You’ve read “Measure What Matters,” John Doerr’s New York Times bestseller. Perhaps you’ve also viewed Rick Klau’s YouTube video, “How Google Sets Goals.” You’ve researched companies such as Google, Intel, Intuit, and LinkedIn to see how they use OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) to drive superior execution. You’ve done your due diligence and determined that OKRs and CFRs (Conversations, Feedback, and Recognition) are precisely what your company needs to gain alignment, create a culture of accountability, and accelerate growth.
Maybe you’ve even implemented a pilot OKR program using a Microsoft Office or Google Sheets application. (Not a bad idea for your first cycle on OKRs). And now it’s time for a dedicated, cloud-based software solution for your goal-setting system.
Where do you start? What do you look for in a provider? Read on, and we’ll answer these and other questions you may have regarding OKR Software.
A Roadmap to Initiating Your OKR Software Search
Large corporations such as Google and Intel have developed proprietary software platforms for setting, tracking, and monitoring OKRs for their thousands of contributors. However, for most companies this is impractical, they simply don’t have the internal resources. As the first step in your selection process we suggest you carefully determine and document your requirements. We turn to two OKR masters, Paul Niven and Ben Lamorte in their book, “Objectives and Key Results:”
- How many people will be using the OKR tools
- Is the tool to be used at the executive level only, for teams, for individuals
- Will you be scoring OKRs
- Do you want software that allows gamification
- Will you be using a weekly cadence for Check-Ins
Another important consideration is the target customer of the various software suppliers. Do they target large corporations, mid-sized, or smaller companies? Which are best suited to your company and your requirements?
Armed with your requirements, and a list of potential providers, let’s discuss features and benefits of OKR Software:
What Makes a Truly Robust, Dedicated, Cloud-Based OKR Software Platform
The best OKR Software platforms are powerful, easy to use, and affordable. Insist upon a solution that encompasses both elements of the methodology; OKRs, the goal-setting function; and, CFRs, the continuous performance management function, the “human voice” of the system. A solution that only addresses one of these means that you will not do the system or your company justice.
Key features of the more robust systems:
Alignment, software should accommodate the cascading of OKRs, but also allow for bottom-up goal setting by individuals. Visual Alignment Charts should illustrate how OKRs cascade from one level to the next.
Scalability, the ability to set Objectives for every level of the company. The capability to track OKR progress and monitor results. The capacity to manage and store the feedback from Check-Ions and Conversations.
Agility, a system that is fully capable of executing against your chosen cadence, we highly recommend quarterly Objectives and Key Results and weekly Check-Ins, but seek a system that can adapt to quarterly, or annual Objectives as well.
The system should generate automated prompts for Check-Ins and progress reports.
Visibility, another best practice is 360° visibility of other team’s and individual’s OKRs. This feature will enable teams to identify cross-dependencies and areas for collaboration. Visibility also accommodates peer-to-peer Recognition, a motivational key.
Connectivity that allows for horizontal alignment of OKRs as well as vertical cascading. This feature will enable you to visualize how OKRs connect.
Customizable progress reports for senior leadership, or to inform the agenda for Team meetings should be available at the click of a button.
A robust solution will also feature integrations to other apps for ease of accessing data.
OKR Software is More Than Just Software
Adapting to an OKR environment can be a bit challenging at first. A quality SaaS provider will have answers to your questions and solutions to your problems. Most importantly they will assign a Customer Success Manager who will be with you every step of the way.
Although OKRs are a simple methodology with a rather simple language, we do not recommend implementation until your contributors are adequately trained on the protocol and the software. Once again, a quality SaaS partner will have the resources to coach your teams up to proficiency.
We hope this article has provided answers as to how to conduct your search for an OKR Software solution and what features you should be seeking.
Do you manage a company or teams (either as a CEO, a senior executive, a middle manager or even a front-line manager)? Do you set and track objectives? Does aligning employee performance to business goals matter, and are you responsible for driving results? If so, please check out a live demo of Atiim OKR & Goals Management Software and we’d love to hear what you think about it. Thank you!