OKRs are living, breathing organisms. Their life cycle unfolds in three phases:
If you have 82,000 contributors to the OKR, general-purpose software (e.g.: Microsoft Word) doesn’t scale. If you share a goal that nobody sees, is the system truly transparent?
OKRs speak to something more powerful, the intrinsic value of the work itself. Cloud based platform deliver transformative OKR values:
- They make everyone’s goal more visible.
- They drive engagement
- They promote internal networking
- They save time, money and frustration.
For OKR system to function effectively, the team deploying it must adopt it universally. No exceptions, no opt-outs.
As we track and audit our OKRs, we have four options at any point in the cycle:
- Continue: if a green zone goal isn’t broken, don’t fix it.
- Update: Modify a yellow zone (“needs attention”) key results or objective to respond to changes in the workflow or external environment.
- Start: Launch a new OKR mid-cycle, whenever the need arises
- Stop: When a red zone (“at risk”) goal has outlived it’s usefulness, the best solution may be to drop it.
Wrap-up: Rinse and Repeat
Wrap-ups consist of three parts: objective scoring, subjective self-assessment, and reflection.
Google use a scale of 0 to 1.0:
- 0.7 to 1.0 = Green (We delivered)
- 0.4 to 0.6 = yellow (We made progress, but fell short of completion)
- 0.0 to 0.3 = red (We failed to make real progress)
If department so much as approached 100%, it was presumed to be setting its sights too low – and there would be hell to pay.
In evaluating OKR performance, objective data is enhanced by the goal setter’s thoughtful, subjective judgment. For any given gal in a given quarter, there may be extenuating circumstances. A weak showing by the numbers might hide a strong effort; a strong one could be artificially inflated.
“We do not learn from experience … we learn from reflecting on experience.”
Here are some reflections for closing out an OKR cycle:
- Did I accomplish all of my objectives? If so, what contributed to my success?
- If not, what obstacles did I encounter?
- If I were to rewrite a goal achieved in full, what would I change?
- What have I learned that might alter my approach to the next cycle’s OKRs?