Objectives and Key Results (OKR) in practice

OKR is a goal-setting system creating alignment and engagement around measurable and ambitious goals. Used by companies such as Google, Netflix, or Linkedin. Get to know it.

  • What is OKR?
  • OKR example
  • Where to use OKR?
  • Typical pitfalls
  • OKR vs KPI - what's the difference?
  • Q&A session
Webinar transcription

Objectives and Key Results in Practice

[00:00:02.930] - Pawel Felinski

Hello. Welcome to Agile Encounters. Today's topic is objectives and key results in Practise. Together with Scott Oliver, we will share with you our insights about using the OKR framework in Practise. Let's take a look at the flow. We'll start with obviously what OKR is about. Then the big question why, in which cases should we use OKR at all? Then I think the most important part we will share with you typical pitfalls related to OKR and framework and we will conclude with comparison of that framework with what you would see typically in business. So, key performance indicators. I hope you are ready. Let's give it a try. 

First of all, OKR, as mentioned at the beginning, stands for objective and key results and it's a goal setting system. Some of you might be familiar with the concept. Each OKR, each objective and key results is actually a set of statements where the objective is the one litative one, it is desired goal. What we want to achieve in the future as a company, as a project product, a team, we're going to talk about different levels shortly and cure results. Typically two, three, five, maximum six, I'd say are measurable what you're going to measure.

[00:01:41.150] - Pawel Felinski

So, goals expressed as a set of measurements that support the objective. That's in general, that's in general. Not now going into details. Scott, I wonder, in your Practise, where would you use OKR?

[00:01:59.510] - Scott Oliver

Yeah. Hi, Pawel. Where would I use OKRs as a framework? Everywhere, really. I've seen it used at organisational level, from the top level, right the way down to individual small teams that wanted to try and motivate themselves to start to deliver against obviously their objectives and use those key results to measure that progress all over. I've seen it working across many organisations. I've also seen it not working across organisations because they've implemented it without actually understanding it.

[00:02:33.630] - Pawel Felinski

Is there any place you wouldn't use OKR, like or play place or context, where you think the framework is harmful?

[00:02:41.560] - Scott Oliver

Actually, yeah. So I've seen it where the organisation is like, yeah, we've got this new buzzword of OKR, we've got this new tool and they are fantastic. We're going to roll them out and basically cascade them and tell everybody that this is what you're doing. Remove the whole idea of empowerment and then always bring it right down to individuals or performance management. I wouldn't encourage that at all because it can help drive the wrong behaviours quite big time. People might have seen, okay, I use the performance management. It sounds fantastic when you think about it, the goal setting tool, but actually, depending on what an individual performance sort of management objective should be more personal development rather than organisational objectives. So, yeah, probably not in performance management.

[00:03:33.270] - Pawel Felinski

Got it. My experience slightly similar, partially different. So, first of all, where I see people implement it typically is a team level. I'm not saying be harmful. Absolutely team. Can any team, any kind of team, can consider goals using the OKR framework. However, I think this is a lost opportunity. If you engage the interdepartment, even the intercompany in OKR, that makes way more sense, it's way more applicable. There are two voices in my practise, partial competing. And I think, Scott, you and me, we are actually in these two different camps. I personally wouldn't use OKR everywhere. Well, I would use it everywhere, but not for everything. And in my opinion, but that's perhaps my coaching preference when I work with teams is I would use OKR to help teams or organisations again, wherever we are in the structure, to achieve goals that are aspirational goals. I wouldn't set OKR for business as usual. If you are a sales department and what you do is sailing and you would do it anyway on daily basis, I wouldn't perhaps set an OKR for something, but anyway you have to do. But if, as a sales department, you want to expand to a new market or use completely different technology, that sounds like audiacous goal worth achieving on top of business as usual. And here is where I see, OKR, I'm not sure what your thought about this one is.

[00:05:18.600] - Scott Oliver

Yeah. No, I agree. I think that business as usual could potentially be a measure key results towards one of those of bigger objectives, more motivational stuff. So I wouldn't say it's not important to make that visible and actually have measures against that business as usual using OKRs. But, yeah, you could quite easily quite do that, and I have seen that, and that's why you touch on key performance indicators as well, which I think we might touch on later on. And, yeah, a measurement of a performance indicator that's possibly not doing very well could actually spark off, right, we need to improve this, let's create some sort of a motivational objective to then create some key results off the back of it. So it's quite an interesting one. It can be used everywhere, whether it should be. And I think that the key thing for me is it's not just a tool buzzword, you really got to embrace it. If a team does it and the organisation is taught the opposite, and they are literally cascading objectives and not necessarily goals, but like targets and deliverables, then it's going to be really difficult to actually implement.You've got to have that alignment at all, top down, bottom, left and right.

