Why do we want to be OKR Superstars? Last Friday, at our Project Management Office Group Meeting we discussed just that. A huge thank you to Michaele Gardner, Adjunct Professor at the University of St. Thomas, for leading this interactive conversation.  

As we kicked off the meeting, we began with defining objectives and key results. An objective is a broad, qualitative, and aspirational goal. An objective is something that inspires a team to get out of bed in the morning. Key results are quantifiable statements that demonstrate what success looks like for a given objective. OKR’s consists of high-level objectives. Under each of those objectives, there are 3-5 measurable key results. 

Why OKRs? Objectives and Key Results is a strategy for goal setting within organizations. OKRs are outcome-focused, not output focused. When you are outcome-focused there is a better chance of meeting a customer’s need. They focus on specific time-bound objectives rather than putting out firesOKRs enable innovation and encourages cross-team alignment and creates synergy. Quarterly OKR’s enable teams to pivot as priorities and market conditions change. 

Michaele used a mountain analogy to get us thinking about writing OKRs. Asking us, “Where do you want to go?” and “How are you going to get there?” As you work towards your goal its important to set the goal, plan for the goal, check-in, and adjust as needed. 

Writing objectives and key results can be tricky, but don’t let that hold you back from using OKR. Michaele shared a few key tips with the group to keep us on top of our game: 

  • Future forward  
  • Quantitative  
  • Balanced  
  • Value-driven measurements  
  • Time bound 
  • Weed out activities  
  • Start with key results 
  • Be Ok with being Ok 
  • Start where you are 

The group was then given different examples of OKR’s and had to determine how effective they may be. We’re continuously reminded that key results need to be specific and measurable. You may find these examples along with what was discussed in the slide deck. 

At your convenience, below are a few books and websites our facilitator shared with the group: 

Books:  

  • Radical Focus: Achieving Your Most Important Goals with Objectives and Key Results – Christina Wodtke 
  • Objectives & Key Results: Driving Focus, Alignment and Engagement with OKRs – Paul R Niven and Ben Lamorte. 

Websites: