Goal setting

Why set OKR in JIRA for effective adoption?

By on November 8, 2016

Objectives & Key Results is a goal-setting framework brought to fame by its adoption at Google. Google uses OKR to build a high-performing team to ensure everyone’s efforts align. Another way OKRs have benefited Google is by making all involved aware of each other’s goals. Individual contributors at the lowest level can easily find out what the leadership’s goals for the current cycle are.

Even before Google, it was Intel that adopted the OKR framework. Intel came out with flying colors while transitioning its business to microprocessors. Its leadership does attribute this successful transition to the focus that OKRs bring.

Today, OKRs are no more limited to Silicon Valley. Teams all over the world are embracing this agile goal-setting approach. Compared to traditional performance management tools, the number of OKR software available in the market are limited. And start-ups, SMBs cannot afford to use the ones that exist.

What is JIRA?

JIRA is a project management tool developed by Australian tech start-up Atlassian. Thousands of companies in different verticals use JIRA for managing projects & day-to-day activities. Atlassian has an ecosystem of add-ons that enhance JIRA’s capabilities in different directions.

What is UpRaise for Employee Success?

It is possible to create ‘Objective’ and ‘Key Result’ type custom issues in JIRA inside of an ‘OKR project’. This approach can help to a certain extent but imposes limitations while scaling. UpRaise is tailor-made to manage OKR in JIRA.

UpRaise is an add-on for the project management tool JIRA. It extends JIRA’s powerful feature set. Adds goal setting, continuous feedback & performance review capabilities. The primary focus of UpRaise is to bring agility in employee performance management.

OKR in JIRA – but why?

Below we explore a few of the reasons why it makes uber sense to set & track your team’s objective & key results in JIRA.

1. JIRA is a tool of daily usage

JIRA tracks all the tasks & activities related to the project. It is imperative for team members as well as managers to log in to JIRA on a daily basis. There’s no substitute.

The usual problem that teams face when it comes to goal tracking- set and forget. If you ought to use a different application for OKR tracking , things will start slipping through. If OKRs are set in JIRA they are visible to you without any change in routine.

2. Long term goals with short term projects & tasks

Centralize the long-term goals with short-term projects, tasks in JIRA and start providing context to everyone involved. This gives purpose to the individual contributors and they know what the end goal of their day-to-day tasks is.

Combining these two is a prudent move. It contributes to increased motivation levels & employee engagement. The reason is obvious, people get bored with their routines. When they have the bigger picture at the back of their mind, happy & productive work culture is just a step away.

3. Tight coupling with JIRA issues as Key Results

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if one could connect the day-to-day activities with long-term goals? Well, if you are linking those two why not auto-update progress on your OKR in real-time?

That is where UpRaise comes into play. UpRaise lets you create objectives and then link JIRA issues as key results to those objectives. When you update a JIRA issue, this progress auto-rolls up to the linked objectives. That is super helpful because you are still doing what you used to do before – update JIRA issues. But that action now gives you better visibility into how it affects the larger scheme of things.

4. No separate application, everything in JIRA

Most helpful of all, there is no separate application for managing OKRs. Everything is in JIRA. No need to remember an extra set of credentials or put in place SSO.

UpRaise solves the notorious problem of low adoption rates for goals management applications. Adoption rates skyrocket within days. Because there is no adoption, it’s in your JIRA already adopted!

5. If using the JIRA server, you control the data

JIRA comes in two flavors – Cloud & Server. If using the JIRA server, you completely control the data. This is beneficial for security-sensitive companies.

If there is the same kind of sensitivity towards OKR data, setting them up in JIRA makes your life easy. UpRaise stores all your data within your JIRA server database.

Want to try out UpRaise for your team? Head to the Atlassian Marketplace. Here is an infographic that explains the key differences between UpRaise and other traditional tools.

2 thoughts on “Why set OKR in JIRA for effective adoption?”

  1. Attaching projects to OKRs may feel like a good idea as it saves you time and automation lets your brain rest. But it doesn’t help in the effort to make more people at your company think strategic and long term. Only 13% feel engaged around work globally, and around the same mere amount has a clear perception of company’s overall strategy. Strategic Focus is hard work – but that doesn’t mean it should be neglected or kept to only management imho. Everyone in an organization is an expert and htat is the big value of OKRs – it help lift each person’s views from the every day work and try to define what the long term strategic focus should be.

    So coming up with the long term focus should not be done through the lens of current projects and ToDo’s. Check out Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” to learn more about this thinking.

    I am not saying that Upraise is good or bad for the above, since I haven’t tried your software, I am just saying that there is a big risk to consider when attaching OKRs to a project platform.

    (disclaimer: I am the founder of an OKRs tool which has the opposite approach, so please do your own research and form your own opinion on the matter – happy to discuss and learn more about opposite thoughts here and elsewhere).

    1. Thanks for your comment Johan.

      OKR implementation certainly has different flavours. While using OKRs companies tend to add their own cultural fabric to the mix.
      Intention of bringing an OKR tool to your main toolsets is two folds – 1) people don’t create OKRs and then forget about it by putting it somewhere they wouldn’t even remember 2) have the ability to connect OKRs to day-to-day tasks & projects (in that priority).

      Of course the 2nd one is completely optional. If you belong to a school of thought that doesn’t want to associate routine tasks with OKRs, just don’t do it. UpRaise will still work as any other OKR tool would.

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