My 10 Considerations for Scaling Tech Companies rolling out OKRs for the first time
- Non-negotiables — Buy-in and clarity at senior leadership, a well-defined mission and vision and data that can be measured.
- Outcomes over output — Doing stuff isn’t the point. Achieving stuff is.
- Manage by intent — good OKRs express purpose, context and
overall, what success looks like.
- Right environment — OKRs do not work for every team and are not for everyone. A culture that promotes transparency, collaboration, personal accountability, and responsibility must exist.
- Balanced Alignment — Make sure your OKRs are created as much by your people from the bottom-up as they are top-down from leadership.
- Ambitious but realistic — The objectives should be aspirational, yes, but not unattainable. OKRs are designed to drive healthy discussion and collaboration.
- Don’t drown in OKRs — Less is more. Start with fewer OKR. It’s essential to be clear on what you’re NOT going to do as what you are.
- Check-in on progress — Don’t set and forget your OKRs. Frequent discussion and check-ins are vital. I recommend at least weekly.
- You are not Google — The way you think, write and track your OKRs must be unique to your business, company culture, and people.
- Be willing to fail — When you first start with OKRs, it’s normal to get it wrong. But don’t give up. The secret to OKR success is focus, practice and consistency.
In my experience, it takes senior leadership anywhere between 12 to 18 months to get good at the methodology of OKRs. Correctly executed, they are a fantastic mechanism for continuous improvement, high performance and growth.
Remember that adopting OKRs is a marathon, not a sprint.