A comprehensive guide to using OKRs with Tability: how to boost your goal-tracking efforts

Table of contents

In today's fast-paced business landscape, staying focused, aligned, and accountable is crucial for organisations striving to achieve their goals. That's where OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) come into play. OKRs have gained significant popularity as a goal-setting framework that empowers teams and individuals to drive performance and deliver exceptional results.

In recent years OKRs have gone from being an obscure acronym reserved for Enterprise companies like Intel and Google to being the goal-setting methodology of choice for startups.

But, efficiently implementing and tracking OKRs can be challenging without the right tools. That's why a platform like Tability has emerged to help organisations leverage the power of OKRs effectively. In this comprehensive tutorial, we will explore the seamless integration of OKRs with Tability and unveil how this powerful combination can supercharge your goal-tracking efforts.

Section by section, we will delve into the fundamentals of OKRs, shed light on the benefits they offer, and uncover the unique features and capabilities of Tability that make it the ideal platform for implementing and managing OKRs. Whether you're a team leader, manager, or individual contributor, this guide will equip you with the knowledge and skills to make the most of OKRs and Tability.

So, if you're ready to take your goal-setting game to the next level, let's dive in and discover how to harness the power of OKRs with Tability to drive focus, alignment, and outstanding results for your business.

1. Understanding OKRs

1.1 What are OKRs?

OKRs are a goal-setting framework that helps organisations set and achieve ambitious targets with measurable results. Unlike traditional goal-setting methods, OKRs focus on aligning teams and individuals towards common objectives and defining key results that objectively measure progress.

There are 3 main components to OKRs (yes, I'll be adding one extra thing!).

Understanding the difference between Objectives, Key Results and Initiatives

Objectives

Objectives are qualitative and aspirational statements that express what an organisation or team aims to accomplish within a specific timeframe. They provide a clear direction and purpose, answering the question, "What do we want to achieve?"

Key Results

Key Results are quantitative and measurable milestones that define the progress and success of an Objective. They represent specific outcomes that can be objectively assessed, answering the question, "How will we know we've achieved the Objective?"

Initiatives

Initiatives should still be part of the picture. They are the tactics that help you make progress on your Key Results. They answer the question, "What's the best way to make progress on our Key Results?"

Putting it all together

For example, let's say a marketing team has an Objective to increase website traffic. They might have Key Results such as "Increase organic search traffic by 30%," "Boost social media referral traffic by 50%," and "Improve conversion rate by 20%." These Key Results represent measurable targets that align with the overarching Objective.

Then, under the "Increase organic search traffic by 30%" KR, they can have a set of initiatives such as "Write 10 SEO-friendly blog posts", "Optimise our page layout", or "Identify the top 10 keywords to rank for".

OKRs are typically set every quarter, allowing organisations to adapt and pivot their goals as needed. They foster transparency, alignment, and accountability, as each individual and team's OKRs are visible to others within the organisation. The beauty of OKRs lies in their ability to inspire focus, empower teams, and promote a culture of continuous improvement. By clearly defining Objectives and Key Results, OKRs provide a framework for driving progress, measuring success, and celebrating achievements.

Check out our complete guide if you're looking for further meaning of OKRs.

1.2 Benefits of using OKRs

Implementing OKRs offers numerous benefits that can positively impact organisations of all sizes and industries. Let's explore some of the key advantages of utilising the OKR framework:

