How to Transition from Spreadsheets to Dedicated OKR Software

With the recent popularity of the OKR goal-setting methodology, many companies have opted to “test drive” the principles before engaging with a dedicated OKR Software provider. In his New York Times bestseller “Measure What Matters,” author John Doerr refers to OKRs as a simple goal-setting system, just three words, Objectives and Key Results. As compared to other sophisticated management theories and practices OKRs are relatively easy for the entire organization to understand.

Many OKR experts suggest your initial implementation be in a familiar format such as Excel or Google Docs. The concept is that your employees can learn the OKR principles and processes without having to learn the software simultaneously. After an initial cycle or two, however, most companies decide to transition to a more robust, dedicated, cloud-based OKR Software solution.

Deficiencies of a Spreadsheet Approach

First, let’s address why you need to transition from spreadsheets to a dedicated software:

  • The biggest issue with the spreadsheet approach is an inability to scale
  • Lack of transparency and visibility throughout the organization
  • Failure to enforce compliance issues
  • Inability to communicate across levels or horizontally
  • Doesn’t address CFRs (Conversations, Feedback, and Recognition)

Benefits of a Dedicated Software Execution

  • The ability to set and track OKRs at the company, department, team, and individual level
  • Top-down cascading of OKRs and bottom-up input from contributors
  • 360° visibility throughout the organization
  • Identifies cross-dependencies and encourages collaboration and teamwork
  • Automated prompts to ensure compliance
  • Customized reports

The Pivot from Spreadsheet to Software

To make the methodology sustainable most companies turn to a dedicated, cloud-based OKR Software system. The following are a list of steps required to make the transition as seamless as possible:

  • Determine precisely who will use the software; executives only, teams, departments, individuals
  • Decide the cadence you will employ, quarterly and/or annual OKRs, weekly Check-Ins
  • Appoint an executive OKR sponsor and an OKR shepherd, or champion to coordinate with your software provider
  • Assign OKR ownership to the appropriate department in your company, Finance, HR, Strategic Planning
  • Develop and communicate the implementation plan
  • Ensure software training has been completed at the appropriate levels
  • Develop initial corporate level OKRs
  • Schedule department and team meetings to communicate OKRs and gain alignment
  • Monitor progress continuously through Check-Ins and team meetings
  • At the end of the period score OKRs, reflect on learnings, begin the quarterly process again

We hope this article has provided insights as to why you need a dedicated OKR Software platform and provided ideas as to how to execute the transition.

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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