OKRs for Design Teams

Key Questions

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How efficient is our design process?

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Do we offer a consistent experience across our tools and services?

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How close are we to our customers?

Most designers are embedded in functional teams, and their focus aligns with the priorities of the group. Are they in a Marketing team? They're mostly working Acquisition. Are they part of a Product team? They're surely tackling Activation and Retention problems. It's safe to say that designers can work on any part of the user journey.

But you can also consider Design as its own function, and think about how they can improve things across the entire organization. Design OKRs can look inwards to enhance processes or outwards to bring consistency across all experiences.

Example of Design OKRs

You'll find below an example built around a fictitious company. Your OKRs should move from quarter to quarter and map to your company's reality – that's why we thought it's best to illustrate things as a case study that you can take inspiration from.

Scenario

Askawoof is a startup building a platform to help companies run customer satisfaction surveys. Designers are part of the Product team, but they recently hired a Head of Design to own the UX and brand effort across the organization.

After meeting with all teams, it was clear that Design needed some clear goals to facilitate UI work and improve the relationship between designers and developers.

General advice

Start with the Objectives and make sure that everyone on the team understands what they mean. You want them to be concise, but also precise enough that they give a clear sense of direction.

Avoid general statements like "Create great experiences" and instead focus on the expected outcome "Users engage with our platform more often".

Their OKRs

Objective

All teams can rapidly build consistent UIs

Key result

80% of UI components can be found in a Design System

Key result

All forms are using a standard UI Kit across all apps

Objective

Reduce significantly the UX issues found in production

Key result

At least 20 design tests are run every month

Key result

UX issues represent fewer than 20% of new bug reports

Key result

100 users have signed up for our early-access program

Best practices for tracking OKRs

#1 Make it part of the team rituals

OKRs won't be of much help if you're not keeping an eye on them. Staying focused and aligned starts by adopting a simple routine with the team.

  • Monday: review progress on OKRs as a team, then look at your roadmap.
  • Monday-Friday: work on projects.
  • Friday: demos.

Start your Monday by looking at outcomes first (OKRs) and then outputs (roadmap). This will make sure that roadmaps discussions are centered around the most pressing issues.

#2 Make sure everyone can see trends

A common mistake for tracking OKRs is to use a table where you replace values in cells with the most recent update.

Not seeing trends can give you a false sense of security. You may be above the target line today, but the overall trend might be going the wrong way. So make sure that you have a simple way to understand if you're getting off track.

A simple progress chart can do wonders to help you understand if you're getting off track.

#3 Automate your OKRs process

OKRs will most likely cause friction as you expand their use within your organization:

  • Team leads have to send reminders every week.
  • People have to scramble through spreadsheets to find their goals.
  • Reports need to be handcrafted for leadership.
  • There's a general lack of consistency in implementation.

You can greatly simplify things by adopting a platform like Tability that will automate most of the OKRs tracking and make progress easy to see.

Tability can help you automate OKRs
Turning OKRs into a collaboration process with Tability

What other Design metrics can you use?

If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are some example of metrics that can be relevant for your Key Results.

UX tests

Tests run to validate existing and proposed user experiences.

Engagement

How people engaged with your app, websites and services.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Measures how likely users are to recommend your product.

Activation rate

How many evaluators turn into active users.

Retention rate

How many users come back to the product.

Number steps for X

How many steps it takes for a user to do X

Open/closed rate of design issues

What the ratio of open to close issues related to design

Task churn

How many users abandon a task before completing it