Failing at: OKRs

We all have different ways for learning, mine is through writing and sharing… so here we go with an interesting and sometimes complex topic: OKRs 😱

OKRs stands for Objective and Key Results, and its a simple way to set ambitious goals and track the initiatives that will allow you (and your team) to accomplish them

First of all, let me be clear, this is not like the “Look-at-this-super-simple-example-that-will-never-be-part-of-reality kind of article” for that, I’ll recommend you to watch this video (google ventures) or check this nice guide (re:work), this post it is more similar to:

Theory vs Reality in OKRs · Perdoo’s CEO
Transcript: https://www.perdoo.com/resources/theory-vs-reality-in-okr/

Set an ambitious goal sounds easy, right?, but what if you don’t have the certainty to be really sure that you’ll be able to accomplish it, or if the result it doesn’t depends entirely from you, well, guess what:

Objectives should be ambitious but may feel somewhat uncomfortable

re:work: https://rework.withgoogle.com/guides/set-goals-with-okrs/steps/introduction/

The key about OKRs is to figure out what matters, and that’s subjective, so don’t worry if you need to spend time to understand the problems that need tackling and/or the ambitions that you’re pursuing – your objectives should be VERY ambitious (and its ok if you accomplish 60%-70% of them, in fact THAT’S THE IDEA)

Use OKRs to build, learn and improve, because through the process you’ll be able to decrease uncertainty, learning about the unexpected roadblocks, timeframes and unknown task that will help you to set better OKRs for the next time

What its clear, is that Objectives should respond the company strategy/OKRs, and then the leadership team will be able to set the anual objectives, and later, the team would be able to set their quarter objectives too (with bottom-up feedback and refinement at every step)

Question: Do you know your company strategy/OKRs?

The objective should be inspirational, sets a clear direction and provides motivation, but shouldn’t be measurable, in the other hand, the key results related to that challenge should be metrics, everyone should be able to define if a KR has been accomplished or not (black or white)

Examples from The ultimate OKR guide – Perdoo

Last, but not least, some – true story – failing ideas about how NOT to use OKRs:

  • For business as usual
  • As a to do list
  • For employee evaluations
  • As a rigid framework (instead, use it as a best practices guide)

And some pro tips about what could you do to improve your OKRs:

  • Update your key results progress weekly – and use them at your 1:1 meetings too
  • Constantly check the OKRs of the company/other area or teams to analyze how they’ve been evolving and processing their learnings

Please, if you have further questions, don’t hesitate to reach me 😊

Complementary reading / examples:

  • How to measure risk with a better OKR · https://medium.com/starting-up-security/how-to-measure-risk-with-a-better-okr-c259bccf359e