OKRs – Google-story

Google Ventures Startup Lab | GV partner Rick Klau covers the value of setting objectives and key results (OKRs) and how this has been done at Google since 1999. Understand the key attributes of effective OKRs and how to apply them in your own organization.

Why CXOs Choose OKRs?

The OKRs methodology is appealing to many CEOs because it is one of the few that encapsulates the organization both top-down and bottom-up. Unlike traditional goal setting methodologies, the company vision and long-term strategies are being converted into quarterly objectives with clear key results. The key results are then assigned to your management team and eventually to each team member.

OKRs and CFR (Conversations, Feedback and Recognition) together provide a clear path to setting and achieving the most inspired to the most trivial goals businesses and teams pursue.

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 “Our mission is to galvanize leaders to set and achieve audacious goals—through inspiration, education, and application

John Doerr

John Doerr

Co-Founder & Publisher, © What Matters

Ref. Measure What Matters, World’s 1st & #1 Book on OKRs

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OKRs:

  • Publicly available to the entire company.
  • Not directly related to performance evaluation.
  • Set, reviewed, and revised quarterly (and annually).
  • Need to be supported by leadership, (simple) tools, and (lightweight) process.
  • Speaker recommends simple, open-source tools such as Wikis, Google Docs, etc.

Objectives:

  • May or may not be measurable but must be strategic (ex: accelerate revenue growth).
  • Must link to (i) the OKRs at the next level up (ii) what the individual wants to work on .
  • Top 5 objectives
  • Mostly (60%) set by the individual .
  • Objective score is the straight, equal weighted average of the key results grades (avoid weighting).

Key results:

  • Must be measurable (ex: launch a new product or feature; achieve win rate of x%).
  • Should be a little uncomfortable so that you are always striving. 
  • Self-graded quarterly (they should average 0.6 or 0.7 so there is room for improvement; 0.4 or below is bad, but a learning management system will help to improve).
  • Limited to 4 key results per objective.

Scale Agile. Integrate Jira Software with OKR and CFR tools (with easy 3 steps tools demo video).

Why Jira Integration with OKR Software and Performance Management System (PMS)? Align distributed teams and individuals to the organization’s top priorities and accelerate growth with Data Integration. Enable outcome-based self-management objectively, accurately, and continuously with Productivity Data. Measure what matters through real-time metrics to reduce the Cost of poor quality, Meet SLAs, and Increase Revenue.

How does it help?

Dynamic Key Results: Track progress in real-time by automatically updating KRs and KPIs from your Jira account(s). Course Correction: Link Jira JQLs to Track & Course correct what matters the most at any layers of OKRs hierarchy or SMART goals. Agile at Scale: Fit your KPI framework using Jira data of Scrum, Kanban, Mixed methodologies to scale software Agile delivery.

How does it work?

Accessing Your Key Data: Our REST API data integration links directly to your Jira and by JQLs gathers key data points relevant to your needs. Epic, Story, Task & Bug: Integrate Jira to automatically track Progress, Count of Tickets, Time Spent, and Estimate (Original & Remaining) KPIs. Progress Monitoring: The KPIs that matter for Key Results are linked, which means the integration auto-update in real-time that need attention.

How to Integrate Jira & Link with PMS (Performance Management System)?

Zero Installation, No coding, and only Configuration. Login to OKR Stars™ or Skills2Talent™ and add your Jira account(s). Add Jira Cloud Server URL, email ID & API Token of Jira account(s). Link your OKRs / SMART Goals with Epics, Stories, Tasks, and Bugs. Select Jira as a data source per connection. Add JQL queries from Jira account(s) to fetch the filtered data automatically to update OKRs / SMART Goals.

What are the ready-to-use KPIs?

Progress: Progress of issues as KPI value (Starting metric Vs Target metric) and Completed % Count of Tickets: # of Tickets as KPI value (Starting metric Vs Target metric) and Completed % Time Spent: Logged time as KPI value (Starting metric Vs Target metric) and as % Original Estimate (in Hours): Time estimated as KPI value (Starting metric Vs Target metric) and as % Remaining Estimate (in Hours): Remaining time as KPI value (Original metric Vs Actual metric) and as %

Why should my company integrate our enterprise Jira tool with your PMS (Performance Management System)?

For CXOs: Enables leaders to monitor progress towards company priorities, accountability, and alignment.

For CIO: Integrate your OKR / Performance Management System (PMS) to maximize Jira’s ROI ($, Knowledge & data).

For CHRO: Digitize KPI tracking, drive people engagement & recognitions and promote continuous performance.

For Agile Team: Fit your KPI framework using Jira data of Scrum, Kanban, Mixed methodologies to scale Agile delivery.

For Engineers: Track progress in real-time by automatically updating KPIs by Jira account(s) and timely course correct.

Recognize for Moonshot OKRs, Aspirational OKRs, and OKR Champions (HR) Achievements

Implement CFR in your Organization

OKR empower you to implement CFRs (Conversations, Feedback, & Recognition) and drive employee engagement. OKRs and CFRs are often referred as sibling to each other. Together with OKRs and CFRs combine to become Continuous Performance Management solution in one software integrating the human side of OKRs.

