Start planning your Q2 OKRs now

Bottom Line:

  1. Start planning your Q2 OKRs well ahead of the end of Q1 in order to ensure that you’re in a good place to kick off Q2.
  2. Communicate Communicate Communicate – then negotiate
  3. Don’t forget to celebrate your successes, failures, and lessons learnt from Q1

Now is a great time to start the planning process for your Q2 OKRs.

With only a couple of weeks to go before the end of Q1 (yikes!), you should have a good idea of how your Q1 OKRs will end up, even if your attainment hasn’t been completely linear.

If you’re a Gtmhub customer, this means setting up a new Planning Session for Q1, where you can start adding your top level OKRs to communicate to the rest of the organisation before the OKR negotiation process begins.

Gtmhub supports working with multiple (and overlapping) OKR planning sessions.

You can learn more about Planning Sessions here.

Q1 Review

Before setting your Q2 OKRs, take a step back, and take a look at your goals for 2017. Remind yourself why you set those goals, and if necessary, reconfirm that these are still valid goals for the year.

With your annuals goals fresh in your mind, take a look at your KPIs, such as financial health metrics, industry-specific metric, other non-financial Balanced Scorecard perspectives (take a look at our post on the Balanced Scorecard and OKRs here), and perhaps update your SWOT analysis. Where are are you doing well, where do you have room for improvement? What could really move the needle?

Of course, your Q1 OKRs will also be important as part of your review of what makes sense for Q2, however don’t wait until Q1 is over before starting the Q2 planning process. By now, your Q1 OKRs will provide excellent insights into what worked, what didn’t work, and allow you to make decisions about changes for Q2.

NB – you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every quarter. It’s possible, and often completely sensible, to simply ‘copy and paste’ OKRs from one quarter to another. But don’t do it because it’s easier, do it only if you think the OKR from Q1 still have relevance for Q2 and represents the best use of your time and resources.

NB NB – the planning process for OKRs does not have to be separate from your general planning process. If you have regular board meetings with investors, or quarterly business reviews, these pre-existing processes are very useful ways to make the OKR planning process fit into how you operate as a business already with adding too much additional process and friction.

Now you can start setting your company level OKRs.

Company Level OKR Example:

Objective: Qualitative, yet measurable

Key result: Quantitative, not a single task

  • Objective: Accelerate Quarter on Quarter Growth
    • Key results:
      • Acquire 100 New Customers
      • Upsell 50 existing customers to Gold plan
      • Churn less than 10 customers
    • Time frame: Next 3 months

The next step is to communicate your company OKRs to the organisation. Whether you communicate the OKRs to everyone or just the management team at this stage is a question of style and preference.

OKR Negotiation

Now invite each of the executives of the business for their OKR negotiation with the CEO, the founding team, or whoever owns the company level OKRs.

The OKR negotiation is a subject of a separate future blog post, but in summary, here is what it should achieve:

  1. Reiterate higher level OKR rationale – why are we doing that? What is it?
  2. Negotiate appropriate supporting OKRs
    • Using this opening line can be helpful: “My objective is to Accelerate Quarter on Quarter Growth, how can you help me achieve my Objective?”
  3. Write down, or enter the OKR into your OKR tool, and ask the owner to come up with 2-3 Key Results in the next few days to support the Objective.
    • With Gtmhub you can also define dynamic key results, which are key results which are automatically updated based on changes in the underlying KPIs. For example a sales, bookings, or revenue-related Key Result could be automatically updated based on the live sales, bookings, or revenue data in the CRM, payments, or financial systems.

NB – it is important that supporting OKRs specifically support the higher level OKR. OKRs which do not specifically support the higher level OKR will cause dilution of focus and alignment, two of the underpinning principles of the OKR methodology.

Communicate Communicate Communicate

Now that you have set OKRs for the company and the executive team, each executive can communicate with their respective teams and set the schedule for negotiating OKRs with teams and / or individuals within each of their departments.

The process for setting subsequent OKRs is identical to the above process.

Q1 Celebration

Whether you do this before or after your Q2 planning cycle is less important, but do try to remember to spend time celebrating the great performance from your teams and individuals during Q1, as well as any lessons learnt. Your culture and management style will guide you here, but generally speaking, one of the best ways to demonstrate value from OKRs is to celebrate the successes, failures, and lessons learnt.