How OKR Software Helps to Measure What Matters

In this article, we’ll review in details how OKR Software helps to measure what matters for any organisation.

OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) is the goal-setting methodology first introduced by Andy Grove at Intel in the mid-seventies. The protocol was popularized by Rick Klau of Google Ventures in his ninety-minute YouTube presentation, “How Google Sets Goals: OKRs” in 2013. And now the system has exploded back onto the scene with John Doerr’s “Measure What Matters.”

High performing organizations everywhere are implementing the methodology to gain a competitive edge in strategy execution. OKRs have given us a new language for discussing goal management. We now speak of agility, cascading, collaboration, check-ins, feedback, and bi-directional communication. And, a key benefit not to be overlooked, alignment.

In this blog, we’ll review some of the most crucial elements and best practices of OKRs according to the gospel of John Doerr, and “Measure What Matters.” And, we’ll review how a best-in-class OKR software platform, helps to measure what matters and enables the protocols’ most effective execution.

At Atiim (pronounced A-Team) we designed a simple, yet powerful cloud-based software to bring the entire OKR lifecycle into one system. Our goals platform is rooted in Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) as presented in Measure What Matters.

Our software and our processes help high-performance companies and teams set clear objectives, improve internal alignment, focus on what truly matters, and ultimately achieve better results.

What John Doerr Says About OKR Software in “Measure What Matters”

One of the limitations of MBOs and other protocols that manage corporate objectives is that they didn’t really have a home. They didn’t have a place where people could connect with the targets regularly. Without frequent status updates, the goals would become irrelevant, and the gap between planned accomplishments and reality would widen by the day.

Contrast the above with the fact that people are most engaged when they can see how their contributions further the company’s priorities.

Per John Doerr, enter OKR Software.

“As the bar for structured goal-setting rises, more organizations are adopting robust, dedicated, OKR Management Software.”

He goes on to list some of the features of a best-in-class OKR software platform:

  • Automatic prompts and updates
  • Sophisticated analytics
  • Reporting tools
  • Real-time alerts
  • Integrations with other Apps at use in the organization such as
    1. Salesforce
    2. Jira
    3. Zendesk

And most importantly, Doerr stated that a best-in-class platform would allow users to “navigate a single dashboard to set, track, manage, and score their OKRs.”

Such a platform would deliver the key benefits of the OKR methodology. They would enable everyone in the organization to see every other team’s objectives and progress, thereby driving engagement and commitment. This visibility creates teamwork and promotes internal networking while eliminating duplication and silos. And crucially important, the software would save time and money, while reducing the frustration of other protocols.

Best Practices from Measure What Matters

Superpower #1: Focus and Commit to Priorities

Best in class OKR software providers assist in the onboarding process as well as setting the initial top corporate objectives through a Customer Success Manager. Like Doerr, our CSMs recommend your leadership answer the question, “What is the most important thing we can do for the next three months, (or six, or twelve) that can truly make a difference.” Together our CSM and your OKR lead develop a set of carefully curated initial goals. To aid in the dissemination of these OKRs, we utilize Goal Alignment Charts. These charts ensure the organization’s top priorities cascade to departments and teams.

In keeping with another Doerr best practice, Atiim software accommodates bottom-up planning as well as top down. Departments and teams then contribute to their personal OKRs, always in support of the company’s top priorities.

Superpower #2: Align and Connect for Teamwork

To achieve the second Superpower, OKR software provides visibility of both vertical and horizontal goals. This provides a line of sight for everyone to see department, team, and individual goals throughout the organization. Horizontal visibility encourages collaboration and teamwork across departments and teams, versus redundancies and silos. This transparency, enabled by OKR Software drives higher employee engagement and accountability throughout the organization.

Superpower #3: Track for Accountability

Check-ins are one of the imperatives in an OKR implementation. Great OKR software provides automated prompts to encourage employees to complete their regularly scheduled Check-Ins to monitor progress. These brief meetings/reports capture progress towards goal achievement and identify any Key Results “at risk” so that course correction may occur in real time.

Taking this accountability a step further, OKR software prepares Engagement Reports to provide OKR leads with information relative to Check-In compliance. Are all teams and employees completing their Check-Ins, and, are managers reading and responding to the information included in these reports?

Management can track progress via standard and customized reports, such as a Monday Morning Report. This report allows senior leadership to monitor weekly progress, quickly, painlessly, and on a single pane of glass. For any Key Result “at risk,” the executive can then drill down through departments, teams, and even to the individual contributor level.

Superpower #4: Stretch for Amazing

A Doerr (and Google) best practice is “moonshots.” These aspirational goals tend to be big picture, have higher risk involved, and require the focus and commitment of the entire organization. These stretch goals energize and motivate the workforce, and can produce amazing results, even if they do not achieve a perfect 1.0 rating.

In “Measure What Matters,” author John Doerr tells us that Google employs two types of OKR goals; Committed and Aspirational. Committed goals should be realized at 100% achievement, 100% of the time. Aspirational, or stretch goals, have very different expectations. We recommend most organizations utilize a combination of initiatives, some more mundane, and some stretch, or aspirational.

As John Doerr states, “When shooting for the moon, even if you miss, you may reach the stars.”

Studies validate, the harder the goal, the higher the level of absolute performance.

 Other Best Practices

John Doerr goes to some length to emphasize the need for employee education and training on OKRs. With its seemingly easy language and simplicity of the process, many companies don’t see the need. A great software provider will include initial employee training, ongoing education, certification classes, and resources such as eBooks, White Papers, Infographics, Webinars, and educational blogs. Recapping each best practice could well take an entirely new book. We attempted to address those items that best illustrate how OKR Software helps to Measure What Matters. We hope you found the article helpful.

Do you manage a company or teams (either as a CEO, a senior executive, or middle 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!

Image Credit: Al Ghazali on Unsplash

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