The benefits of OKRs

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A company needs many things as important as teamwork for business growth. The OKRs have brought agility to the development cycle process, allowing for better adaptation and change, reducing crisis risks.

It is important that the defined objectives are clear so that the team has a full understanding of the established goals, so that they can spend more time achieving them. A limited number of goals can increase the probability of success, so that each team member is responsible for a particular part in the effectiveness of the plan.

The great advantage of the OKR methodology is that the company manages to focus on the expected results only and not on the efforts or difficulties on the road to success. Furthermore, it is necessary to outline the goals that bring the group of employees out of their comfort zone without limiting their ability to contribute to overall growth. While it may seem like a daunting task, setting a business plan for your business based on OKRs is simple if it fits the reality of your business.

Why do OKRs work?

It is worth noting that OKRs are not a performance measurement tool and therefore should never be connected to bonuses. In fact, they Workboard software that management can use to assess whether a common direction is being followed.

At this point, you will ask yourself: if there is no reward / punishment system, why do they work?

We have seen that the OKRs have some fundamental characteristics. They are …

  • Ambitious: Aiming for the moon with ambitious “Objectives”, badly going it has always arrived among the stars (quote)
  • SMART: The “Key Result” must always include a number and be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound
  • Transparent: OKRs must be visible to everyone in the organization and linked to business objectives

Unlike traditional assessment methods, where objectives are chosen downwards to avoid penalties, OKRs encourage individuals or groups to set ambitious goals. The perspective is the continuous improvement through the sharing of ORKs within the organization.

If all the OKRs have been reached 100% very probably, they have not been ambitious enough. On the contrary, if they have not been fully achieved, there is still something to learn. That margin that separates us from the full achievement of the Key Result is our opportunity for growth.

An example of OKR can be …

  • Objective
    • Improve the quality of our software
  • Result (Key Result)
    • At least 80% of the source code must be covered by Unit Test
    • Working with TDD on at least two User Stories per Sprint
    • 100% of the bugs with “High” severity must be corrected within two days
    • Increase UI test coverage by 20%
  • Initiative
  • To encourage the less experienced, at least 2 days for Pair Programming Sprints (Developers)
  • Evaluate the current backlog and reassign priorities where necessary (Product Owner and Scrum Master)

At the end of the quarter, the team and the manager meet to evaluate the progress of the OKRs. Some results will be 100% centered others maybe only 50%, some may not be achieved.

Not all objectives are “ascertainable” by the team manager, who in many cases is present to create alignment within the company and to help the team in the evaluation process. Often, and this is the case of purely technical topics as in the table above, the results are evaluated within the team, individually or collectively (self-assessment). The question to be answered at this stage is: what have we learned?

Once the review of the OKRs is completed, new ones are defined for the following quarter. The objectives not reached can be reviewed, changed, or re-proposed for the next iteration.

In the case above I gave the example of a Scrum team, but the same procedure can be adopted at department level (example: Product Management, Senior Management, UX Team …) or generally at every level of the organization.

 

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