  • Regular Performance Conversations, Private 1:1 Feedback & Coaching
  • Goal alignment dialogues towards contributing impacts on business
  • Frequent goal check-ins, status updates with comments for visibility
  • Social recognition by peers, management for remote engagement
  • Manager’s recognition transparently to team members (Public/Private)
  • Realtime KPI escalation, mitigation, course corrections before it is too late

Enable your managers with right orientation about CFRs during OKR cycle to include goal-setting, reflection, and ongoing progress updates during 1:1s with reports. Encourage highly constructive feedback. Establish clear criteria to recognize people for actions and results. Institute peer-to-peer feedback as a culture.

Engagement, Experience and Collaboration

Continuous Performance Management to enrich employee engagement, elevate your employee experience and make team collaboration as a priority. With tools like OKR Stars™ you can easily schedule 1on1s and solicit and receive feedback. Thus alignment, transparency, collaboration and recognition become reality for your team..

OKR guide managers and employees to have regular lightweight performance conversations with feedback and continuous employee development. The platform make everyone to give and receive feedback transparently for a job well done. Remember better employee experience drive better business results through their continuous performance.

CFR on OKRs by Team collaboration tools

OKR Stars™ is integrated (Data, SSO) with Microsoft Teams and Slack which are leading, powerful and advanced tools used globally for Team Collaboration. So, enable CFR on-the-go using mobile/tablet also on your desktop/laptop, 24/7/365 days and perform instant Conversations, Feedback and Recognition (CFR) about OKRs remotely using public/private channels.

Post Covid-19 crisis, companies/HR/managers/employees and IT Dept. realizing that a “simple HRMS mobile app” is not sufficient compared with these market leading tools for comprehensive, 360° communication types with video/voice meetings, chat, digital badges, file attachments, storage and document management tools with powerful OKR content search options.

So, bring your team together with various day to day OKR communications across organization/department/ teams/manager – employee and enable CFR for OKR management. Check out our Integration pages (Microsoft Teams & Slack) on this website for more details.

Let’s see a short video to see how the OKRs are connected in a start-up context along with problems, investors recommendation towards Measure What Matters book and CFR practices, team’s OKRs commitment and till its successful execution results.

Importance of frequent conversations and feedback in the OKR framework.

Importance of frequent conversations and feedback in the OKR framework.


During the course of my regular coaching sessions with clients on OKR framework, weekly check- ins stand out as a biggest concern for many managers. The success of OKR implementation , to a large extent, is dependent on how frequently the manager and the team members engage in one on one meetings and regular check-ins.

Weekly Check-in process

Many managers fall into the trap of assuming that one on one meetings are not important and don’t figure in their list of priorities

These meetings are the first to get knocked off from the calendars if the manager is looking to free up his calendar. But the cost of cancellation of these meetings can be very high.

Three major concerns that I often hear from the managers,

  1. I have too big a team to do weekly or regular one on one’s
  2. Isn’t weekly check-in equal to micro managing
  3. Why have a conversation, when the status can be updated in the OKR tool

The weekly check-in practice in the OKR framework is expected to be brief , to ensure that each key result is on track and if the individuals require any support incase they see any show-stoppers or they raise any red flags. It also indicates progress in real time. The one on one conversations are therefore indispensable to the success of your OKR implementation. One on one meetings cannot be substituted by the OKR tool or OKR template. The tool or the template can only be used to make the meeting more focused and brief.

It is the responsibility of the manager to ensure that the individuals feel safe during these conversations and do not allow the individuals to get defensive as the prime purpose of such conversations is not just feedback but is also to build relationship and trust by listening and providing support.

If built into the daily work routine this process can cause real transformation in the team dynamics.One on one conversations is a non negotiable feature of the OKR framework.

If implemented correctly the weekly check- in process improves the performance of the individuals. There are six main Benefits to the one on one meetings.

Managing the weekly check in process more effectively

The process can be implemented more effectively by following some basic methods,

  • Request the team members to update the tracking document before the meeting
  • Make a list of all issues that require the managers support
  • Make a list of all challenges the individual is facing or likely to face .

By doing the above, your meetings can be more effective and time can be spent on solving problems and answering the questions.

Are you soft pedaling the feedback process?

Are managers holding back negative feedback with the fear of losing their people? They are afraid of losing resources from the team. But it is not fair to the resources. By doing so, you are neither advancing them nor helping them to develop their potential.You fail to see the upside of what a good goal management framework can do and deliver.if you want your team members to feel good and motivated about what they are doing, they need reinforcement in both directions. Both positive and negative feedback will help them grow . Feedback encourages forward movement.

Every individual wants their work to be meaningful. They would like their managers to be caring about them and be invested in their development.

Managers also need coaching and training in how to give feedback. This is a skill and not everyone is comfortable giving feedback.

Here is an interesting post by Arianna Huffington, Give Compassionate feedback while still being constructive . The post talks about the importance of correct delivery of the feedback .

Gallup research shows that only 26% of employees strongly agree that the feedback they receive helps them do better work. If the feedback is poorly developed then it makes team members disengaged.

For making OKR initiative a success turn your digital exchange with your team members into an in person conversation that helps to build the trust. Be a coach to your team and encourage them to receive and give feedback.

Check out my other article about OKR

Best Regards,

Vaidyanathan Ramalingam

OKR Consultant, Founder & CEO

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