[00:06:34.420] - Scott Oliver

Yeah, I totally agree. I said at the beginning, OKR is a framework, so perhaps way more than just what you can see here, objective and set of measurements, set of key results about the framework, Party governance. Perhaps in a moment, perhaps in a moment. I think we owe everybody an example. So here it goes. This is a very nice example of an OKR, a goal that is set based on that one. Scott, I know it's yours example. Would you be so kind to explain it to all of us, what this one is about, how to read it?

[00:07:15.130] - Scott Oliver

This is an example, not a real one, it's just really tongue in cheek, so please don't be offended by it. So let's pretend we have an organisation and we want to be able to really try and improve and be able to respond and adapt to change. So we say, let's become an Agile organisation that will respond and adapt to change. So if you think about having that ability, that's going to be really useful going forward, especially for the survivability and sustainability of the actual organisation, given how quickly the world moves. So usually what people would do in that scenario is like, right, let's go and do some loads of tasks, let's just jump straight in and just create, right, we're going to do this, we want to do that, whatever that might be. And there's probably hundreds and thousands of different things you could potentially do well. How would you know that that's going to help you become an organisation that can respond and adopt a change? It's really just guesswork until you have to get some results. So we thought the idea is use some key results so you've got the objective there and let's create some key results that actually we can measure. They are not tasks, they're not deliverables. That's one of the pitfalls which probably touch on soon as people just jump straight into tasks in this point. And actually, if you think about what it takes to be an Agile organisation, that can respond to that, to change. So in the Agile world, we talk about product and value delivery and service design. Service delivery, not necessarily projects, doesn't necessarily mean you can't work in that world. But let's just pretend hypothetical, for this particular organisation, they want to have less than 20% of projects funded by year, so we can actually adapt, we can respond to change, we can make sure our funding is like this month, we need to spend X amount, it's totally different. Whereas if you planned all that money up front, you might not have the budget to do what you need to do and obviously adapt and respond to that change. So the idea is, let's have 20% projects less than funded by year. So if we think about actually the next level down off that is there's probably a lot of tasks, a lot of things and actions that you can actually do deliverables that might get us to depend 20% and that's trackable, that's measurable, we can actually measure that we're at 50%, right? We need to get down to 20% by whatever date. That's really good. And the same applies for the rest of them. Obviously, using objectives and key results as part of the metric, part of the key result at the bottom there, we actually have this implemented and you might be at a trap. We've got 22 products, we need to make sure we've got objectives and key results sort of aligned across the whole organisation. There zero gunshots exist. Don't be offended by that one. It's just an idea that we can't plan too far ahead. We want to be making sure that whatever plans we do have, we are able to respond and be able to adapt and change. And normally, if you're not really being Agile, you can. Charts are normally set in stone and the potential for scope changes and quality changes, et cetera, and time changes later on. So these are just really tongue and cheek examples of potential metrics that you could use to have measure your progress towards achieving that objective. There's probably many more, there's five there. I'm sure if we spend some time, we can create some better ones and create many more. The idea is to not have too many so we don't lose our focus. The idea is this is their objective and this is the measures that we are going to use potentially to help us achieve our objective. Right. Thank you.

[00:10:39.390] - Pawel Felinski

Thank you very much. Scott. What I see from a high level, perhaps a quick, a bit simplistic, but nice checklist, the objective has no numbers. It's literally the goal. State somewhere in the future what we want to achieve. It's about where we want to be, as simple as that. Key results have numbers. It's not that any sentence with a number is a key result. They have to be measures, you have to be able to track them. But that's the first thing what I can see that makes a difference, something that is not written here. And I don't know if you will agree with me or not, but I find it the most difficult part of OKR framework, the fact that we assume over here that the key results so all the stuff, all the measurements here in yellow, if they are accomplished, if these tiny measurable goals are accomplished, the enter qualitative objective would be accomplished as well. And I think it's difficult to craft such a list of key results, but we are somehow sure that if we are done, the objective is done. Am I right?

