Intel originally used the OKR (Objective Key Results) system in 1968. It became widely popular in Silicon Valley when Google started implementing it in 1999. Today, OKR is a popular method, especially for remote teams, to keep the company in sync with the main objectives. It is one of the best ways to keep the team aligned. But how do you run an effective and productive OKR planning meeting without pulling your hair out?
The ultimate objective of the OKR planning meeting is to discuss and decide the company’s objectives and how to measure them objectively. Deciding the OKR for the whole company takes a lot of brainstorming and back and forth between the stakeholders. Ideally, the upper management should provide the main OKRs, and then the managers for each team will have to break them down.
For example, if the objective is increasing the revenue, one of the key results might be to increase the number of paying customers monthly by X%. Now, the marketing manager will have a separate OKR planning meeting with his or her team to translate this into marketing OKRs. How will the marketing team help increase the revenue? Should they spend more effort on Facebook ads or growing the traffic on their blog?
OKR planning meeting is done at the end of the year, as the company prepares the roadmap for the following year. OKR check-in meetings can be held monthly or quarterly to review their progress, depending on the results. The great thing about OKRs is that they are flexible and adaptable. The objectives most likely won't change, but the key results might need adjustments.
Regardless of your company size or team type, running an OKR planning meeting has the same structure. We created this template to help you and your team stay focused and organized.
How was the performance last quarter? Are there key results that are too ambitious? Do you need to change them?
Most of the time, the objectives for the company won't change. But you might want to rank them differently. To save time on the actual planning meeting, ask the team to rate or vote objectives asynchronously.
Finalize the top 3 priorities. Having too many objectives too overwhelming, and your team might end up not achieving any of them.
Time to translate those priorities into numbers. More importantly, make sure that your current analytics can accurately measure them.
Make sure that there is no gap between your key results and your resources. Do you have sufficient resources to achieve your numbers? What are potential roadblocks, and how can you mitigate them?
Some new ideas may surface, and that's okay. You might note them down for future discussion. The ultimate goal after the meeting is that you have something solid to take action on every day.
Deciding on OKRs tend to get messy and might spawn numerous unnecessary meetings. But it doesn't have to be that way. That's why at Complish, we believe that teams should effectively utilize asynchronous discussions so that you can go right action during the synchronous meeting. You can also use our weekly team meeting template as a way to do regular OKR check-ins.