What Are OKRs?
OKRs are Objectives and Key Results, which help teams set and track measurable goals. The method helps create OKR templates that are immensely flexible so they bend and bow to fit all purposes of project management.
So, it’s “I will [Objective] as measured by [Key Result].”
The Objective is a goal you’re working towards, including increasing brand awareness or even creating the lowest carbon footprint in your industry. We use the objective to set a clear direction to where we want to go - OKR progress.
The Key Result measures your progress towards the objective, such as ensuring a quarter of your item’s material is compostable or driving a million web views, even improving employee experience. Think of the key result as a signpost with a distance marker.
Initiatives are tasks or projects that’ll help you achieve the key results. The initiatives are descriptions of what you do to get to a destination.
The methodology involves applying several rules that help employees align, prioritize, and measure the outcome of efforts. OKR helps organizations and small businesses create a connection between strategy and execution while moving an output-based to an outcome-based approach.
Things to Look for in OKR Software
The most popular tool is the spreadsheet for many startups making their first entry into OKRs. However, business growth means your once-clear alignment quickly descends into an unreliable tangle.
Like the OKR methodology, OKR software is a means to achieving an end. The software will help employees track progress easily and improve task management.
But there are too many options available on the market, making it difficult for a business to choose one for their management system. Here are five things to look out for in OKR software before investing in one.
Flexible and Customizable
The best and most high-performing OKR software supports easy customization and is flexible. You can check the OKRs or goals as milestones, quantities, or percentages.
Look for software that offers the flexibility to check in on your OKRs as per your requirements. Plus, the software will become an invaluable tool in the long run.
Cascades and Aligns
OKR software should have basic functionality for aligning and cascading simple OKRs. Remember, OKRs and goals are a shared responsibility.
Cascading the OKRs allows sharing goals from one organizational level to the next, improving the general roadmap. For instance, the manager may cascade their goals down to direct reports.
Aligning the OKRs helps everyone visualize your organization’s bigger picture. Individuals can align their goals with the business.
For instance, your primary goal is to break into an untapped market. Aligning the OKRs will show employees how their efforts contribute towards a specific goal.
Easy and Simple to Use
Users should understand how the OKR software works with little to no training during onboarding. Choose a tool with a clean and uncluttered user interface.
The simpler and more user-friendly the OKR software, the easier it is for everyone. Understanding and using the software shouldn’t be a new project for all employees.
Plus, make sure it offers easy integration with other processes or OKR tools. The software adoption rate increases depending on its user-friendliness.
Adding comments allows employees and managers to discuss important business components. This functionality promotes two-way communication and teamwork while setting a healthy workflow culture and regular feedback.
Actionable dashboards and insights make understanding and analysis simple. Plus, check whether it indicates completion percentage, highlights goals, aligns goals, and status.
Dashboards and insights help employees see whether a goal requires more attention. The dashboard also helps everyone stay focused and aligned.
Enables OKRs Visibility
The main reason for having OKR software is to increase the visibility of your OKRs. So, you’re not digging for information from multiple tools. Instead, you have a central place for creating, visualizing, storing, and tracking OKRs all in one.
Between documentation tools, time feedback, Jira, execution tools, Slack, Microsoft teams, and email, teams in your organization have multiple places to check for information. Introducing a separate OKR software to the mix adds a new place where your information dies.
The best OKR software works with other business tools such as Salesforce and Asana or is a feature included in the main execution tool.
Bi-Directional Goal Setting
A significant benefit of the OKR framework is alignment from top to bottom and across the organization. Such alignment is only possible when setting goals is bi-directional. So, leaders set goals for their teams, and teams can share their goals with the leaders.
Bi-directional goal management setting helps create autonomy across your venture. As a leader, you show teams where to go while letting them determine how they’ll get there, allowing them to balance between short- and long-term strategies.
Shows a Clear Sight of All Connected Work
Goal alignment during the planning phase is excellent, but staying on course is another thing. The right tool makes it possible to maintain the desired alignment for your long-, mid-, and short-term company objectives.
The best software shows the connection between objectives and how they work together across the organization. You see the relationships between work items and each connected objective, so leaders and their teams have an obvious line of sight of the connected work.
Shows Shared Objectives and Interdependencies
Bi-directional visibility is critical for aligning your teams with long-term strategic goals. However, horizontal synchronization is vital, especially for teams working closely together, sharing resources, or with shared objectives.
As you set OKRs, teams should focus on goals within their control. Lean-agile teams are cross-functional and self-sufficient to come up with goals they can achieve without outside influence.
Limiting the interdependencies is a critical scaling aspect. The “white space” between organizational teams needs attention to achieve agility.
Increasing visibility into the shared company objectives and interdependencies can help your organization manage the white space. The best OKR software lets your teams see what other departments are working on, especially tasks that require horizontal and vertical synchronization.