[00:11:53.970] - Scott Oliver

Yeah, no, definitely. I mean, the key results might change, objective might not be hit, it might take a lot longer. This might be something that lasts five or six years, even longer than that. Ultimate objectives last a bit longer than that ten year objective. To do this, we have various governments promising objectives over a longer period of time. These key results are there. It's our best guess to help us towards achieving that goal. There's probably many others and I think it's just given us some focus and alignment around what it is that we want to focus on right now. There might be other measures that come up once those have been completed, once we've hit those. But the overall target, the overall objective, I mean, chances are if you do these right and you do these collaboratively, you will achieve that qualitative objective. But sometimes you might need a few more key results. Yeah, it just depends on your time box and how big of an objective that is, how ambitious.

[00:12:48.550] - Pawel Felisnki

All right, so let's talk a little bit about typical Pitfalls related to OKR. I thought maybe let's talk first of all about objectives themselves, just the qualitative part. Scott, any bold example of a pitfall, something that is absolutely a no go for objective.

[00:13:09.390] - Scott Oliver

Not measuring quality. It's literally task specific, very similar to what I would say for K results, which we'll touch on soon, is I want you to do this. This is what we want to achieve, this is what we want to roll out, this is the task we are going to do. And it's the same as if we talk about Sprint goals, et cetera, not having our qualitative sprint goals and being very focused on measure and targets, it's not really going to give you anything. The thing I would try and encourage people to do is ask the question, why is that important to you? That you do that thing, and then that will help bring that up a level to a point where there's actually an objective. Actually, I want to do this or achieve this. That achieve this part. Exactly what we should be striving for. So yeah, probably not creating qualitative objectives.

[00:13:59.550] - Pawel Felinski

I personally have troubles with Pitfalls of objectives because immediately in my mind what is triggered is thinking not about bad objective of OKR framework, but in general not appropriate goal setting. And I think the example of a Pitfall that resonates with me is something that happened to me three or four years ago during one of my customer engagement. I was having conversation with the head of a pretty big department and I think it was March, February, beginning of the year, and he proudly shared with me three goals, annual goals for the interdepartment not OPR framework at all, but three qualitative, qualitative goals for the year. And only one of them was, in my opinion, outcome based. For me it's essential on one side it can be a task, but it has to be outcome based. The first one that they were to achieve was well, by the end of the year we want to have a plan how to achieve something more serious in the following year. So actually the goal for the year was to have a plan to achieve something outcome based. And when we pointed out that not outcome based, it was a big AHA moment for that director these days.

[00:15:28.060] - Scott Oliver

So anything that you can say, in my opinion, that you can do in the wrong way for any kind of goal would be applicable for objectives as well. How about the key results? Typical Pitfalls related to this one.

[00:15:43.550] - Pawel Felinski

The absolute main number one is people jumping straight from the objective into tasks. What do we need to do to achieve that? Which is common sense. If I ask you, Pawel, like if I say I want to lose weight by whenever the thing people will start doing right, I need go to the gym three times a week, I need to do this, I need to do that, I need to do that. Actually, that might not get me where I want to be. I don't know whether that will if I'm going to the gym five times a week, but I'm eating 10,000 calories a day, chances are I'm not going to be losing weight. But and the health and nutrition on this call, but yeah, it's creating tasks and it's so easy to jump into that creating tasks because that is where people's comfort zone is coming up with ideas, coming up with insights from how we can improve things, creating actions, specific actions. Fantastic. Which is absolutely brilliant. And as a coach, I encourage people to do that. But if we just bring it back a bit and take a step back and say, if we were to do that task, will it achieve that objective?

[00:16:46.070] - Pawel Felinski

The chances are you don't really know that. So we create some sort of key result around it and create some measurement that we can then create some tasks, then chances are you'll have a little bit more success. So, yeah, creating tasks, if you find.

[00:16:57.510] - Scott Oliver

Out yourself in the position that that key result looks like a task, actually, what would be your piece of advice? How to overcome that situation?

[00:17:07.100] - Pawel Felinski

Yeah. So there's a little template, a little tool I've used for many years. It's not mine, I think I pasted it for somebody else many years ago. Obviously, these things have been around a while. If you were to be successful with X, whatever, that task that you created. So if you were to be successful with implementing this thing so I don't know, let's just say the task was when you send out 25 emails. That sounds measurable. I can say 25 emails, but actually that's more of a task. So let's send those 25 emails out. But is it going to give you the right results? No. What are you actually trying to achieve by doing that task? So if you were successful in sending those 25 emails out, what would you have more of? What would you have less of? And it might be more uplift in, I don't know, click throughs on the website or it might be increasing user engagement, it could be anything in that respect. Bring it up a level using that template. If you were successful with X, which is the task that you've created, what will it give you? Will you have more or less of something?

