OKR Framework, A Summary Of What You Need To Know
Objectives and Key Results (OKR) is a popular goal setting framework that helps organisations implement a solid strategy.The goal the OKR Framework is for every member of the organisation – from the key stakeholders and leaders down to the team members – understand the objectives of the company through a set of defined, specific and measurable actions.
The OKR approach has been used by many multibillion companies like Google, LinkedIn, Amazon, Adobe, etc.
Because of today’s complex nature of organisations, stakeholders often feel lost when they deal with rapid changes in the organisations.
It happens often that strategic goals and plans in the organisation are too sophisticated, unclear, and abstract. Because of that, many employees feel lost, discouraged and have a lack of purpose.
Let´s take a look how we can prevent or improve employees getting a lost and unmotivated.
Background of OKR
In early 1979s it was introduced to the former President of Intel, Andy Grove.
Now, OKRs are gaining popularity not only among big corporations, but also among small organisations as well as start-ups.
OKRs help these organisations achieve their goals in a much shorter period of time and accurately measure progress.
Typically, OKR is made up of 3-5 high-level objectives, which list 3-5 key measurable results. Key Results (KRs) are measurable through a defined set of scores (usually between 0 and 1.0).
The use of these scores allow organisations to check or measure progress.
For your company, you can start adding OKR as a part of quarterly planning and progress review. However, you can also do it on a monthly or annual basis, it depends what are the needs and goals of your organisation.
Leadership experts believe that OKR is one of the leading team management practices and goal setting framework that every company should implement.
Why use OKRs? Because it’s easy and simple and it does not take up so much resources to ramp up.
Moreover, it helps sustain the company culture and largely benefits the organisation, particularly employee productivity and performance.
In my opinion, OKR brings two major benefits into organisations:
1. Impact on Your Business
Studies have shown that employees who used OKR tend to be more effective at their jobs, which results to better performance and increased sales.
Moreover, team members who didn’t use OKRs proactively asked to be part of the OKR process in future cycles.
2. Company/Organisation Culture Benefits
One of the major OKR benefits is that it allows an organisation to focus on metrics and KPIs. This makes a cultural shift from output to outcomes.
OKRs also create focus, alignment and transparency within the organisation. When combined, these factors lead to a significant improvement in employee engagement.
OKR Framework Overview
Each element of the OKR framework supports the successful Objective and Key Results implementation, and that´s why it has an important meaning in the overall process.
It is best to use the synergy effects of all elements as shown on the picture below.
The company mission is a brief description of the company’s vision and purpose, and how they should be implemented.
Mid-term goals (so-called MOALS) are the link between the company mission and the OKR. They are usually defined for one year.
OKR Planning allows the respective objectives and key results become defined for the entire cycle at all levels. This is done both top-down and bottom-up.
The OKR Weekly helps to integrate the implementation of the OKR framework and supports the team to be responsible for it during the cycle. The weekly should only take about 15 minutes and should give an overview of the current status of the OKR.
Review meetings are used to determine the degree of achievement at the end of an evaluation cycle. The scoring should be consistent with team standards.
During a retrospective, the teams inspects the OKR process from a systematic point of view. What did the team learn and what should be improved in the next cycle.
OKR Coaches are responsible for the smooth implementation of the OKR and support their teams in the Definition of OKRs and other events.
The Cycle Of The OKR Framework
Each cycle of the OKR framework has many opportunities for improving teamwork, communication and strategic goals. The following events help:
- OKR Planning
- OKR Weekly
- OKR Review
- OKR Retrospectives
During the cycle, objectives and key results do not usually change unless the company faces an unexpected and important event to which it must respond.
As this is rare, usually review and retrospective usually show the opportunity for improvement for the next cycle.
The sustainable implementation of the OKR framework within a company takes time. It usually takes about 3-4 cycles to get the full pull from OKR.
A meaningful, well-designed implementation plan can significantly reduce the learning process.
Measures such as in-house trainings, the training of OKR Coaches, orientation workshops, or review and retrospectives increase the learning quality and speed.
It´s important to note: The key is to always stay humble and open for learning and making mistakes!
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