Dispelling OKR Myths: Every OKR Must be Completed

It is said that OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) is a simple methodology with a simple language. There are no hard and fast rules, and there is no GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles). So, much of what has been written of OKRs, taught by consultants, and espoused by OKR Software providers, is open to interpretation. As a result, we have misinterpretations, misunderstandings, and outright “Myths” about the process.

This series of blogs will debunk many of the most prevalent misconceptions.

OKR Myth #15: Once an OKR is set you must see it through to completion

In his bestseller, “Measure What Matters,” author John Doerr reminds us that OKRs are not set in stone, they are adaptable to business circumstances. The beauty of a dedicated, cloud-based OKR Software platform is that it updates progress to goals in real-time.

If a goal is in jeopardy, it may be red-flagged as “at risk.” Management has several options at this point.

  • They can address obstacles or roadblocks and maintain the OKR
  • They can amend or adapt the OKR as circumstances dictate
  • They can eliminate the OKR if it has outlived its usefulness

If the OKR is an important, more Aspirational-type of goal management may choose to roll the OKR over from one quarter to the next. In the example used in Doerr’s book relating to Google Chrome, Sundar Pichai, continued to roll-over its OKR for several years until completed.

Conversely, if an OKR is not contributing to driving innovation and better results, there is no logical reason to persist.

Of course, none of the above actions can be implemented if OKRs are not tracked and graded on a continuous basis, further stressing the need for regular Check-Ins, Conversations, and Feedback.

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!


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