  1. Improved alignment
    OKRs foster alignment by ensuring that everyone in the organisation understands and works towards the same set of objectives. When objectives are clearly communicated and visible to all, teams can align their efforts, eliminate silos, and work collaboratively towards shared goals.
  2. Increased Focus
    OKRs provide a framework for prioritising goals and activities. By setting clear objectives and defining measurable key results, OKRs help teams and individuals focus on what truly matters, avoiding distractions and ensuring efforts are directed towards high-impact initiatives.
  3. Transparency and visibility
    OKRs promote transparency by making goals and progress visible to all stakeholders. This transparency encourages open communication, creates a sense of shared responsibility, and enables better coordination across teams and departments.
  4. Motivation and engagement
    OKRs have a motivational effect on individuals and teams. By setting ambitious yet attainable goals, OKRs challenge employees to strive for excellence and push their boundaries. The sense of purpose and progress tracking inherent in OKRs increases employee engagement and satisfaction.
  5. Agility and adaptability
    OKRs provide a flexible framework that allows organisations to adapt and pivot their goals as circumstances change. By setting OKRs on a quarterly basis, teams can respond to market dynamics, customer feedback, and emerging opportunities, fostering organisational agility and continuous improvement.
  6. Clarity in measurement
    Key Results in OKRs provide clear and measurable metrics to assess progress and success. This allows for objective evaluation of performance and enables data-driven decision-making. By measuring key results, organisations can identify areas for improvement, make necessary adjustments, and celebrate achievements.
  7. Cross-functional collaboration
    OKRs promote collaboration across departments and teams. When objectives and key results are transparent, it becomes easier to identify dependencies, share resources, and foster a culture of teamwork and knowledge sharing.

By leveraging the OKR framework, organisations can harness these benefits to drive performance, align their efforts, and achieve remarkable results.

2. Introducing Tability

2.1 What is Tability?

Tability is a comprehensive goal-tracking platform that empowers organisations to implement and manage their OKRs effectively. Designed with simplicity and collaboration in mind, Tability provides a centralised hub for setting, tracking, and reviewing goals, enabling teams to stay aligned and focused on achieving their objectives.

Key Features of Tability:

  1. Centralised workspace: Tability offers a centralised workspace where organisations can create and manage their OKRs. This intuitive and user-friendly interface allows teams to access their goals, track progress, and collaborate in real-time.
  2. Goal-setting framework: Tability provides a goal-setting framework that guides users through the process of defining clear objectives and measurable key results. The platform prompts users to set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals, ensuring that objectives are well-defined and aligned with the organisation's strategic priorities.
  3. Visual progress tracking: Tability offers visualisations and progress-tracking tools that enable users to monitor OKRs at a glance. The platform provides visual representations, such as charts and graphs, that illustrate the progress of each objective and key result. This visual feedback fosters transparency and keeps teams motivated by showcasing their achievements and areas that require attention.
  4. Collaboration and communication: Tability facilitates seamless collaboration and communication among team members. Users can comment, share updates, and provide feedback directly within the platform, ensuring everyone stays informed and connected. This promotes cross-functional collaboration and encourages active participation in achieving shared goals.
  5. Integration capabilities: Tability integrates with popular productivity tools, project management platforms, and communication apps, streamlining workflows and eliminating the need for manual data entry. This integration capability ensures that OKRs align with ongoing projects and initiatives, making it easier to track progress and gather relevant data.
  6. Data-driven insights: Tability provides data-driven insights and analytics that offer valuable information on goal progress, trends, and performance. These insights help organisations make informed decisions, identify areas for improvement, and optimise their goal-setting strategies.
  7. AI-assisted: Tability leverages AI to help you set better goals and it can use OpenAI and GPT-3 to generate your OKRs.

By leveraging Tability's robust features and capabilities, organisations can streamline their OKR implementation and management processes, fostering collaboration, transparency, and continuous improvement. In the following section, we will explore the specific benefits of using Tability for OKR implementation and how it can enhance the tracking and evaluation of goals.

2.2 Benefits of using Tability for OKRs

Tability offers a range of benefits that enhance the implementation and management of OKRs. Let's delve into the specific advantages of using Tability as your goal-tracking platform.

  1. Streamlined OKR process: Tability simplifies the process of setting, tracking, and updating OKRs. With its intuitive interface and user-friendly features, Tability eliminates the complexities associated with manual tracking methods, spreadsheets, and disparate tools. This streamlines the OKR process, saving time and effort for teams and enabling them to focus on goal achievement.
  2. Real-time progress tracking: Tability provides real-time progress tracking capabilities that keep teams informed about the status of their OKRs. Visualisations and progress indicators offer at-a-glance insights into goal performance, allowing teams to monitor progress, identify bottlenecks, and take proactive measures to stay on track.
  3. Accountability and transparency: Tability promotes accountability and transparency by making OKRs visible to all stakeholders. When goals and progress are accessible to everyone, individuals and teams are more likely to take ownership of their objectives and actively contribute to their achievement. This fosters a culture of transparency, trust, and collective responsibility within the organisation.

