Learn best practices and tips to keep track of your OKRs effectively
Pick the right check-ins frequency
The rules are simple:
- Quarterly OKRs should be tracked weekly.
- Yearly OKRs should be tracked monthly.
You need to have enough data points that you can identify trends in your Key Results. With monthly-tracked OKRs you'll often get a false sense of security until the second month. Then it's already too late if you're in the red.
On the other hand, weekly check-ins will help you anticipate issues much earlier. You'll quickly see trends and will be able to take action rapidly to correct the course.
Set a weekly ritual
For OKRs to be effective, we recommend adopting a simple ritual that will create a natural accountability towards outcomes in the team.
- Start the week by looking at progress on Key Results.
- Then see if you need to adjust your roadmap.
- Do demos with the team to celebrate the good work that has been done.
This ritual will help everyone stay connected to the top priorities by starting every week with a brief reminder of what's important. It's crucial to begin with OKRs progress first to set the context as roadmap discussions can often turn into technical debates. Additionally, starting by looking at progress on outcomes will help bring the focus on the right initiatives when it's time to review the priorities in the backlog.
Discuss outcomes first, then outputs.
Small meeting, big impact
Each team that has an OKRs plan should have their own weekly ritual. Some people might have several such meetings (ex: a leadership OKRs review, and a product team review) but that's ok. What's more important is to create a culture where conversations are focused on the goals rather than the tasks in flight.
Now, it's also important to make sure that these meetings flow rapidly. Try to limit the number of participants to 10, and the duration to 1h on Mondays (Friday demos are not always applicable). Share the notes with the people that are
Trends matter more than current state
There's another reason why this weekly ritual matters. Isolated data points can give you a false sense of security. In the chart below, it looks like we're doing pretty good: we're halfway through the quarter and above the projected growth line.
Now, the historical progress might be a bit different. Once you plot all the data points, the chart tells a different story.
We're above the projected line, but it clearly looks like we're in trouble.
Remove friction from the process
Check-ins need to be super easy to do if you want to get value from the framework. Any clicks, formulas, spreadsheet manipulations that get in the way will make your team resent the OKRs process. As a result they'll stop sharing progress, and soon the Objectives and Key Results will be forgotten.
You should look for tools that will keep updates simple with built-in check-ins capabilities. A platform like Tability can take care of the reminders, and will include a progress chart allowing you to see trends out of the box (and when you do your check-ins).
Stop doing pointless tasks, start making decisions with purpose