When prepping to rollout OKRs to your Company you'll need to decide how you'd like to structure your program.  One of the first things you need to define is your cadences. 

Although the word "cadence" can sound somewhat fancy, cadence is nothing but the frequency in which you create goals, the timeframe you designate to deliver results.

OKRs typically work with a combination of cadences that interact with each other to create a rhythm of continuous and focused progress. You have a high-level goal with a longer horizon, that can only be accomplished through the execution of smaller goals with a shorter horizon. 

The standard combination in the OKR framework is strategic, annual and quarterly. Strategic goals provide the long term direction while Annual OKRs communicate the outcomes the Company (and sometimes departments) wants to achieve by the end of the year. Quarterly OKRs are the short term results teams will generate to help achieve the Company annual results.

When defining your cadences, keep the following things in mind.

Keep it simple

If you're new to OKR, work with 2 cadences to begin with. A cadence for Company wide goals and a second one for Groups (teams and departments). 

Some organizations work with multiple cadences that allow more strategic teams to measure valuable results, but we suggest you stick to one cadence across all teams to ensure dependencies are coordinated and aligned. Start simple and then modify the process as you iterate and learn.

Keep it agile

For an early startup, for example things move at a faster pace because you're still making your way into the market, there's still a level of uncertainty and priorities shift constantly. Because of this, you might want to work with shorter cadences, this will keep you focused but agile (ie. Company bi-annual/team bi-monthly).

For more established companies, with less uncertainty, a longer cadence for Company goals could potentially be a better option. Of course, you still need to keep things agile, therefore it's important to balance it out with a shorter cadence at team level. Teams need enough time to develop initiatives that will create impact and outcomes, NOT to-do lists. The shorter the time frame, the higher the chances you'll end up with lists and lists of tasks.

Add them to Perdoo

Create your timeframes in Perdoo to set the record straight and communicate clearly when results need to be delivered. We also recommend adding timeframes in advance, to enable teams to create a roadmap by adding OKRs into future cadences. This is a good prioritization exercise that can put things into perspective.

Collect feedback

Finding the right cadence is an iterative process. Don't expect to get it right on the first try. 

The annual/quarterly combination works for most organizations and to keep things simple we recommend you start there. Remember, this is not set in stone. At the end of each quarter discuss the experience, identify the learnings and make the necessary adjustment to make the framework work for you, and not the other way around.

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