By leveraging Tability's benefits, organisations can maximise the potential of their OKR implementation, foster collaboration, and drive goal achievement.

3. Getting started with OKRs in Tability

3.1 Setting up your Tability account

Before diving into the world of OKRs with Tability, you need to set up your Tability account and configure your organisation's workspace. Follow these steps to get started:

Step 1: Sign up for Tability

Step 2: Create your Workspace

  • Once you have signed up, you will be prompted to create your workspace.
  • As part of the onboarding, you will be able to customise your workflow and select when check-in reminders should be sent.

Step 3: Invite team members

  • To collaborate with your team on OKRs, invite members to join your Tability workspace.
  • Enter the email addresses of your team members and send them an invitation to join.

Step 4: Create your first plan

  • The last step of your onboarding process will be to create your first OKRs plan by describing your Objective.
  • Tability will use its AI to generate a sample OKR plan for you.
  • Once you're in the plan you will have the option to edit the content, add or generate tasks, and change the owners of the goals.

Step 5: Familiarise yourself with Tability's interface

  • Take some time to explore the Tability interface and familiarise yourself with its various sections and features.
  • Navigate through the dashboard, objectives, key results, and other relevant areas to understand how the platform is organised.

By following these steps, you will have successfully set up your Tability account and created your organisation's workspace. You are now ready to embark on your OKR journey within Tability!

3.2 Adding your company OKRs to Tability

Once you're familiar with Tability's UI, it's time to add your company's OKRs to the platform.

If you don't already have a set of OKRs to add, here are a couple of resources that can help:

Tability is flexible and you can pretty arrange your plans as you want. But, there's a recommended structure to organise your workspace if you want to track OKRs through multiple quarters with different teams:

  • Create a top-level plan per quarter, and add the name of the quarter to the title
  • Create sub-level plans under the top-level plan.

You will end up with a structure that will look like this 👇

---

Company OKRs 2023 Q2
    |- Marketing OKRs 2023 Q2
    |- Product OKRs 2023 Q2
    |- Engineering OKRs 2023 Q2

Company OKRs 2023 Q1
    |- Marketing OKRs 2023 Q1
    |- ....

--

Recommended plan structure in Tability

The advantage of this technique is to group OKRs that belong to the same quarter under the same hierarchy, making it easier to visualise things later in the Strategy Map.

So, start by creating a new plan in your workspace that you name "Company OKRs 202X QY" where X is the year, and Y is the quarter.

We recommend naming your plan <Team/Department> OKRs 202X QY

Then, add your Objectives and Key Results to the plan. At that stage, you should have a plan that looks like this in Tability 👇

This is what a simple plan looks like in Tability's editor

3.3 Assigning owners

Having various owners for the Key Results in OKRs is essential for fostering accountability, collaboration, and cross-functional alignment within an organisation. When multiple individuals or teams take ownership of Key Results, it encourages a sense of shared responsibility and promotes a collaborative mindset.

The job of the KR owner is not to achieve the KR by themselves, but rather to report on progress and keep everyone accountable. Their job is to:

  • Write weekly progress updates.
  • Collect feedback from key stakeholders and contributors to form an assessment.
  • Capture action items, and make sure that execution is going well.
  • Drive the hard conversations if a KR is in bad shape.

Click on the avatar icon next to each Key Result to change the owner. A good balance is to make sure that no one has to update more than 7 KRs every week.

Here's what your plan should look like now 👇

Shared ownership will help you have more effective OKRs

3.4 Making OKRs easier to track by setting real targets

When it's easy and seamless for individuals or teams to update their progress in Tability, it encourages regular and timely updates, ensuring that the information remains accurate and up to date. This real-time visibility into progress allows stakeholders to make informed decisions, identify potential bottlenecks or areas that require support, and take necessary actions to keep goals on track.

So, the first thing you can do to reduce friction is to capture the exact target for each KR.

Tability will set the target to be 0 -> 100% by default. But, you can click on the target label to open up the edit panel.

