One of the key ideas of OKRs is communication around progress. So far, Gtmhub has been automatically calculating progress and juxtaposing it with the time passed in order to determine how well an objective is progressing. Many times, however, there are circumstances that are beyond this simple approach.
For example, if your objective is related to improving sales, you may have a handshake deal with one of your prospects, but it has not yet been processed. Other times yet, you may work on your objectives in a sequential manner, where you first work on your first objective, then second and finally third.
To address these scenarios, we have introduced a subjective confidence level on objectives.
If you’re working with OKRs, you may find it useful to think about the Balanced Scorecard perspectives when setting OKRs. Which Balanced Scorecard perspectives, or categories are you supporting with your current OKRs? Do you need to rebalance your efforts? Who and which departments are supporting each Balanced Scorecard perspective, i.e. Financial, Customer, Internal Business Process, and Learning & Growth perspectives?
If you use Balanced Scorecards, or if you have used Strategy Maps to define your strategy and execution planning, OKRs may prove a useful way to take your operational excellence to the next level, and improve the way in which you align the entire organisation behind your strategy.
One of the hardest things when you’re getting started with Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) is to set good OKRs. We’re all used to caring a lot about our financial health metrics, revenue, profits, shareholder value. But these metrics, while crucial to getting a sense of the health and trajectory of the business, are not very helpful in terms of helping us determine what we should do next.
Move away from using KPIs as objectives, and instead ask, ‘what do we really want to achieve?’ Fluffy is OK.
Pick quantitative key results (health metrics, KPIs, etc), which are the best proxies to measure your progress.
For setting OKRs which are aligned with higher level OKRs, it is sometimes useful to look at the KRs of the higher level OKR as inspiration for your Objective.
One thing we notice with a lot of organizations that just start out with OKRs is that many people just enter their everyday work as Objectives.
For example, a digital marketer may state an objective “Release January Newsletter“, a software developer may put “Fix bugs” or HR manager may state “Hire a sales director“.
While one could argue that these objectives are technically valid, the problem with them is that they are missing the point of OKRs. As a result, organization will not reap the benefit of OKRs and will probably abandon the methodology in few months as useless.
“My objectives are all product related and timing is everything. For this quarter I need to improve the user engagement and to do that I need to release 3 features, but it won’t matter a thing if I don’t hit my deadlines – and those are all before the end of the quarter.”
So, being customer centric as we are, we went ahead and implemented Time framed KRs.
The grayish area
A week later, however, customer came back to us. Admittedly, our solution was way too black & white for the real world. Namely, if the key result was achieved by the deadline everything was well, but if it wasn’t – even if it was missed by a day – we would scored the key result with 0% (at least in case of yes/no key results).
Setting OKRs for marketing is made harder by the multitude or absence of meaningful metrics or KPIs. Marketers should set objectives informed by higher level company goals, and by focusing of the underlying performance drivers for marketing, instead of the metrics which are just indicators of performance.
When setting OKRs for the sales team, DON’T focus on the number. Instead, set objectives for the performance drivers, activity, process, method, aptitude, and attitude. Read the blog post
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Who we are
At Gtmhub we had been developing a software tool combining goal management and state-of-the-art data integration to support human decision-making. With our own emphasis on encouraging and aligning creativity, it was immediately clear to us that OKRs was the methodology we ourselves wanted to adopt, and the methodology we wanted our tool to support.