What is OKR the philosophy?

The OKR philosophy has the following pillars:

  • Ambitious
    Objectives are set just beyond the threshold of what seems possible
  • Measurable
    Key results are tied to tangible milestones
  • Transparent
    OKRs are viewable across the organization from the CEO down to the Intern
  • Performing
    OKRs are not synonymous with employee performance evaluations

What goes into and how should you plan your OKRs?

OKRs are time based.

  • The maturity of the OKRs is the session duration.
    The most common session duration is quarterly, meaning that an objective is to be achieved every three months.
    Annual OKRs are common as well and are frequently used together with quarterly OKRs.
  • The cadence of your session is the reporting interval of your OKRs.
    Make sure to set a specific cadence for your OKRs. It can be weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly.
    Smaller teams that work at a higher velocity could choose a shorter cadence.

Who is an OKR champion?

Selecting an OKR champion, someone who drives the adoption and implementation of this methodology in the organization, is crucial to the initial and overall success.

The champion helps determine the process including the cadence and the check-in schedule.

  • Champions are OKR experts.
  • They choose and manage the OKR tools.

BEST PRACTICE: Have two or three backup champions - people that work closely with the OKR champion. If the champion leaves the company or, for example goes on a leave, having someone to keep the OKR process running is very important.


What is the difference between and objective and key results?

Objectives

  • Objectives should be limited from three to five per owner - company, team, or individual.
  • Objectives are qualitative.
    An objective answers the question What do we want to achieve?
  • Objectives need to be ambitious and should feel demanding.

BEST PRACTICE: Consider success achieving 70% of an objective.

You should not set leisure goals that are not going to be ambitious and push you, your company, or your team to improve and accomplish great things.

Key results

  • Key results should be limited from three to five per objective
  • Key results are quantitative and measurable.
    For example, Sell $100k this quarter, rather than Sell as much as I can.
  • They are actionable steps that, if all completed, means you have accomplished your objective.

EXAMPLE: Examples of key results may be the following:

  • Beat quota by selling $2m
  • Close 25 deals
  • Increase renewals to 85%

NOTE: You can use the Gtmhub Marketplace to install OKR examples.
For more information, see Install OKRs from Gtmhub Marketplace.


How should I align my OKRs?

The most common way of aligning OKRs is annually and quarterly. You have the annual company objectives and from there it breaks down into quarterly OKRs.

Within each quarter, there will be the overall company OKRs that filter down to the team OKRs, which then end with individual OKRs.


Who owns OKRS?

There are three different approaches to OKR ownership:

  • Top down
    The manager creates and owns the OKRs
  • Bottom up
    Individuals and teams create the OKRs and consider the company’s mission and vision
  • Negotiation
    The manager and individual agree the objectives and key results together. Usually, the manager communicates the objectives and ask the team members to suggest the key results.

Basic rules for OKR ownership

  • Employees without decision making authority should not own company aligned OKRs
    Exceptions can be made for individual, non-aligned OKRs
  • Employees with full decision-making authority should always own OKRs.
    Objectives are usually general, not specific
    Manager usually comes up only with the objective, employees - with the key results
  • Employees with some decision-making authority should always own OKRs
    Objectives are usually specific
    Manager has input on the key results

When it comes to OKR ownership it makes the most sense for key results to be owned by an individual. This way, they are solely responsible for updating the progress of the key results.


How to Manage your OKRs?

Once the OKRs are created, how they should be managed and when they should be updated.

This is a crucial piece of the OKR methodology and it drives progress, ultimately brining you to the completion of your OKRs.

Update OKRs

OKRs need to be updated depending on your OKR cadence – weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.

  • This keeps co-workers in the loop
  • Helps identify any roadblocks or challenges
  • Boosts happiness
  • Increases success rate

Check-in meetings

Updating OKRs coincides with check-in meetings. These meetings should take place at the same cadence as the OKR updates and will typically happen at the same time - OKRs will be updated either during or right before the check-in meeting.

Check-ins will be held at a team or department level and will focus on the OKRs tied to the people involved.

EXAMPLE: If your Customer Success team has team, as well as individual OKRs, it is a lot easier to discuss the progress on these, rather than gathering the entire company and running through each OKR for every team. At another level, if your Customer Success team is large, these check-in meetings could happen with a team lead and those who report to them.

The goal is for straight forward and efficient check-ins to discuss the progress of your OKRs and any roadblocks or issues you may have.

RECOMMENDATION: If you are new to the OKR methodology and implementation, we recommend having these check-in meetings every week. That way team members get used to OKRs, updating progress, identifying and discussing the challenges they are facing.

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