Goal setting, OKRs

OKR and Agile for Goal Setting

By on December 22, 2021

OKR and agile for Goal Setting

The basics of OKR may sound simple enough to understand, but implementing them isn’t easy. That’s why the process of continuous feedback is included in the framework, so that any issues that are encountered during the implementation or execution process can be ironed out in an efficient way.

OKRs and Agile

The principles of agile manifesto are spiritually close to that of OKRs, as both frameworks focus on constant upgrades or tinkering to the process until the goals se are achieved.



The priority is given to customer satisfaction, by ensuring continuous delivery of valuable software.

Providing support to achieve top-level goals gets the maximum priority, where team & individual goals play a huge part.

Welcome changing requirements, even late in development.

Objectives can be changed during the execution phase, so that the teams are in line with reality instead of achieving a non-priority goal.

Delivering working solutions frequently is given importance – the shorter the timeframe, the better.

Frequent progress updates can act as confidence check-ins to help team members stay on track.

Teams focusing on the business aspect and development should collaborate on a regular basis to ensure the success of the project.

Aligning OKRs across functionalities can result in increased collaboration between teams and individuals.

Projects are built around employees that are motivated to get the task done. Organizations should provide them with the means of doing so and give them the freedom to get things done.

OKRs are decided by collaborating with individual employees who decide how they can support their team and organization, under the guidance of managers.

Agile favours face to face communication to convey information to & with a development team.

Frequent check-ins between the manager and members of the team is an essential part of OKRs. The meetings happen at regular intervals to track progress.

Working software is the primary measure of progress.

The primary measure of progress in OKRs is through Key results that clearly define what success and failure look like in the given scenario.

Agile processes promote sustainable development where all stakeholders involved can maintain a constant rate of growth in perpetuity.

Agreeing on the frequency of OKR reviews and feedback process beforehand ensures employees adhere to the schedule more often than not.

Agile processes are achieved by paying constant attention to technical excellence and good design.

The chances of disruptive success can be increased by tracking results under OKRs, instead of tracking only activities.

Processes that aim at maximizing the amount of work done are important.

The limitations placed on the number of OKR assigned to an employee or team to 3 -5. Only important goals and needs are focussed on.

Agile process focuses on individuals who are driven – the teams in the process are self-organized and cover all bases required for the successful execution of the project.

More than half of OKRs are set from the bottom up. This makes individual employees and teams stakeholders in the success of the project they’re working on.

At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes & adjusts its behaviour accordingly.

OKR grading as an opportunity to reflect on how to fine-tune the process & improve behaviour.

Organizations that are using agile processes to streamline the everyday workings of their projects can derive a lot of benefit from transitioning to OKRs. Strategically using both can help organizations to guide day-to-day activities through agile processes, and short & mid-term goal setting can be tacked by OKRs.

Implementing OKR for agile teams in Jira

Agile teams can pick from many methods to track (and measure) progress – like KPIs, SMART goals, or MBOs. Choosing OKRs above them can be beneficial when teams need to prioritize projects while having a streamlined business goal-setting methodology. Well-planned OKRs in agile teams reduce risks and allow team members to plan their sprints without unexpected surprises.

Features like Jira Roadmap and issue status can be of help during the monitoring of the project’s progress while establishing a clear line of responsibility that reveals overall goals. Team collaboration can improve too, along with the motivation factor and visibility.

Aligning OKR for agile teams in Jira

OKRs are inherently agile: they make the process of regular monitoring easy, along with the tracking of key results. The objectives and key results are re-evaluated regularly and modified to reflect the current needs of the organization (or team). This makes OKRs aligned with a business goal at all times. An agile organization can get the most out of the framework by adopting both individual and team OKRs.

Individual OKRs help in setting and tracking the development goals of individual employees, and team OKRs do the same for the team as a whole. Team OKRs are created collaboratively and help in building accountability and motivation through the team (or organization). These collaborative team OKRs allow at-a-glance reports that come in handy in agile teams, freeing up more time to focus on work. Once the right goals are identified, they can be added and tracked in Jira like an issue – and a lot more can be done with the help of specialized OKR extensions.

Monitoring and evaluating OKR for agile teams in Jira

Understanding how goal setting works is essential before attempting to introduce OKRs in agile teams. From establishing the organization’s mission to enabling employees to set their goals in line with the objective, knowing how to go about OKRs can result in solid objectives that can be tracked using simple, easy to understand key results.

Collaborating on objectives allows team members to understand the need for OKRs, while giving them a chance to contribute to the growth. By taking the opinion of team members and other stakeholders, managers can determine which objectives are important and which ones can be tabled for later. This also gives clarity on various aspects of the process, like the goals and measures, ownership and current status, among others.

Reviewing before execution can highlight mismatches between the expected results and reality. This also allows for key results to be reviewed and dependencies to come to the fore. This is often ignored because OKRs are supposed to be reviewed and evolved, but starting on a strong note can ensure success and reduce uncertainty.

Timely reviews and feedback sessions are important for the success of OKRs. Within Jira, a simple @mention can notify relevant stakeholders of any updates, and sets the stage for discussions (and revisions).

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