Tability lets you add your actual targets, including the format

From there you can update the numbers with your actual targets, including the format. Here are some examples:

KR: Increase weekly active users (WAUs) by 30% (from 2,500 to 3,250 WAUs)

  • Target: "3,250 WAUs"
  • Initial value: "2,500"

KR: Contact 300 new leads via email

  • Target: "300 leads"
  • Initial value: "0"

KR: Double the number of weekly leads (from 30 to 60/week)

  • Target: "60 leads/week"
  • Initial value: "30"

Once you have set the right target for all of your KRs, your plan will look like this 👇

Having real targets will make check-ins much easier to do

3.5 Connecting Key Results to data sources

The second thing that you can do to reduce friction is to connect your KRs to data sources. That way Tability will load the current value of a metric directly in the check-in form and minimise context switching as a result.

Tability can import metrics data from multiple source


You can also go one step further and enable auto-sync, but don't forget to do your check-ins still! A lot of the value of the OKRs process comes from having someone look at progress to make sure that the work being done is producing the expected results.

Here are the steps to take to connect your Key Result to a data source:

  • Go to the integrations admin page and make sure that you've connected your tools in the "Data connectors" section.
  • Open up the Edit panel of any of your KRs
  • Go to the Data Source tab.
  • Select the data source, and follow the steps to connect it to your metric.

Once your data source is connected, you should see a new label appearing in the check-in form, and Tability will automatically pull the current value of your metric when you do a check-in.

3.6 Adding tasks/initiatives

The last thing to do before publishing your plan is to add under each KR the initiatives that can help you get there. You can use Tability's AI assistant to generate initiatives, or you can simply add them manually.

A complete plan with Objectives, Key Results and Initiatives/Tasks will look like this 👇

This is what a complete plan with OKRs + initiatives looks like

You can now publish your plan to switch to the tracking view.

Your company OKRs, ready for execution in Tability

4. Adding departments/team OKRs

4.1 Adding sub-level OKRs in Tability

Now that your company OKRs are established within Tability, it's time to extend things by adding sub-level OKRs for other teams and departments.

By incorporating these sub-level OKRs, you can further align the efforts of different teams with the overarching company objectives. With the sub-level OKRs in place, you create a comprehensive structure that promotes collaboration, coordination, and shared accountability, driving the organisation towards achieving remarkable results.

As mentioned in the intro your plans structure will look like this 👇

Your plans hierarchy in Tability

So, in order to create that, all you need to do is to click on the "Create sub-plan" option in the plan menu.

You can create sub-plans from the drodown menu

Then, just repeat all the steps in section #3 to create your sub-level OKRs.

4.2 Aligning OKRs and checking dependencies

Obviously, one of the benefits of OKRs is to facilitate the alignment of teams toward a common set of goals. But, we recommend avoiding a rigid cascading approach (as seen in Measure What Matters) in favor of a more flexible model to align goals throughout your org.

Cascading OKRs, which involves setting goals at the organizational level and then turning Key Results into Objectives of the lower levels, can be costly and less effective compared to a more flexible approach for aligning OKRs within an organization. The process of cascading OKRs requires significant time and effort to communicate and align goals throughout the organization, often leading to delays and reduced agility. It also lacks adaptability, as rigidly cascaded goals may hinder teams from adjusting objectives to address emerging priorities or changing circumstances. Additionally, the cascading approach can result in a disconnect between individual motivation and organizational goals, leading to reduced engagement and lower morale among employees.

Furthermore, cascaded OKRs can inadvertently foster siloed thinking and impede cross-functional collaboration. Teams may become narrowly focused on their own objectives without considering the broader impact on other departments or the organization as a whole. This restricts innovation and creativity within the organization. The emphasis on compliance with predefined targets can overshadow the pursuit of meaningful outcomes, potentially limiting the organization's ability to achieve significant growth.

In contrast, a more flexible approach to aligning OKRs empowers teams to set their own objectives that align with the broader organizational goals. This approach fosters adaptability, collaboration, and individual ownership. It enables teams to respond quickly to changes, encourages cross-functional cooperation, and promotes a results-oriented mindset.

By embracing a flexible approach, organizations can drive innovation, enhance employee satisfaction, and improve overall organizational performance.

