Stratelight #6: What's needed to make you successful with OKRs

Defining Objectives and Key Results

Objectives are about the "what". They should be aggressive, yet achievable and it should be clear even for "outsiders" what you want to achieve.

Key Results are about the "how". One objective should have a maximum of 5 key results.

It's important for OKRs to be aligned with the vision of the company, otherwise it doesn't make sense to define OKRs as it will be difficult for your team to understand how they connect to the broader goals of the company.

Don't shy away from OKRs which depend on other departments. This is not a problem if your whole company operates with OKRs and actually helps align the goals of the company over department borders.

When defining OKRs make sure they are not business as usual. OKR should be bold and ambitious to move the needle.

Many teams also make the mistake of setting activities as key results rather than outcomes.

Different types of OKRs

There are two different types of OKRs:

  • Committed OKRs -- these are objectives you need to achieve

  • Aspirational OKRs -- these are objectives you want to achieve

Communicating OKRs

First, when starting off with OKRs, make sure to involve your team in the definition of the OKRs. It's important that the team members involved in achieving the OKRs are also involved in the definition of the OKRs ant the OKRs are not simply pushed on them by leadership.

To make your OKRs a continued success make sure to have regular retrospectives with a facilitator from outside the team. This could look like a 1-2h retrospective every quarter to make sure you talk and reflect about the goals and what you could improve in the process.

You should have regular check-ins with the team where you bring up the OKRs and have a quick vote on if your team still thinks you can achieve the OKR. This helps you to counter-steer any problems early on.

This also helps you to communicate problems to other departments early on. Keep in mind that it's always better to communicate failure early.

🕵️For the full picture, read 5 best practices to make your OKRs awesome published by Christian Strunk.

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- Markus