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Agile OKRs

Objectives and Key Results are a simple, easy to learn technique for goal setting developed in Silicon Valley to build team engagement and agility.

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Agile enterprises are increasingly adopting a radical new approach to strategy execution with the unassuming name of OKRs (Objectives and Key Results). OKRs are the day to day engine for strategic agility.

OKRs originated in Silicon Valley firms including Intel, Google, LinkedIn and have spread to retail and service industries including Walmart, Target, The Guardian, Dun and Bradstreet and ING Bank. Unlike traditional top-down methods of planning, "OKRs" is a simple, fast-cadence, bottom-up process that engages each team's perspective and creativity.

The big difference from traditional planning methods?  OKRs are set, evaluated and reset frequently - typically quarterly.  In a typical OKR environment, at least 60% of the goals are set bottom-up, rather than being cascaded from a more global objective.  This provides a much more engaging environment for the teams setting the goals.

Objectives are qualitative in nature, and should be aspirational, inspirational and actionable. Teams determine their own objectives, which are then aligned with higher level strategic goals and harmonized with those of other teams. They are typically actionable by the team independently or by mutual consent with another team.

An example might be "Improve Customer Experience."

This sounds great, especially if we believe that improving this would lead to better sales. But how would we know in a more precise way that we are creating better Customer Experience?

Key Results are quantitative metrics you will use to determine if your actions are achieving the desired outcome. A good metric for that objective might be Net Promoter Score. Do our customers feel so good about dealing with us that they would recommend us to others? 

 

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