[00:18:05.150] - Pawel Felinski

Will it improve, increase, decrease something? And it's that thing at the end that's something, the end that actually sounds like probably will be the key result. And the idea is just to keep trying and having to play around with it. You're never going to get this right from day one. Again, you can run two day workshops and training on this and still get it wrong. It's about practise. It's permanent for this.

[00:18:26.770] - Scott Oliver

I tend to agree. When I think of typical pitfall of teams I supported on level key results, there will be definitely fixing on the number. If you have a number in a key result, doesn't mean it is a key result or it's a good key result. One of the reasons why we have a key result as a measurement is to help us track it. So I tend to tell people, avoid one timers. So something that would be maybe not a simple task, but the state of the measurement is zero or one. We did it or we didn't do it. Not yet at least. So one time or not, if this is a measurement, something that you can measure over time. It helps you track your progress, it helps you take a look at, make decisions about what we can do next, what would be our next tiny task in order to help us improve this particular result, a particular measurement. So I prefer leading indicators over here. Not like you want something that you can track. And that leads us to a slightly different topic that I initially thought we want to bring up here.

[00:19:38.910] - Pawel Felinski

But why not? OKR is a framework, right? So I have objective set of measurements. Is there any governance process around it? Because I believe it's not that we just created OKR in January and we come back to it in December, right?

[00:19:56.350] - Scott Oliver

Yeah. It's a goal setting tool, isn't it? It's not something where you're setting, it's a target. And this is where we confuse it with KPIs, where you have right. We need to hit 100% of something, and if we want to hit 90% of something, it's clusters red or amber on the rag status red, amber, green, status log thing, whatever. It's been tracked on and that scene is not very good. However, if it's me, I want to lose weight and I've got to lose ten stone. Let's just say that's not true, but close enough and I lost nine stone. That's pretty freaking fantastic. Like, in the KPI world, I'll be red or an amber. I'm not great. Actually, that would be marked as bad, but actually treating it as a goal system. Goal setting system. It's a good we're on track towards achieving that. But in order to be on track, we need to keep measuring and we need to keep evolving it. So actually, as we progress towards our objective, we might change our key results or we might change the whole of the key result. It might just be the measurement, the quantitative part of that key result. So we got to make sure that we are constantly refining these. So on a regular basis in our OKR workshop, one day, sort of training thing, we go through a recommended cadence. There is a recommended cadence from us. For me, it's about finding your feet, starting really simple and just saying, how often do we need to keep on track of these? If you set them in January and you don't look at them again until the end of the year, you're probably not going to find them useful. You want to be able to, especially in that example, if you want to respond to change the idea. Obviously, one of the major things about setting objective skill resources really help transform things and have inspirational targets and objectives and outcomes. Yeah, you need to keep track of that stuff.

[00:21:47.330] - Pawel Felinski

I think it was Paulo Coelho who said once that everybody wants to lose weight. Like, literally everybody. So let's come back to our, maybe our example over here. When I look at the key results in here, I think the governance cadence is indeed up to this particular organisation or a team. But based on if you are able to track your key results, you would end up with interesting conversations about tasks that are not part of key result. Imagine we are in the middle of the year, in the middle of the time frame that we set ourselves to achieve the objective. And first two key results already done. We made it. But we see there was no progress with the remaining free ones. It's a hint for us as a team or as an organisation where to invest our attention. Now, if we find out that we are okay with all five, we are on track and we maybe hit them, except for one, the last one. It's again a nice conversation that we can have with the team, what we can do to improve that measurement. We may find out that none of the key results is close to the target, but actually we think that we already achieved our objective.

[00:23:08.750] - Scott Oliver

So is there still a need to track these measurements? Maybe something else is more important. So I see two cadences that a team needs to agree on. One would be review of the OKR. Should we leave it at something? Remove the key result? And another one is more frequent, more frequent cadence. But I would see even every week, maybe two weeks in place to set very short term tasks. But we'll do something with key results closer to the target. Fair enough. However, the OKR framework is not only about objectives and key results, it's actually way broader, especially if you take a look at the broader perspective. So the question that we would like to focus on right now is what's the difference between KPI and OKR? And I have a picture that would support that statement. I think the biggest difference is alignment engagement. How does it work in Practise?