Tability has 2 different ways to support an alignment model where it is both easy for teams to create OKRs plan that best support their objectives, and where stakeholders can still see at a glance how OKRs map to each other in their org (and yes, you can still have strong linking between Key Results!).

Here are the 2 tools that you'll be able to use:

Strategy map

The Strategy Map lets you see all your plans in progress in one view

The first tool is the Strategy Map. It is a view that maps all the plans currently in progress out of the box. There's no extra work required by the teams to make the dependencies between plans visible. OKRs plans will be added to this view if they're currently in progress, and you'll be able to quickly compare priorities and identify misalignments.

Relationships

You can also see more granular dependencies at a plan level

If you want to define dependencies in a more granular way, you can create direct relationships between Key Results. There are 3 relationships possible:

  • Parent: select a parent KR that this KR contributes to
  • Dependency: select a dependent KR that is derived from this KR
  • Related outcome: useful to indicate relationships between teams at the same level.

Once you've added your relationships, you'll be able to see them in your plan dashboards as well as in your KR dashboards.

5. Tracking and evaluating OKRs in Tability

Monitoring progress on your OKRs is a crucial aspect of effective goal tracking within Tability. Regularly assessing and reviewing the progress of your OKRs allows you to stay informed, make data-driven decisions, and take necessary actions to ensure goal attainment.

5.1 Visual progress tracking

See real-time progress on your Key Results including when tasks were completed

Tability provides visualisations and progress tracking features that offer a clear overview of the status of your OKRs. Utilise the visual representations, such as charts, graphs, or progress bars, to easily assess the progress made towards each Objective and Key Result. These visual cues provide an at-a-glance understanding of whether you are on track or need to make adjustments.

5.2 Regular check-Ins

Creating check-ins is quick and easy to do

Schedule regular check-ins to review and update the progress of your OKRs. Set a cadence that works for your team, whether it's weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. During these check-ins, team members can provide updates, discuss challenges, share achievements, and collaborate on finding solutions. Tability's commenting feature allows for easy communication and documentation of discussions within the platform.

5.3 Track tasks and initiatives

You can plan your work for each of your OKRs

Besides tracking Key Results, consider incorporating initiatives and tasks in Tability. These are significant milestones that contribute to the achievement of your Key Results. Tracking milestones and key activities ensures that you have a clear understanding of the progress made at different stages of your OKRs, providing additional insights into your overall progress.

5.4 Reflect and iterate

The purpose of OKRs should be to foster focused conversations

Regularly reflect on your progress and evaluate the effectiveness of your actions. Tability allows you to conduct OKR reviews and retrospectives within the platform. Use these opportunities to analyse what has worked well, what needs improvement, and what adjustments or refinements are necessary. By reflecting on your progress and lessons learned, you can continuously iterate and optimise your approach for better results.

5.5 Celebrate achievements

Don't forget to celebrate the good things!

Recognise and celebrate achievements along the way. Acknowledging milestones and successful outcomes boosts morale, motivation, and engagement within the team. Tability's commenting and social features allow you to share and celebrate achievements with your colleagues, fostering a positive and supportive work environment.

6. Best practices for a successful OKR

6.1 Align OKRs with your company strategy

Aligning OKRs with your company strategy is vital for maximising the impact of your efforts. It starts with understanding your company's goals, vision, and priorities. Identify the key areas of focus set by leadership, and use this understanding as the foundation for aligning your OKRs.

Regularly assess the alignment of your OKRs with the company strategy. As strategic priorities or business circumstances evolve, make necessary adjustments to ensure ongoing alignment. Regular reviews and reflections on the progress and impact of your OKRs in relation to the company strategy help identify any gaps or areas for improvement. By aligning your OKRs with the company strategy, you create a cohesive and integrated approach that drives synergy, coordination, and a shared sense of purpose throughout the organisation. This alignment maximises the effectiveness of your OKRs, leading to improved performance and successful outcomes in line with the company's overarching goals.

6.2 Commit to weekly check-ins

Committing to weekly check-ins is a crucial practice for effectively managing and staying on top of your OKRs. Regular check-ins provide opportunities to review progress, address challenges, and foster accountability.

