Perhaps the biggest mistake in implementing the OKR methodology is the error in correctly applying and taking advantage of the set of rituals that serve to support the practice of managing agile goals.
Of course, the more fluid - the less bureaucratic - the practice is, the better. However, we must agree that the implementation of these rituals are never exact, right?
The formalization of certain rituals is crucial for the effectiveness of the methodology, especially in the initial cycles of implementation, as well as an important step in creating an organizational culture focused on results. In the next few lines we will present a suggestion of the best practices.
Purpose: Definition of the OKRs cycle
This is the ritual where the objectives of a given cycle are configured.
At each beginning of the cycle, it is crucial to invest the teams' time in order to build goals in a participatory manner, increasing the engagement and ownership of the entire team.
✏️ Remember that, in general, at least 60% of the objectives must be built from the bottom upward of the organization.
Purpose: Transparency and validate the OKRs of the company and departments.
We consider it extremely important that the entire company, as far as possible, participates in a ritual to validate the goals of the company and the teams. The validation practice generates, once again, the important buy-in necessary for everyone to feel responsible of the company results.
This is the time when the possible dependencies between the results of each team are discussed (for example, the sales goal of the commercial team must be aligned with the capacity goal of the DevOps team so that there are no surprises in the future.
This is also the period for calibrating the OKRs: checking if the objectives of the different areas are at the same level of difficulty, this ritual concludes with everyone's commitment to the OKRs contracted.
Purpose: To evaluate the relationship between the efforts being done and the results that are being achieved.
Frequency: Weekly and monthly.
In the weekly rituals, the idea is a tactical-operational assessment, in which the team itself analyzes whether their efforts (projects and actions) are turning into results, and consequently, progress towards the OKRs. We suggest a planning meeting at the beginning of the week and a checkpoint meeting at the end of the week, where the achievements are identified and celebrated.
Monthly (usually at the beginning of each month) the company's leadership must sit down and assess whether the company as a whole is taking steps towards its cycle objectives. It is not meant to be a results presentation meeting, but a problem solving meeting, focused on the path corrections that are necessary to get there.
Purpose: Present results and generate learning about the achievements and defeats of the cycle.
At the end of each quarter, it is interesting for the company's CEO to present the results achieved, in the form of the company's OKRs, in an all-hands meeting. Here, too, the focus should be on learning and not on finger pointing - which can be extremely harmful to the company's results culture.
All these rituals are represented as follows within a three-month cycle:
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