You’ve heard OKRs touted as Google’s “secret sauce” and the key to the phenomenal success of tech giants like Intel and LinkedIn. But you don’t have to be a billion-dollar company to make the OKR planning method work for you. If you’re unsure of what exactly OKRs are and how they work, read this overview first to get a grasp on the details. It’s ok, we’ll wait.
Welcome back! Now that you’ve read all about OKRs and are convinced of the benefits, you may be interested in trying it out for yourself. How do you get started? And how do you integrate this new planning method into the way your team already works?
Use this 6-step guide to set up OKRs in Wrike, track your progress, and keep the process headache-free.
Step 1: Collectively Set Team Goals
Hold a staff meeting to collaboratively develop team objectives that reflect high-level company goals. Make sure you discuss any goals that individual employees believe are important as well. Although OKRs are created at the individual, team, and company levels, they should all connect to and support overarching organization objectives.
Part of what makes OKRs so powerful is that they aren’t just any type of goal. They’re focused and specific, and they’re always rooted in data so progress is measurable. All of your OKRs need to meet the key criteria.
OKRs must be:
1. Aggressive. Your OKRs should push you out of your comfort zone. Be ambitious!
2. Measurable. Dates, percentages, dollar amounts — every KR needs to have a number attached to it.
3. Public. The entire company should be able to see your OKRs, not just managers. Visibility = Collaboration = Innovation.
4. Graded. At the end of the process, use your results data to grade each key result on a scale from 0-1.You can have multiple objectives per quarter, but no more than 5. Don’t bite off more than you can chew!
Use the following template to create your OKRs:
Objective: — "Measurable key result 1" — current progress: __ %
— "Measurable key result 2:" — current progress: __ %
— "Measurable key result 3:" — current progress: __ %
— "Measurable key result 4:" — current progress: __ %
You can see complete examples of OKRs here.
How to do Step 1 in Wrike:
- Hold an OKR planning session and use real-time, collaborative task editing to get the entire team involved. You can create new tasks as you conceive of them, add key details, and assign them straight away so nothing gets lost or forgotten.
- Once you’ve settled your team OKRs, set up a shared folder within your department folder and reorganize or create your finalized team OKRs into appropriate tasks and subtasks.
- Create a subfolder in your root/company folder to hold company objectives and collect every team and department's OKRs.
- Encourage the team to comment on one another’s tasks or @mention colleagues in order to offer support or advice.
Step 2: Create Your Individual OKRs
Once company and department goals have been set, individual employees should start to consider what they want to work on for the next quarter in order to support and further those goals. What do you think is the most valuable use of your time?
How to do Step 2 in Wrike:
- Create a folder called "[Your Name]'s OKRs." Within that folder, create a series of new tasks, one for each Objective.
- Create a Subtask for each Key Result to keep it organized with its main Objective. Keep in mind that you can create multiple levels of subtasks if you wish: the Objective task, Key Result subtask, and a third layer of subtasks listing activities related to achieving the Key Result.
- Use Wrike’s Chrome Extension to create Objectives or Key Results tasks related to anything on the web: site updates, design inspiration, articles, etc. Include a screen shot for reference or reporting purposes.
Step 3: Discuss Individual OKRs with Managers
OKR goals shouldn’t only be dictated by executives; at least 60% of the company’s goals should be bottom-up. Schedule a 1-on-1 meeting with employees to discuss and negotiate the specifics of individual OKRs.
How to do Step 3 in Wrike:
- Once you've created your “[Name]'s OKRs” folder, share it with your supervisor or other relevant colleagues (click the folder icon to share) or @mention them. You can then discuss the details in person, comment right on particular Objective tasks, or collaboratively edit the specifics within the task description.
- After your 1-on-1 meeting, ask every team member to include their “[Name]'s OKRs" folders as subfolders of the Team OKRs folder. That way their colleagues can see their objectives and contribute whenever possible. This also gives clear visibility into how every task relates to larger goals.
Step 4: Track Your Progress & Make Adjustments
How to do Step 4 in Wrike:
- For your individual OKRs, you can create a “My Objectives” Dashboard widget to keep your goals and critical tasks front and center.
- To track an entire team's OKRs (or the entire company's), a separate Dashboard featuring an overview of all OKRs can be created and shared.
- Check the Table view to see every task related to a specific OKR folder, start & due dates, task duration, task status, and assignees. You'll see everyone involved, how long high-priority tasks will take, and the key stats. And if something looks off, you can step in before it’s too late.
- Check in, update, or add your input from anywhere using Wrike’s mobile apps.
- If changes need to be made, you can drag-and-drop tasks within a Task list (or drag-and-drop the order of Subtasks) to easily shuffle priorities. Everyone involved will instantly see the changes reflected in their workspace, keeping the whole team aligned on the most important tasks.
Step 5: Grade OKRs & Report on Results
At the end of the quarter (or year), hold a wrap-up meeting where everyone shares their grades, explains their results, and outlines the adjustments they’re going to make for next time.
When it comes to grading, focus on the numbers. If the OKR is to “Decrease the number of customer complaints by 20%” and you successfully decreased it by 10%, your score is 0.5. You can average the key results grades to determine total progress toward your overall Objective.
How to do Step 5 in Wrike:
- As you start hitting goals and marking your KR subtasks complete, the green progress bar will fill up on the Objective parent task. You’ll see a quick visual on how far you've come — and how far you have yet to go.
- Enterprise users can take advantage of Custom Fields to see which team or company objectives each task or project supports. Use those Custom Fields to easily generate reports showing how your team’s efforts impact big picture goals and progress.
Step 6: Reflect on Successes, Record Lessons Learned, & Define Next OKRs
How to do Step 6 in Wrike:
- Create a folder in Wrike where you collect all your wisdom and experience, whether it’s suggestions for how the OKR process can run smoother in the future, tips on generating reports, or a summary of your team’s successes. Create a mini-knowledge base as a shared folder within Wrike, adding a new task for each lesson learned, and ask your team to add their own experiences. Take a peek at this folder periodically (or whenever you feel stressed) to remind yourself of all you've accomplished and how far you've come.
You've completed the OKR process. Now it's time to start working on achieving your next set of goals.If you've got OKR advice for your fellow readers, hit the comments and share!