Wondering if your company is OKR ready?

5 Steps to Building Strong OKRs For Your Team

5 May, 2021
5 mins

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) can be best defined as a powerful tool that will help you and your team members to focus, help align and prioritize as well as measure the work in your organization. All of this is done to accomplish your organization’s mission and attain the company vision. The framework, however, aligns the work for each team member at every level of the organization irrespective of the rank or designation.

When looking to set your very own OKRs, it’s quite obvious that you would prefer examples that would spark inspiration or at least can stretch enough so that you can ensure effectiveness with each team member. And to be able to write your very own set of OKRs there is a very simple formula. Objectives and goals are nothing but intent, while Key Results are measurable and time-bound. 

Framing OKRs are what businesses often struggle with all the time. Let’s review some of the reasons for this. Common reasons may include the kind of method the business may have adapted to be able to create meaningful goals and have them cascaded. Another reason may be the kind of approach the business may have adopted for instance task-driven vs outcome-focused. In other cases, organizations struggle to limit the number of goals they are focusing on.

Whether it’s your first time writing OKRs or you may have done this countless times before, here are five steps to ensure that the process is easy and you are always on track:

1. Create a Structure of well-defined OKRs

If you are about to begin the process of writing your OKRs, you could be wondering what more could there be than just setting goals for a stipulated period. You would need to keep in mind that your OKR is a part of a larger picture. You should set OKRs so that they are aligned to the company’s mission, vision, and value statements.

OKRs help as a guideline to articulate what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and by whom so that your strategy is executed and you can fulfill your mission and vision.

2. Breakdown and simplify your OKRs

An objective can be best defined as what needs to be done to be able to achieve something and the result can be described as how and what is going to be achieved and measured. The achievement would need to be measurable so that you can define the scale of success. 

While the objective needs to be qualitative, time-bound, and actionable the result needs to be measurable and quantifiable so that it can be graded say from a scale of 1 to 5 or 1 to 10.

3. Try to maintain transparency within the OKRs

Your OKR framework goes beyond just goal settings. It can be best seen as a framework that requires a cultural shift where teams need to tear down traditional silos and breakdown walls so that they can foster a culture that is transparent and goal-oriented. The idea is that each and everyone needs to be clear on what the goals are. Progress needs to be viewed and analyzed at each stage by everyone and then corrective actions if necessary, would need to be taken to ensure the company’s progress is moving in the right direction.

4. Take controllable actions at each stage

When you create a new business objective, it needs to be best understood and realized by all. Any OKR can generate or may require cross-division coordination however, your objective needs to be within control and should not vary from one division to another. 

OKRs should be realistic and not ambiguous. They should be carried out after proper and careful planning and need to depend on the general actions you are planning to take.

5. Boom! You’re Good at Writing Fabulous OKRs!

Now that you have understood and have framed your business objective, you should start with your team’s purpose. This should be well aligned with your corporate goals for the stipulated time. The team should be committed to helping you achieve your goal and resources and schedules need to be fine-tuned to make sure you are nearer to what you wish to achieve.

KPIs vs OKRs

In addition to the five steps described above, it is also essential to best understand how KPIs work along with OKRs. In no way can OKRs replace KPIs however they complement one another. KPIs tend to focus on business, as usual,  go hand in hand with detailed tasks in hand and facilitate the delivery of projects. While OKRs are integral elements of any corporate strategy that need to be accomplished to help deliver mission and vision, KPIs are yardsticks that are measurable and enable you to determine the degree of success.

For instance, there could be an infinite number of KPIs that need to be addressed however you need focused KPIs only that allows you to track and maintain records of team progress towards specific product development. All of them are important to deliver a product that is perfect however what is critical is the actual delivery milestone. This is something that matters to the success of your company and its various departments which include sales, support, marketing, and delivery. 

 Simultaneously, your company also wants to achieve high customer satisfaction scores. This could be one of the KPIs as rolled out by your management team. The ultimate goal is to enable the management team to clearly understand the progress made towards achieving goals rather than analyzing huge and complex data.

When analyzing your objective and the key results, why not ask yourself if these key results are what it would take to achieve your core objective. In case yes, then they pass the test, and if no then you would need to spend more time further refining your OKRs so that they are more relevant and quantifiable.

Finally, ask yourself if you have accomplished all your key objectives. If yes, then you are on track and your business OKRs are a great success. If not, then spend more time defining and redefining stronger OKRs. One common mistake that most make while articulating OKRs is that business leaders do not understand processes. Patience and perseverance are also something that most business leaders should follow to be able to get things right. To know more, schedule a demo with us today.