• Carsten Ley

No time for OKRs? - How to easily get started with OKRs

Updated: Aug 19, 2020

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic more companies would like to switch to a flexible, aligned and actionable 3 months planning system that OKRs provide. However, a recurring theme among managers is that they do not have time for the "implementation". Here is a quick guide for what your really need:

Implementing OKRs (Objectives & Key Results) cannot be compared to a lengthy system implementation, or a complete overhaul of the given management techniques you probably have in your company. These usually include the likes of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), MBO (Management by Objective), BSC (Balanced Score Card) or others. OKRs offer a step by step change management process and it is important that you make a start now rather than aiming for the perfect implementation.

Here are the 4 steps you need to consider as a time and resource investment:

1. Is my company and management ready for OKRs? (Regarding culture, leaders, structure, etc.)

OKRs typically lead to a higher alignment, transparency and bottom-up communication within the organization. Starting in the first quarter with company OKRs aligned by the wider management is a great first step. However, you need to make sure that your leaders are willing to share their previous "silo-ed" department power into a system where everybody in the company gets weekly progress updates and is empowered to ask questions or to have ideas. This is rather a check than an investment of time or resources.

For more about culture & OKRs, please read our blog on: https://www.okrasia.com/post/is-your-company-ready-for-okrs

2. Can we align in our management team on 3-5 priorities for the next quarter?

Setting up Objectives is not very difficult, however the management team needs to be willing to create focus and alignment for a 3 months period (6 months could also be possible). Every Objective should have 2-4 measurable Key Results to be able to track the achievement from multiple angles. This takes half to one full-day workshop for the wider management and besides, OKRs is probably a great investment in the steering of the company for every quarter - Asia PMO could facilitate this workshop.

3. How can we set-up a OKR tracking system with an OKR tool or Excel sheet?

Once the Objectives and Key Results for the Quarter are defined we can set-up a tracking to understand if the department or team actions have an impact on the OKRs and bring the Key Results closer to 70 or 100%. This could be done quickly in Excel or a cloud tool within one day and implemented by Asia PMO

4. Can we track the department / team actions weekly against the OKRs?

We believe that most companies do have already an action or project management tracking system. We could use the outcome of this systems or any updates of department / team leaders to easily track the OKRs versus the actions on a weekly basis. This involves a weekly meeting or report input by the leaders responsible for each OKR. Asia PMO is typically facilitating these meetings during the first quarter.

4. Can we set-up a weekly communications of OKR development to the company?

Again, we believe that most companies have report capabilities or communication tools which we could leverage for transparent OKR updates and alignments. Alternatively an OKR tool could be used for that.

This involves a weekly update or report input by the leaders responsible for single OKRs. Asia PMO could support to set-up this weekly communication by email or any easy of the shelf OKR tool.

In a nutshell, implementing OKRs by starting on a company or team level does not involve much time or resource investment. It requires rather the openness of management to share objective settings and result updates and a disciplined action management tracking and reporting by the departments or teams to have a weekly transparent overview where the 3-5 company priorities for this quarter are at, in any given time.

If you are interested to implement OKRs in your company in one of the next quarter, please contact us or leave a comment here.

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