[00:24:15.320] - Scott Oliver

That's a big question, isn't it? How does it work in Practise? It depends how good you are creating OKRs. You want to be creating these OKR in collaboratively with each other, you might say organisations, right, we've got these objectives and we just roll that out and that's what we're doing for the rest of the year and everyone gets given deliverables. In an ideal world, we would help create those together, depending on obviously the size of the organisation. We need to be realistic here and depending on what level we get down. So you might have the ultimate OKR, the top objective that leads down into aligns into programme level and then into team level. And as I mentioned before, probably not into individual level because it's not really useful giving more damage. The idea is that we create that alignment. We don't want to. Traditionally, we cascade objectives. My line manager might have a set of objectives for the team and then his line manager then has another set of objectives for multiple teams, et cetera. And they are literally just going to do that. Don't really talk to each other, don't really align at all.. And what we want to do is everything we do from right from the bottom right to the top, should have some sort of alignment. So even down to the very small task, ask that the team say like say the bottom left hand corner of that, okay, our little white box there says, right, I'm doing this little task. Which measure is that going to hit, which key result is that going to hit? It's going to hit this key result which will obviously help us towards achieving that measure, which will help us towards achieving that objective which then link to a higher objective, or maybe one on the to the right hand side of it or to the left hand side of it. Whichever way it needs to scale and it has to align to those as well. So it might actually, by achieving the objective, it might achieve some of the measurements or key results or objectives from other teams within the department or the programme or even right up to the top level. So the key really is to really make those align, top down, bottom up, left and right diagonal, as you can see by all of those hours there. And the second word there is engagement. So doing these and creating these together, if you just literally get some manager somewhere and just cascade them out and say right, you're doing that, are you really going to be bought into them? Objectives are supposed to be engaging and motivational. If you are part of the creation, even if it's just conversations where we generate some insights of what we could achieve in the set that direction, chances are people are going to be a lot more engaged and a lot more bought into that whole outcome based sort of goal setting tool that we're using.

[00:26:44.530] - Pawel Felinski

And I think that this is one of the most important aspects of the OKR framework. It's not that you can release it in any organisation without some sort of preparation. Because if I want my people to be engaged in creation of OKR, there has to be a sort of trust. Typically KPIs are cascaded, as you said. Somewhere on the board of members said these are our annual goals, these are the KPIs. I cascade them down, each department have to comply. And here I say this is the destination. Now on the level of company, now on the level of departments, you tell me what your OKR, in other words, what your goals would be to support what I set what I set as a goal on the higher level, the same on teams level. Team, you decide what your OKR would be to support the OKR of the interdepartment. How does it work in Practise? Because that seems to be very challenging to help people engage right.

[00:27:46.530] - Scott Oliver

And I think there's another way to add to this mix and that's empowerment to the teams. If people aren't empowered to create their objectives because they're getting given deliverables, they are getting set targets, et cetera, for the year or even longer, it's going to be really difficult. This is why a lot of people are using objects and key results and they're not really doing them very well, they're doing them quite badly and then you end up hearing, that doesn't work here. And it's the same for anything. You can literally replace OKR with any word, anything that we do from Agility perspective. And if you do it badly and you're not really set up for success with that, and you're not really willing to give it a go in real change, really change all of the structure around it. So HR finances all of that sort of stuff and actually have some sort of business solutions to help deliver this, then it's going to be really difficult. And to try and do this bottom up is extremely difficult. You need that buy in from all levels. But the word empowerment, I think is a really interesting point, because it's what really I love this part of it, is you might set the direction with the people. You create some measurements around that direction. And in the previous traditional planning sessions, or traditional way of doing planning, is you create some tasks and you just go ahead and do that. The manager might do that or team lead or something, or the organisation might do that, but actually, OKR gives the power to the people and lets them use their skills and experience. I was working in previous organisation and they created a deliverable, so why don't you do this? And actually another team said, well, hang on a minute, let's hold on a minute, let's speak to the ten people that we've got really good experience here, many years of actually doing this work. Let's create an objective and set some direction, create some measurements on how to get on that will track against that outcome, and then see what they come up with. In terms of that deliverable. The manager was like, no, this deliverable is I know I'm right because I've been doing this a long time. But actually, the team had a lot more counter argument and then they started to come up with ideas which were actually a lot better and achieved a better outcome than what that one deliverable and what that manager said.So they are actually empowered. So they used the OKR framework. Whilst they were aligned to the overall objective of the organisation and the programmes, they use that framework to really create engagement and empowerment of the people, which is one of my favourite things. But it's really difficult to get right because it takes time and a lot of people need to get out of the wrong way to empower and allow the teams to really thrive.

