OKR Cheat Sheet: Guidelines, Tools, and Vital Frameworks
OKR Cheat Sheet
One of the most widely acclaimed goal-setting methodologies used today is Objective and Key Results (OKR). You probably have heard of it many times, and already got a clear understanding of what it’s like and how it can benefit your company.
You’ve been really wanting to adopt this approach. However, you are somehow clueless where to start. How do you cascade the process to your teams? How do you ensure that each team creates a set of objectives and Key Results aligned with the mission and vision of your company? How often should you do OKRs? And more importantly, how are you going to measure your success?
Those are really tricky questions. Fortunately, in this OKR cheat sheet, you are about to begin your OKR journey fast and easy. We’ve condensed every article I’ve published in this blog that talks about implementing OKR into this article. Let’s dive in.
OKR was introduced by Andy Grove – one of the founders of Intel. A venture capitalist from the same company, John Doerr, later on introduced it to Google when he became part of it. Since then, this popular approach has been widely adopted not only by Google but also other tech giants, including Amazon, LinkedIn and Spotify.
But regardless of what industry your company is in, the rules that apply to other company’s OKRs are pretty much the same with what can apply to your company. Whether you’re in the retail sector, manufacturing, or tech – OKRs are a great way to ensure that you are setting challenging yet achievable goals that really make an impact.
When setting objectives, bear the following things in mind:
- Your objectives must be qualitative.
- Use common language and vocabulary. You want to get your people inspired and excited. Unlike your company mission and vision statements, your OKRs must never be ambiguous as it is designed to give a clear direction to your employees about what they need to accomplish.
- You must only have 3-5 objectives. Remember that OKRs are renewed on a quarterly, yearly or monthly basis. You want to focus on the most important goals that are time-bound.
Tool to Use: EISENHOWER IDEA Criteria for Goal-Setting
To make writing down your objectives easy, follow the Eisenhower approach. According to this idea, OKRs should be:
INSPIRING – Bold, visionary and eloquent that motivates your people to move forward.
DIFFICULT – Goals must be stretched and far from the status quo. When reaching that goal feels uncomfortable, you are doing the right thing.
EXPLICIT – Objectives are clear, brief and easy to understand. Even outsiders should be able to comprehend the OKRs you’ve set for your organisation.
ACHIEVABLE – Even if it’s difficult, your objectives must be achievable or nearly accomplished.
Note: Do not set goals that simply reflect your expectations or simply reiterate the daily course of your business.
Writing Key Results
Your KRs should explain how you are going to reach your objectives. Keep in mind that only results matter for each milestone. Your KRs shouldn’t be too focused on a potential solution. Neither should it be a plain list of tasks.
Tool to use: S.M.A.R.T. Approach
You are probably very much familiar with this tool. It is also used in OKRs, particularly in setting key results:
SPECIFIC – there shouldn’t be a need for your employees to interpret your KRs. It should be self-explanatory.
MEASURABLE – KRs SHOULD be measurable. There must be a quantitative indicator of success. Ex: 0-1.00 as used in Google – check OKR at google article
REALISTIC – Even though it’s difficult, it can be done with the team’s continued efforts and resources.
TIME-RELATED – Each key result must have a specific due date.
Cascading OKR Cheat Sheet
Aligning everyone in your company with your organisational OKRs is probably the toughest part. But this is also the most necessary because it’s what drives your company and your people to success.
- Two weeks before the quarter is finished, everyone should already know which OKRs they’ve hit. Only then can you proceed to write another set of OKRs for the next quarter.
- The senior management team should take the lead. They must set their OKRs in the quickest way possible so that the teams under them will have time to react.
- Each business unit in your company should also have their OKRs. Under them are service groups or work groups that should set their OKRs based on their respective business units.
- Put everything in black and white. Have a playbook or something similar. On your first implementation of OKR, have this process cascaded to everyone in your company.
Evaluating & Tracking OKRs
OKRs must be reviewed on a regular basis, usually weekly or bi-weekly. It should also be accessible to anyone in your company. This promotes transparency and sense of accountability.
- Use a single grading system. Google uses a 0.0–1.0 scale. You can use words like “Done” or “Not Done”, whatever you prefer. Some companies even use symbols like a “traffic light” or “smileys”.
- Use a tool that addresses your need. You can go with free ones like Google Docs and Sheets or other paid tools. There are various OKR software systems available in the market today. It is ideal to make use of a single, well-rounded tool that can be utilised by all your employees. However, you can also combine separate tools to suit your needs.
- Set time for an in-depth assessment of each key result to further improve productivity and collaboration.
Setting OKRs and implementing them should be easier for your company with the help of this OKR tools. It can be challenging to start a new process and introduce them to your team at first. But with proper preparation and planning, you definitely will go a long way.
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