For a thorough walk through of OKRs, take a look at our blog post: OKRs-Everything You Need To Know.
- 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
- Performance: OKRs are not synonymous with employee performance evaluations
Make sure to set a specific cadence for your OKRs. They are time based with the most common cadence being quarterly, meaning that an objective is to be achieved every three months.
- Annual OKRs are extremely common as well and are frequently used in tandem with quarterly OKRs.
- Smaller teams that work at a higher velocity could choose a shorter cadence
Crowning An OKR Champion
Blog: What Is An OKR Champion?
Selecting an OKR champion, someone who will drive the adoption and implementation of this methodology in the organization, is crucial to the initial and overall success.
- The champion will help determine the process including the cadence and check-in schedule (discussed below in OKR Management)
- They are the OKR expert
- They choose and manage OKR tools (excel, sticky notes or Gtmhub)
Best Practice Tip: Have 2 or 3 "backup" champions, people that work closely with the OKR champion. If the champion leaves the company or goes on maternity leave for example, having someone to keep the OKR process running is very important.
Objectives Vs. Key Results
Objectives should be limited to 3-5 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 uncomfortable to say
- Google considers success achieving 70% of an objective
- Why set these goals if they're not going to be ambitious and push you, your company or your team to improve and accomplish great things?
- Example: Become Top Salesperson This Quarter
Key Results should be limited to 3-5 per objective
- Key Results are quantitative and measurable ("Sell $100k this quarter" rather than "Sell as much as I can")
- They are actionable steps that if all are completed, means you've accomplished your objective
-Beat Quota By Selling $2m
-Close 25 Deals
-Increase Renewals To 85%
Best Practice Tip: Use the Gtmhub Marketplace to install OKR examples
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 (or the session cadence you choose), there will be the overall company OKRs that filter down to the department/team OKRs, which then end with individual OKRs.
The example below gives a visualization of how this can work:
Blog: Who Should Own OKRs
There's three different options for OKR ownership:
- Top Down: The manager comes up with OKRs and assigns them to his/her reports
- Bottom Up: Individuals and teams come up with OKRs, while taking into account company’s mission, vision and company OKRs
- Negotiation: The manager and individual negotiate the objective and key results together. Typically, the manager will communicate his/her objectives and ask the individual “How can you help me achieve my objectives?”
A few basic rules about OKR ownership:
- Employees without decision making authority should not own company aligned OKRs
-Exception is individual, non-aligned OKRs
- Employees with full decision making authority should always own OKRs.
-Objectives are usually vague
-Manager usually comes up only with an objective, employee with KRs
- Employees with some decision making authority should always own OKRs
-Objectives are usually specific
-Manager has input on KRs
When it comes to OKR ownership it typically makes the most sense for Key Results to be owned by an individual. That way they are solely responsible for updating the progress of that KR.
Once the OKRs are created, how should they be managed? When are they updated?
This is a crucial piece of the OKR methodology and is what drives progress, ultimately brining you to the completion of your OKRs.
OKRs need to be updated and depending on your OKR cadence (as referenced in the OKR Planning section) should be updated weekly or bi-weekly.
- This keeps co-workers in the loop
- Helps identify any roadblocks or challenges
- Boosts happiness
- Increases success rate
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.
For example, if your Customer Success team has team as well as individual OKRs, it's a lot easier to discuss the progress on those rather than gathering the entire company and running through each OKR for every team. At another level, maybe if your Customer Success team is rather 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.
Best Practice Tip
If you are new to the OKR methodology and implementation, we recommend having these check-in meetings each week. That way team members get used to OKRs, updating progress, and identifying/discussing challenges they're facing.