What is an OKR?
Objectives and Key results are used to measure success and drive teams to strive for perfection and efficiency. Made popular through Google-adoption, OKRs have stormed ahead of traditional approaches of objective and performance metrics within the tech-industry.
How can OKRs be used in product teams?
OKRs have been made popular through their ability to work across multiple levels of a business. They can be used at the very top to drive business success and growth down to an employee to measure their personal goals. Applying OKRs to products is a relatively straightforward process when you follow several simple steps:
1. Get the whole team involved Remember that OKRs are supposed to be transparent throughout the entire organisation, in a place where every employee can see them at any time; the same strategy should be employed with product level OKRs. When the team is involved in setting these OKRs, they are inherently transparent and you have the added benefit of empowering your team to be successful.
2. Use numerics to ensure OKRs can be measured As with all key results, there should /always/ be a numerical figure in a key result. Without this, the OKR is too difficult to track. What defines “Successful MVP Launch”? To some, launching an MVP is a success. Good key results should be measurable and should be a guide on how to achieve the objective.
3. Finally, DO keep up with OKRs on a weekly basis Here is the hardest part of using OKRs within product teams. In order to utilise the power of them, you must attend to them once a week. This involves keeping track of how the team is doing, how they could improve to meet the key result and if you’re on track for your objective.
So, with the extra added effort of Objectives and Key Results over KPIs, is it really worth integrating it within products? What do you get in return for your hard work?
If you follow the steps to integrating OKRs throughout your product teams, you get team buy-in, a more proactive method of tracking progress and huge output. As OKRs are meant to be set extremely optimistically, if they are integrated correctly, everyone is driven to achieve an unachievable goal. Done incorrectly, this can dishearten teams and cause a hit to morale, but this is where team-involvement and education is vital. Integrating OKRs without consulting and empowering the team will cause them to fear of not meeting the objectives - the reverse will elevate their work ethic, enhance innovation and drive them to be successful. It will spread the product or company vision throughout the team and let them feel included whereas traditional methods are inherently hierarchical and antiseptic.
Using OKRs within product teams is not only possible, it is advisable. The old methods of key performance indicators are reserved for teams of waterfall methodology - OKRs are the vision of what Agile should be, ever changing, rapid and actionable.