[00:30:16.870] - Pawel Felinski

So in conclusion, I'd say something that initially looked as a very simple framework, simple picture like with all other frameworks that we have in the Agile world nearby, is way more difficult and such as even the culture of the organisation. Okay, I think we are ready for questions. So if you have a question, please write it down. There's a Q and A mode turned on. We're going to give you a minute to type the questions. We'll be happy to give you the answer if we can.

[00:31:08.430] - Pawel Felinski

Don't be afraid to ask a question. It's typing.

[00:31:25.490] - Scott Oliver

Somebody's typing.

[00:31:26.510] - Pawel Felinski

Indeed. It might be a long question. Take your time. No worries.

[00:31:29.310] - Scott Oliver

Yeah, long question.

[00:31:42.890] - Pawel Felinski

We'll see.

[00:31:52.790] - Scott Oliver

Go ahead. I was going to say just feel free to if you've got any questions about objectives and key results, whether you've used them before, you haven't you've got no experience or you're really interested in using them, please use this time. We're here to sort of answer as best we can based on our experience and offer you some advice if we can, or point you in the right direction. If you haven't got any questions, that's not a problem. Thank you, gents. No questions from me was well explained. Thanks.

[00:32:17.790] - Pawel Felinski

Fair enough. Actually, if I know questions from the audience, I will bring up a few. Recently we delivered a few objectives and key results training sessions. One a long session were we go way more into details and one of the questions was, is there any tool that we would recommend to craft and then track? OKR. My immediate answer, Scott, was mural. Simply Mural board, but that would be me. Do you have any on your mind?

[00:32:53.610] - Scott Oliver

There's a few. I can't remember the names off the top of my head. If anyone's interested, please do put that in the chat and I'll make sure we send out some ideas. But none of you. To be fair, I've never used them. It's always been this stuff. Even now, when everyone's working remote, it's just some sort of physical or virtual board where we can actually just brainstorm and share and make visible our objectives. In order to create the OPR framework, in order to create some objective results, whether you've got one or many, you need collaboration, so you need that space. So whatever tool you end up with generally is like the final, like, right, we've got our objective, we got key results, you got to revolve it and you got to show that progress. So something as simple as a whiteboard if you're in the office with some positive notes and some marker pens or something like Mural or mural, yeah, just to keep going. I wouldn't start complicating it too much by introducing less fancy software. There is tools out there. I think Prodpad is the one I do like. Prodpad has a nice lean product roadmap. They use objectives and cures, as far as I'm aware. Don't quote me. On that one, but yeah, produced just some sort of collaboration tool. We got loads of questions now.

[00:34:12.950] - Pawel Felinski

Yeah, we do. Let's start from the one that I find pretty straightforward. It's on screen right now. If an individual team member like to opt OKR for the team, do the team needs any approvals from higher management?

[00:34:30.010] - Pawel Felinski

I say it just depends on the organisation. It depends on what? Your management?

[00:34:33.990] - Scott Oliver

Yeah, I think so. Like I said, this is not an easy thing to do. One of the real challenges is having the empowerment to do this. You talked about setting direction, creating some measures and then empowering people to create their own deliverables and tasks and initiatives to try and achieve that objective. The power of the people. It's flipping that hierarchical stuff on the head, on its head. Not everybody likes that. A lot of management might say we need to delegate and we need to come up with what the teams need to do. Actually, that doesn't always work in a lot of situations. So objectives, key results can help you get to that situation better, sort of more engaged, empowered teams.

[00:35:20.090] - Pawel Felinski 

I can say it's like with Scrum. If a team wants to do that and there's no policy forbidding them from doing it, why not? But at some point of time we may realise it's not as helpful as it could be if they had a broader project around that OKR is not as big as a Scrum, obviously. So if you have any, for instance, KPIs received as a part of Cascading in the organisation and you want to coin to craft OKR based on that, why not? Why not? It might be a very nice first step for the intercompany or at least department to start adopting this method. Cool question. Now, the big one, I think. Big one, because it's very broad. How do you overcome resistance, concerns about the empowerment, fear of handing over the control? It's a big one, I think there's no one fit all answer..