You should also dedicate some time every week to discuss the progress made on the OKRs. Encourage team members to share achievements and discuss any obstacles or roadblocks they may be facing. These discussions enable teams to stay informed, aligned, and actively engaged in the OKR process. It also promotes transparency and collaboration, as team members can offer support, share best practices, and provide insights to help each other succeed.

As circumstances change or new information emerges, it's essential to reassess and realign your goals accordingly. Use the check-ins to discuss and make necessary modifications to your Objectives, Key Results, or even timelines. This flexibility allows you to adapt to evolving business needs and maintain the relevance and effectiveness of your OKRs.

Finally, the weekly check-ins provide an opportunity to celebrate successes and acknowledge the efforts of team members. Recognising achievements, both big and small, helps foster a positive and motivating work environment. Celebrating milestones and sharing success stories during these check-ins boosts morale, reinforces a sense of accomplishment, and further strengthens team cohesion.

6.3 Set ambitious yet attainable goals

Setting ambitious yet attainable goals is a fundamental principle when working with OKRs in Tability. It is important to strike a balance between pushing the boundaries and ensuring that goals remain within reach.

Ambitious goals inspire and challenge teams to strive for excellence. By setting goals that push beyond the status quo, you create a culture of innovation, continuous improvement, and high performance. Ambition fuels motivation and encourages teams to stretch their capabilities, unlocking their full potential.

However, it's equally important to ensure that goals remain attainable. Unrealistic or unachievable goals can lead to frustration, demotivation, and a sense of defeat. When goals are set too far beyond reach, it can hinder progress and erode confidence. Considering the available resources, capabilities, and external factors that may impact goal attainment is crucial. Setting goals that are within the realm of possibility provides a sense of direction and confidence that they can be achieved with effort and strategic action.

Finding the right balance between ambition and attainability is key. Aim to set goals that stretch the limits of what is currently achievable while remaining within the realm of possibility. This requires thoughtful consideration, collaboration, and a deep understanding of your team's capabilities. By striking this balance, you create a motivating environment that encourages growth, drives performance, and increases the chances of success.

6.4 Encourage transparency and accountability

Encouraging transparency and accountability is essential for an effective OKR implementation.

Transparency ensures that everyone has access to information about the organisation's goals, progress, and challenges. When teams have visibility into each other's OKRs, it promotes cross-functional collaboration, alignment, and a shared understanding of priorities. This will be facilitated by Tability as it provides a central place for sharing OKRs and enabling stakeholders to stay informed and engaged.

Accountability goes hand in hand with transparency. When individuals and teams are held accountable for their OKRs, it creates a sense of responsibility and ownership. Clear ownership of Key Results ensures that team members are committed to delivering results and taking proactive actions to achieve their goals.

Encouraging transparency and accountability also means fostering a culture where it is safe to admit challenges, share failures, and seek support. This environment encourages learning, continuous improvement, and adaptability, as team members can openly address issues and collectively find solutions.

The result is a more engaged and aligned organisation, driving better performance and increasing the likelihood of successfully achieving your OKRs.

Conclusion

Now that you have reached the end of this comprehensive guide to using OKRs with Tability, you are equipped with the knowledge and tools to boost your goal-tracking efforts. By implementing OKRs with Tability, you can foster alignment, transparency, and accountability within your organisation, driving focus, collaboration, and exceptional results.

Remember to align your OKRs with your company strategy, regularly review and adjust them as needed, and commit to weekly check-ins to track progress, address challenges, and celebrate achievements. Set ambitious yet attainable goals that inspire growth and push boundaries, while also ensuring they remain within reach. Encourage transparency and accountability, creating a culture where individuals and teams take ownership of their OKRs and actively contribute to their success.

Tability's features, such as visual progress tracking, collaboration tools, and integration capabilities, will support you throughout your OKR journey. Leverage the platform to streamline the OKR process, monitor progress in real time, and gain valuable insights to drive informed decision-making.

By implementing OKRs with Tability, you can unlock the full potential of your organisation, drive performance, and achieve remarkable outcomes. So, embrace this goal-setting methodology, dive into Tability, and embark on a journey of growth, alignment, and success. Get started today and propel your organisation to new heights!

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Sten Pittet

Co-founder and CEO, Tability

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