One of the big steps you take when working with OKRs is shifting your thinking process from outputs to outcomes. Organizations, teams, flourish from the results they produce and the impact they create, not by checking off a list of to do's that may or may not push the company forward.
It's quite common to confuse Key Results with Initiatives that fall more into the project umbrella. Your Key Results should provide feedback of whether or not you're achieving your Objective through data.
When adding Key Results for an Objective, ensure that they are:
- Within circle of influence
- Challenging, but not impossible
- Time bound
Coming up with good Key Results is something that you master over time, and with each iteration you'll learn different things. One of the most common pain points though, are lagged metrics.
Having an OKR with lagged Key Results simply means that you'll be able to see measurable results after the quarter. So the question is how to best handle this when you're in the middle of this crossroad.
Although we ourselves haven't fully answered this question yet and are still testing and investigating difference angles, we have identified a few practices that you may find helpful.
Monitor your OKR after the quarter.
When your Key Results are lagged, truth is most of the progress will be reflected at Initiative level, this is ok. We know this can sometimes be a bit demotivating, but you should still recognize the hard work you're putting into it. We recommend that for these cases, you do two things:
- Update the status. Even if the value of the Key Results isn't moving yet, indicate how confident you feel about achieving them with all the work you've done.
- Monitor the Key Results. Past the quarter, you want to validate whether or not the Initiatives you completed produced the results you expected.
Pros. You create a good OKR that truly measures the business impact you're trying to create.
Cons. You risk not being agile enough as it'll take longer to validate if the time you've invested was really worth it.
Think of immediate outcomes
If, for example, you have an Objective titled "Train our employees for success" you'll only truly know if they're successful after a longer period of time, so how can you validate this in a shorter timeframe?
To achieve this, you have to provide great training, but training people is an output, therefore an Initiative. So what would the outcome of the training be? How can you validate that employees acquired the necessary knowledge? The answer depends on what you're trying to achieve but a few examples are:
- Sales executives are comfortably offering the new product
- 90% average score on practical test
Pros. You'll have a measure of success for that period of time and you won't have to wait past the quarter to see results.
Cons. You could potentially end up with binary Key Results.
To add Key Results to your team OKRs:
- From the left navigation menu, click on your Group
- Click on the menu icon for the Objective you wish to add a Key Result
- Select Add Key Result
- Add the Key Result Name
- Add a Metric and a Metric unit
- Add Start and End values
- Search and select the person who will be the Key Result Lead
- Click Submit
Note: You can also add Key Results from My profile and on the Objective details page.