[00:36:27.710] - Scott Oliver

It's similar to the last question, really. It depends on the context. Like what's the root cause of that fear of handing over control? We're going into other subjects as well here, not just subject and skewers also talk about leadership here and having that ability to relinquish that control, to allow these people to do what they need to do. I think it's working out what the root causes of that fear and trying to work with those people to try and change their behaviours, potentially, how they are being held accountable. If they're being measured on certain way of doing things, chances are they might not change. It might be extremely difficult. Where's their fear coming from? What is the type of resistance? There's workshops and there's ways of facilitation techniques we can do to unpick that and obviously coaching itself as well. And then it's just a case of working through them. It depends on the context of the organisation. What I would encourage people to do is to give it a go. How do you know it's not going to work? Have you tried it before? Probably not. So why not experiment? What happens?

[00:37:36.790] - Pawel Felinski

My point of is slightly different to it in typical cases. Obviously I believe that resistance is constructive. Typically people resist from change because of actually valid reason. So my first thought would be I would find what is the problem, what causes the resistance? Or in general, if we take a step back, I would ask myself why do we want to implement in that case, OKR to the team? Right? Because I wouldn't like a team or an organisation to implement OKR because it's fancy or looks nice. Definitely want to solve a problem with OKR and if that's a problem, an organisation, a team understands there is a problem. Typically it's way easier for them to accept the solution if OKR is the solution to the problem. Very often I see resistance because nobody asked about this dissatisfaction or nobody said okay, you might be satisfied with what we have, but our stakeholders aren't. And that's pretty important to all of us. If it's explained, if it's made bold, typically we overcome the resistance way faster. I'm of course skipping all the topics where resistance unhealthy. So somebody says I don't want to because I don't want full stop and that's it. But that's the other topic. Cool question. Thank you. Thank you for that. Versus one more related to examples. Do you have any examples of strong OKR? And how is going to apply to individuals or small squads or teams?

[00:39:18.230] - Scott Oliver

Not off the top of your head. I mean the current people I'm working with, current organisation I'm working with, they used well last year they tried to implement some objectives and key results to help manage a transformation and help set direction on that transformation. So they created four objectives. I've actually got them on a separate screen. One is create a stronger connection with the vision and the strategy. Because if you think about the transformation, the whole organisation, the one to improve and not necessarily Agile wasn't the answer by the way. It was just generally improve how we work, how we deliver things, delivering value sooner rather than later and learning from that value. So they needed people to understand the strategy and create a stronger connection towards it. So that was quite a motivational objective, quite qualitative. Another one was create the time and focus and how we can support the strategy. These are really context specific, so to anyone else it might sound a bit weird, but to them they really found that they could engage with that because actually the main points were they didn't have enough time, they didn't really understand how they're going to get there.Another one was around leadership, another one was about empowering the teams to be the best they can be and do the right thing. It's all stuff that they know they would like to do. They then created some measures collectively with like this is at a large scale. So they had like 60 odd leaders in multiple workshops where they create key results that they could potentially do, potentially use the measure and then obviously they voted on which is the one most important that they think will help achieve these objectives and then they create some tasks. So that's a couple of examples. So the one was build leadership team to support the strategy. What I might say is something that's a really strong objective for me or an organisation or team might be totally different to someone else. I would say they have to be qualitative and measuring the outcome. If you've got a number in there, that's all right, but try make sure it's like a date rather than a target in terms of a performance indicator or something. As long as they're qualitative and quantitative key results so they actually measure that and the object that measures value.So that's what I would say.

[00:41:37.490] - Pawel Felinski

We've got one more question here and it's again on the individuals and teams level, but slightly different situation should be the individual OKRs be aligned with the team. OKRs. I'm happy to start over here because I'm not sure if I fully understand the question. Typically the goals in general are set somewhere there. I'm not talking about the board of members but could be level of department or a team and as we know, we are not cascaded but aligned within the structures. They might be aligned with your individual goals expressed also OKR, typically but I can imagine a situation. Something happened to me actually I was using OKR years ago for me personally to help me with my individual professional growth, professional development, individual goals. I had my objectives, I had set of key results. It was a tool, something between a stick and a card for myself to help me grow and I was using it just for me. And I used to work these days for a company that started to roll out OKR as a system for goal setting. And half a year after I used OKR for myself, I received OKR or we have this alignment exercise as a team and then individually, because now it was a system used for goal setting in the company. So I ended up with something that actually was aligned with my team and department and still my individual to OKRs related to nobody but just me. It was pretty confusing. That's how I see it. For historical reasons. Your individual OKR was first here. How do you read this question, Scott?

