• Carsten Ley

Why should you manage your projects by OKRs?

An agile evolution from Operations to Project Portfolio to OKR management, here are 4 ways that OKRs can help you manage your projects.


In my previous role as Head of PMO (Project Management Office) we prepared weekly project portfolio management overviews to understand how initiatives or innovation projects were performing in regards to schedule, budget, scope and risks. This was a weekly snapshot to enable the management team to react on a cross-functional level and balance resources for critical projects and align the right prioritizations.


Project Portfolio Management Snapshot


1. OKRs can help identify and set-up cross-functional projects


Objectives & Key Results focuses the company on 3 - 5 priorities for each quarter. During our various OKR set-ups and workshops with clients we realized that these priorities often lead to cross-functional projects, as various teams have tasks which can achieve market leadership, profit, productivity, better customer experience, etc. So we can already, from an early planning stage, identify which teams and individuals need to collaborate to achieve cross-functional company goals.


2. OKRs can help foster and track cross-functional achievements


OKRs typically measure team achievements versus defined and measurable key results. If a key result can be achieved by multiple functions we can foster and honor their common achievements rather than thinking in silos. Weekly OKR reviews can also lead to faster cross-functional alignments and tracking OKRs in a tool leads to full transparency between teams & individuals. The base idea is to encourage and compensate team achievements against key results rather than individual or departmental performance.


3. OKRs can help identify bottlenecks in the organization


In order to achieve a common goal, the organization needs the right priorities and resources. By defining priorities and measurable key results for the next quarter, OKRs lay ground for basic project set-ups regarding resources requirements in skills, manpower and budget. We can only achieve and commit to next quarter results if these resources are provided and if everybody is aligned.


Related: read our blog on OKR + A (actions)


4. OKRs can help avoid scope issues


Limiting OKRs to 3 - 5 goals, helps to focus the project teams and to avoid scope risks by clarifying with the teams before the next quarter what is achievable within departments and projects. Besides, OKRs can provide a great overview between departmental tasks & resource needs and project ones.





OKRs can help to prepare and highlight a lot of aspects previously covered by Operations & Project Portfolio Management as the glue between strategy and execution. OKR is a mid-term planning tool to focus and align the company on 3-5 goals for the next quarter which can provide the basics and underlying principles for a more robust Operations & Project Portfolio Management in companies. From our experience, OKR management could replace them, especially in start-ups and small / medium companies to save administration steps and to discuss the achievements and issues versus the targets on a weekly basis.


If you you need information on how OKRs can help your organization please contact us.





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