OKRs Brainstorming Canvas

Background

OKRs Cycle

Cycle Planning

Cycle Close, Cycle Open

Cycle Close

  1. Update OKRs % complete (for simplicity, I calculate the average of the objective’s KRs % complete
  2. Grading your execution (OKRs). This is different than the % complete, see the Grading and Self-assessment section for more information. Grading includes self-assessment
  3. Discuss results with the leadership team
  4. Review progress toward long term OKRs (strategic OKRs)

Cycle Open

  1. Align on the OKRs for the next cycle
  2. Discuss the plan and assess risks
  3. Discuss VofC. I use VofC to help people stretch. I normally shoot for 7/10 VofC

Cycle Execution

OKRs Brainstorming Canvas

  1. A balance between lag and lead measures. This is important for my team because it balances the things that are under their control with the things that are not. Focusing mainly on lag measures might create confusion and decrease motivation since no progress is made until the end of the cycle or late in the process
  2. Allow people and contributors, stakeholders in my case, to contribute to the lead measures to make sure we are working on the right thing. This helped a lot with alignment and in exhausting all options to what we do to improve effectiveness and efficiency (improved execution)
  3. Canvas is a way to brainstorm, so it is totally okay, if not recommended, to use other tools to feed into the OKRs Brainstorming Canvas. For example, you can use Impact Mapping to find out what impact you want to aim for, or the Business Model Canvas to understand what value you are trying to create.
Download OKR Brainstorming Canvas pdf here

Long term OKRs, the top section of the OKRs Brainstorming Canvas

Download OKR Brainstorming Canvas pdf here

What is the OKRs Brainstorming Session

  1. Alignment: High level of alignment since everyone contributed to the process and know how you came up with your OKR
  2. Creativity: More ideas might lead to better solution and KRs
  3. Buy-in: collaborators will have skin in the game. Also, even if you don’t go with their ideas, they will feel that they are heard and will understand the logic of why you went with other ideas.

Who to invite to the brainstorming session

How to use the OKRs Brainstorming Canvas

Objective column

The “Why?” column

  1. The “Why” is this important, which connects the objective to the vision and/or long term strategy.
  2. “Why” to construct the right objective, asking why multiple times to get to the root of what you are trying to achieve or deliver. For example, Objective: Build a new mobile app, Why? To demo it to the board of directors, Why? To get support for the new initiatives. Your Objective could be: Gain support for the new initiatives.
  1. It provides context to why this objective is important
  2. It will influence some of the outcomes or lag measures you desire
  3. It will motivate you and your team members to do what it takes to get it done.
  4. You can use this section to refine your objective

Key Results (Lag measures and Lead measures columns)

  1. Lose 10 pounds of fat
  2. Gain % of muscle mass
  1. Go to the GYM three times a week
  2. Eat healthy 4 times a week
  3. Reduce calorie intake by 50%
  1. List all lag measures you can think of
  2. Use the objective and the “Why” columns to inspire you and to provide more context
  3. Make sure you add numbers to the lag measures, such as a $ amount, a number of users, etc. For example, how many monthly active users do I need to be able to achieve the objective? Remember, the lag measures provide a means on how to track progress toward your objective.
  4. If needed, you can update the “Why” and/or the “Objective” columns to match your lag measures new findings.
  1. Your objective
  2. Your lag measures or some of them

Lead Measures Vs. Lag Measures

  • Tactics are what you do, lag measures are the outcomes
  • You can measure tactics during the cycle. Most of the time you would have to wait to collect lag measures: sales results, marketing campaign reach, etc.
  • You control your tactics, but you don’t control the outcomes
  1. What are the top 2–3 tactics that I can do that can ensure achieving the lag measures and the objective
  2. Review the lag measures and evaluate which combination of tactics and lag measures make more sense.

Type of Key Results

  1. Currency: For example, increase revenue by $10M | Start: $14M Target: $24M
  2. Number: Make 100 calls to potential customers | Start: 0 Target: 100
  3. Yes/No: This is a tricky one, for example, Release Product X. It is either you release the product or you don’t. Alternately to using yes/no Key Results type, you can use percentage to show progress. See the next example.
  4. Percentage: Percentage is useful if the KR is associated with a big project. For example, Finish development of feature X. You might finish 95% of the feature. Using % in this scenario is better than using yes/no KR value.

OKRs Column

  1. Write down the objective from the first column. Maybe adjust the wording to match what you want to achieve. Your objective should be directional and inspirational. Remember that your objective is not a goal, the objective and key results are, so your objective doesn’t have to be measurable or specific.
  2. Add one or more lag measures/outcomes/impact from the lag measures/outcomes/impact columns. For the most part, those lag measures will determine when you will achieve the objective.
  3. Add a few tactics from your list of tactics/todos that you believe that by doing them, you are most likely to achieve the objective. Please note that sometimes the objective is totally under your control and the tactics/todos will determine the completion of the objective it. For example, if your objective is a bit tactical like Release Product X to the market, then doing all of your tactics/todos will determine the success or failure of the goal. In this case, of course, you probably will not have lag measures.

Grading and Self-assessment

  1. Sandbag themselves by setting achievable goals
  2. themselves high enough to get a better evaluation, you want your people to always challenge themselves.
  1. Finish the new, modified interview process by 6/3
  2. Finish and share the onboarding process by 7/7
  3. Hire 5 new project managers by 7/20
  4. Get 20 potential PMs to an onsite interview
  1. Did I accomplish all of my objectives?
  2. Highlights: What contributed to my success?
  3. Lowlights: What obstacles did I encounter?
  4. Where the outcomes achieved? If I were to rewrite an objective I achieved in full, what would I change?
  5. What have I learned that might alter my approach to the next cycle’s OKRs?

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