Knowing classic and agile management systems, we looked for more effective methods that would be more flexible, improve communication, and positively impact the team's motivation and responsibility.
In this article, we would like to introduce you to the OKR method and how you can apply it in your own work.
Who is this article for?
Business owners and C-level staff - If you are looking for an effective method of achieving goals in your company, it is worth learning about the OKR method. It will allow you to define the main goals and results you want to achieve with your team.
Project Manager - If you run a project, you can use the OKR method in it.
Together with your team, you will set the goals and results of the project. OKR in a project can be a good start to convince the Management Board of this method's advantages and implement it throughout the company.
What is the OKR?
The OKR method enables the effective delivery of results consistent with the company's or project's strategy. The process is intended mainly for business management, but it can also be used in projects. OKR consists of a goal that defines what we want to achieve and 4-5 key results that measure progress towards achieving the goal. In the following chapters, we will describe the structure of the OKR in more detail. The key thing is to realize in the OKR method that a person who is lower in the organizational structure (e.g., a specialist, an employee), pursuing specific goals, may often know much more than managers higher in the system.
The OKR method gives specialists and employees more influence on shaping its development because they can define their own goals. It also allows employees to transfer plans up the hierarchy (called bottom-up), thus influencing the organization's story in a specific direction. In the classic management model, employees should agree on the actions taken with the senior manager. In the case of traditional management methods, problems are mainly escalated upwards. The Gmail project, initiated by Google employees, is a good example of grassroots initiatives influencing organizations' development.
- Clarity throughout the organization on what its resources are focusing on and what they are aiming for.
- The teams' goals and key results are measurable, and it is easy to conclude what should be changed in them.
- A culture of openness, which positively affects employees, translates into more significant commitment and morale.
- OKR is not a tool for awarding bonuses and for drawing consequences towards employees. Thanks to this, they can take ambitious risks.
- Linking the employee's own goals with the organization's goals emphasizes the greater sense of his work and has a measurable impact on the entire organization.
- Responsibility and regular review mean that employees often talk about their goals more often, analyze them and make more informed decisions.
- Ambitious goals allow teams and individual employees to step out of the safety/comfort zone and achieve more than the team deems possible. Employees are encouraged to focus on results rather than tasks. They can reflect on whether the goal really makes sense to the organization.
- OKR allows more generous use of an organization's wisdom, consisting of many people's skills and knowledge. By focusing on goals, OKR increases productivity.
- Everyone in the organization knows what the other person is focusing on, so there is no need for frequent reporting. It is also easier to talk to others in a matter-of-fact way when everyone knows what they are doing.
- Clarity of expectations and performance against which the success of the entire organization is measured.
Good OKR - meaning
It has two components:
Objective - the matter is simple here, and I will only emphasize what I wrote about earlier. It should be short, understandable, and unambiguous. One glance at the goal should be enough to know exactly what we are going and what we want to achieve.
Key Results - here, it gets a bit more complicated. While it is relatively easy to create some quantifiable results that we want to achieve, because we have been taught this before, in this case, we must remember that we define criteria here that are to "lead us" away from the competition.
OKRs are a very intuitive, simple technique of setting, planning, and achieving goals. Our teams worked a lot but didn't necessarily do what is most important; it resulted in chaos, a waste of energy and time. After the implementation of OKRs, the sense of shared responsibility and internal motivation increased. The framework perfectly improves internal communication quality - people know what other teams are doing, they see reason in performing their tasks. We only have a few more weeks to close the first sprint. Whether we can achieve the goal - remains to be seen. The most important thing is that we know where we are going, and we have a common tactic to cover the distance.