setting up goals, the approach has its challenges. One of the biggest hurdles is that sometimes organizations get stuck in just figuring out what the goals would be rather than working on ways of achieving those defined goals.
To overcome these challenges, organizations required a framework (or methodology) that had to be very simple. The method provides support in defining and achieving the defined objectives by developing specific actions and measures. The framework should have the capability and guidelines to monitor and communicate the progress toward the defined objectives.
OKR (Objectives & Key Results) is the framework designed to eliminate the above challenges and help organizations set up their goals and objectives and provide guidelines to track the outcome. In simple words, OKR can be defined as a goal-setting methodology based on guidelines that support organizations in implementing the relevant strategy.
It was designed and implemented in 1970, and due to its positive outcomes, now it is widely adopted. Many of the big companies like LinkedIn, Twitter, Google (etc.) are using this framework.
Objectives are used to define where we want to go and what we want to achieve? In reality, OKR stands for objectives and supports goals. These stretch goals and objectives are usually small and should be flexible, measurable, and transparent.
OKR is a conducive framework for an organization and enables the organizations to achieve things quickly (like in months) that were planned to be completed in years. From a general perspective, OKR supports the organization to stay on track in a fast pace, ever-changing market, and industry conditions without compromising creativity and innovation.
OKR – Principles. Setting Objectives, Key Results, and Defining OKRs
The key principles of the OKR framework are mentioned below.
Flexibility and Simplicity: Usually, an organization also wants to keep pace with the evolving market and industry sector conditions, and usually, OKRs are defined quarterly. This helps the organization to clarify or revise the OKR to respond to the changing needs appropriately. As the framework is relatively easy, it also supports the organizations in achieving the desired result rather than following up with defining goals and objectives.
Alignment within Organization: One of the significant benefits of OKR is that they are public and transparent. OKR enables everyone in the organization to properly understand objectives as measured time-bound. KR aligns with the organization’s expectations and all stakeholders are on the same page to ensure that everyone will move in the same direction.
Two-Way: Another critical aspect of OKR is that it is two-way or bidirectional. It means that goals are defined at the top level and defined by the middle and lower tier according to the goal defined at the top tier. This ensures that everybody is working in the right direction and create an efficient way of working.
Collaboration: OKR methodology always encourages collaboration. As mentioned before, it enables everyone to work in the same direction and achieve a common goal. Due to this, everyone becomes aware that collaboration is crucial and cannot be achieved alone.
OKR and Project Management
It has to be considered that OKR and projects are different, and OKR shouldn’t be defined in such a sense that they look like tasks. Projects deal with short-term and long-term goals and consist of tasks. At the same time, OKR focuses on the future and measures the performance with key results.
As a first step, OKR enables the project team and individuals to define the objectives they want to achieve. Then, according to that, they work on key performance and identify and align objectives and projects. This ensures that the team is also aligned with the organization’s goal and contributes to its growth.
The defined objectives and results can motivate the team level and keep team members understanding their roles and responsibilities in the bigger picture. This also has a positive impact on overall teamwork and productivity. Combining OKR and project management can have a very positive effect. By doing this, macro and micro-level aspects of the organization can be handled positively and positively.
The essence of a healthy OKR culture — ruthless intellectual honesty, a disregard for self-interest, deep allegiance to the team. — Andy Grove
PPM Express contributes to its clients with the best solution for setting, monitoring, and reporting Objectives & Key Results (OKR). Once the objectives have been set, you can track how projects contribute, track progress, encourage alignment, and encourage participation around measurable goals. PPM Express can display aggregated execution for multiple objectives.
In the next post, we will deep dive into setting OKR and discuss how to write good Objectives and Key Results.
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