"OKRs have helped lead us to 10x growth, many times over."
- Larry Page, Alphabet CEO and Google Cofounder
Widely adopted in Silicon Valley giants such as AOL, Dropbox, LinkedIn, Oracle, Slack, Spotify and Twitter, OKRs have been accredited to being instrumental in the growth and success of these firms.
So what are OKRs?
OKRs are a simple management methodology that helps to ensure that the company focuses efforts on the same important issues throughout the organization. An abbrievation for Objectives and Key Results, where an Objectives are significant, concrete, action-oriented and inspirational goals and key results benchmark and monitor how team can reach and achieve the objectives - They are specific and time-bound, aggressive and realistic.
While it is not a silver bullet, it can give business leaders great visibility into an organization, keep the organization on time and on track if it is properly designed and deployed as fundamentals to guide teams towards great success. Andy Grove, the real-life Gandalf of the business world, was the creator of OKRs, and he implemented the OKRs in Intel way back in 1971, driven by a fastidious orientation towards achievement orientation.
Are OKRs only useful for large companies?
In small and medium enterprises, where people absolutely need to be pulling in the same direction with very finite or limited resources, OKRs are a survival tool as well as a shared language for execution, clarifying expectations on the whats and hows for the team to achieve their goals.
How do you implement OKRs in your company?
The following is a typical OKR cycle:
4 - 6 weeks before quarter
Senior leaders start brainstorming top-line company OKRs.
2 weeks before quarter
Finalize company OKRs and communicate them company-wide.
Start of quarter
Teams develop their own OKRs and share them at their meetings.
1 week after start of quarter
Individuals contributors contribute their own OKRs, which may be negotiated between contributors and managers.
Throughout the quarter
Employees measure and share their own progress, checking in regularly with their managers, and also assess how likely they are to achieve their OKRs.
Near end of quarter
Contributors score their OKRs, perform self-assessment and reflect on what they have achieved.
Technology tool to help you track your OKRs
As the saying goes, there's an app for everything - Here are several popular applications that can help you in the tracking of the company OKRs:
Weekdone is an OKR monitoring software established in the EU in 2009. It's a hassle-free weekly employee status reports, dashboard and feedback system that both managers and employees love.
Perdoo is an OKR software with an expert team of thought leaders in the OKR space, and provides a friendly user interface to guide the user in setting up the OKR hierarchy through the OKR wizard.
15Five is a continuous performance management suite that allows you to coach your employees as fast as you sprint. It offers hassle-free OKR tracking, alongside with the ability to conduct one on one meetings easily.
Doerr, John. (2018). Measure What Matters. New York: Portfolio / Penguin