Me and part of the Weekdone team

How to get started with OKRs as a team manager?

  1. Determine the primary factor driving your company/team right now. Got it?
  2. Now, establish 1–3 key results that will measure your ability to reach that objective. The key results are often numerical. They can be based on growth, performance, revenue, or engagement. See the examples below to get a clearer understanding, or visit this page for even more OKR examples categorized by different teams.
  3. Once you have completed drafting the first objective, add 1–2 objectives more. Just as a reminder, at first it is smart not to start with too many objectives.
  4. Now that you have run through the OKR process, it is time to repeat the process company/team wide.
  • If you need an overall OKR step by step guide, I would recommend this ebook on OKRs (FREE). This is a “How-to” guide for getting started with OKRs and to help your team or company implement the best goal setting system currently out there. It consists of history, framework, templates, examples and practical guidelines. Also available on kindle.
  • If you have questions like “How to get the team on board?”, “What are the benefits of OKRs?” etc. I would recommend to read the Top 10 Questions Managers Have About OKR Goal Setting (Examples and Templates)
  • In case, you need examples of different OKRs for different teams, I advise you to take a look at the OKR examples. There are example OKRs for a variety of teams and departments: Marketing, Sales, Finance/Accounting, Product Management, HR, Customer Service, Engineering and more. Feel free to copy and improve.

What to avoid when starting out with setting OKRs?

  • Don’t list too many objectives. It is the number one mistake me and everybody else make. Just last quarter I realised that I have been listing too many objectives for one quarter. Funnily enough, this year we set our OKRs for one month and what ended up happening was that the amount of objectives for one month was the perfect amount for one quarter. So, if you find yourself struggling with too many objectives, set them for one month first and plan to execute them in one quarter.
  • Make sure your objectives align with the company objective(s). The whole point of OKRs is so that everybody will move in the same direction as a company. Always start with your company objectives. This doesn’t mean that you have to set the OKRs from top to bottom, but make sure you have one direction in place, so that everybody can align accordingly.
  • Objectives have to be challenging. Objectives are your goals that are meant to be aspirational, challenging, qualitative, time bound, and unambiguous. In fact, with OKRs you should aim for 70% achievement rate. Otherwise, your goals were not ambitious enough.
  • Keep metrics out of objectives. Objectives are the “What?” and key results the “How?”.
  • Key results have to be numeric and measurable. Key results aka evaluation of achievement. The “How?”. It can be: 0–100% progress, dollars, items, units, articles, people, grade rating, project phases.
  • Make sure you have key results that measure success relevant to your objectives. As stated in the previous point, key results represent the “how?”: How are you going to achieve that particular Objective?
  • Spend more time setting your OKRs. Often times OKRs are set for one quarter, so your team or company success can really depend on how you set your OKRs. Therefore, I suggest that you start by setting objectives 2–4 weeks before the next quarter, so that you will have enough time to discuss and set objectives with your team.
  • Include your whole team in the OKR setting process. I will elaborate on how to get the team on board in the next chapter, but to conclude — you need your team to buy-in in order to be successful. As a team manager, I asked my team members to propose their activities for this quarter considering the overall theme of being the best OKR software out there. On the basis of my teams propositions I form our marketing team OKRs and after that we go over these with our CEO. This process is repeated throughout the company with other teams. This way every person has a say in it and we are all invested in achieving our goals. It is an amazing sight when everybody is working towards a common goal. You start to see the power of unity, making the work more efficient and less time consuming.
  • Write your objectives so that even your grandmother would understand. OKRs are not only for yourself, but everyone. OKRs are meant to bring clarity and unity to the whole company. Its structure can even help you to understand who is working in what team. Keeping that in mind, write your OKRs so that everyone would understand.
  • Visit your objectives weekly. OKRs work the best if everybody views and updates them regularly.
  • Make sure key results have an equal value. Let’s say you have one objective and 3 key results. In theory, these 3 key results are each worth 33.3% of that one objective. Make sure the key results have almost an equal value, that way you make sure that the progress of your OKRs is equal as well.
  • Make OKRs public. As stated earlier, OKRs are kept public, in front of everyone, so teams move in one direction and know what others are focusing on.

How to get the team on board?

  • Increase productivity by focusing on the right goals that are aligned with the overall business goals. It keeps the vision and goals in front of you at all times.
  • Get praise and know what others are doing. By listing your quarterly or monthly goals and key results, everybody knows what you are focusing on and therefore don’t have to report as much. Also, it is easier to give feedback when everybody knows what you are up to.
  • Clarity of what is expected from you and defined key results by which your success is measured.




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