Processing the processes
Getting the fundamentals of OKR right
Retrospecting via Grades
For a smooth OKR adoption, the adopting organization may need to tweak a few nuts & bolts, to match the process to its DNA. During the process streamlining facet of OKR adoption, the OKR champions & executive sponsors in the organization should consistently keep an eye on the adoption metrics, based on goal setting documentation created earlier. The agile principle of ‘people over processes’ is a good rule of thumb to follow during streamlining. There is no right or wrong process, and the most suitable ones can be arrived at with a few adjustments.
Progress of Objective/Key Result ≠ grades
50% progress on a difficult-to-achieve stretch goal due to skilful execution and mindful strategy can very well be graded 0.8+, while 90% progress on an easy goal that was achieved due to unconsidered factors (and not execution effort), can get a 0.3 or 0.4
Previous OKR Grades lead to creation of new OKRs
The assessment can be used to identify weak points like insufficient cross-functional collaboration
Grades ≠ compensation management process
Tying compensation to OKR grades cat adversely impact the spirit of setting stretch goals, as affinity towards easy to achieve goals would increase. Defining tentative grades, like 50-70% progress would mean a grade of 0.75 and 71-90% would mean 0.85, can help.
Refining the Process
As with all new processes, the first cycle of OKR adoption might not be an out & out success. The interpretation of different recommended guidelines will vary over a period of time, and keeping all stakeholders on an even keel is important - team & company level retrospectives at least twice every quarter can provide the necessary direction. The focus on creating an environment where employees can voice their opinions, be it through anonymous surveys or an open door policy, will be useful in assessing the effectiveness of OKRs.
Simple questions such as the ones below, can provide an clear picture:
On a scale from 1 to 10, how much do you think setting OKRs helped you in the last quarter?
Any specific reasons for your score to the last question?
What can we improve to make OKRs more useful for achieving your personal as well as our company goals?
Any other feedback to make OKRs work for us?
The feedback received can be discussed in detail in all hands/town hall meetings, and concerns that employees may have raised can be addressed.
The frequency of the progress updates is a good indicator of OKR adoption. If the OKRs of employees are getting updated every few weeks, it is a good sign; opening a dialogue with the ones who are not as frequent, can help uncover bottlenecks and obstacles.
Here are some of the easy to track metrics for monitoring OKR adoption:
No of progress updates every couple of weeks
No of comments created on OKRs
No of cross functionally aligned OKRs
Alignment percentages at different OKR levels
Resources, views and opinions on creating a collaborative and innovative workspace