[00:43:29.630] - Scott Oliver

I was going to touch on it on the last question as well. I said earlier on in this call that I'm not encouraging people to use it as an individual if you're aligning yourselves to the team's objectives. Because actually for me, if it's like a performance management thing or an individual's objectives, it's fine if you really want to do that and you can create your own, that's not a problem. If you can align them, fantastic. But I think it's not about a single individual or a person with the word the emphasis on the word team there and what is the objective their team is trying to do. So if you think of a sports team, like a football team, you have individual players. Yeah, they might have their own personal objectives in order to score some goals or save penalties and stuff like that. But ultimately the overall target of the team is to win matches and score goals as a whole and get higher up the leagues and qualify for Cups and things like that. That's the bigger picture. That's what I would focus on for when you're using a framework like this. It's probably a bit too advanced for personal stuff, depending on how I'm not saying it is or isn't.I suppose like you said, they're probably used it yourself. Give it a go and experiment with it. The thing I would avoid is performance management because again, it should be team based stuff rather than individuals. I really highly recommend you stick with personal development stuff for that. But give it a go if you really wanted to try and apply it to your own context. But yeah, it probably won't align as well as what you would think. I think because the team's attractive should be there.

[00:45:05.830] - Pawel Felinski

 I also think that for personal purposes we have other frameworks getting things done. For instance, personal canvas. That would be my first place to go. OKR, perhaps as a second instance. Fair enough. Thank you. Thank you very much. We ran out of the questions, so I wonder if you wonder what's next. Here we go. In a month, middle of summer, August the 10th, we are meeting again. This time the topic will be how to become a product owner. Few Agile encounters ago we explored the topic of how to become an Agile coach and we had a lot of questions, huge discussion that actually ended up weeks after the webinar and was on. So we thought why not to take a look at the same from the perspective of product ownership. This time it will be slightly different because a lot of Agile coaches that may have a lot of opinions about how to become or not to become a product owner, but we fought. How about asking a real product owner how to become a product owner? So we will have a special guest. If you are interested, you can scan the QR code over here or visit our YouTube channel or even our website, meirik.com, where in resources tab you will have access to all the data. August 10 How to Become a Product Owner.  From our site for today that's it. Thank you very much for listening to us and see you next time. Thank you.

Meet the speakers

Pawel Felinski

Pawel Felinski

Paweł is a management consultant working in the fields of strategy execution and new product development. Recently, he has been involved in business transformations with Agile in the energy industry. Paweł brings a pragmatic and method-agnostic approach to problem-solving.
Scott Oliver

Scott Oliver

Scott is an Enterprise Agile coach and consultant with 10 years of experience. He is passionated about improving collaboration and interactivity between teams. Scott builds valuable and trusting customer relationships by delivering outcomes specific to their needs.

Past webinars

How to Start with Design Sprint
December 20, 2023

How to Start with Design Sprint

Nearly a decade ago, Design Sprint came to the rescue. It's a framework built on top of Design Thinking, which prescribes clear roles, requirements, and tasks that help bring Design Thinking to life.
What's Possible with Kanban
October 25, 2023

What's Possible with Kanban

Discover the power of the Kanban method, including enhanced workflow visibility, faster delivery and customer satisfaction it can bring to your team and organisation.
How to Become an Enterprise Agile Coach
September 20, 2023

How to Become an Enterprise Agile Coach

Join Paweł Feliński and Pete Schibli, seasoned Agile experts, as they demystify the role of Enterprise Agile Coaches, drawing from their extensive experience in various industries. Gain insider insights from interviews with renowned Agile coaches and learn the unique capabilities required for success at the enterprise level. Whether you're aspiring to become an Enterprise Agile Coach or seeking to advance your career in this field, Paweł and Pete will provide you with a roadmap to success.
How to use the Agile Coaching Growth Wheel
August 23, 2023

How to use the Agile Coaching Growth Wheel

Discover and leverage the power of the Agile Coaching Growth Wheel
How to Reinvent your Career - The Transformative Journey to Become Project Manager
June 28, 2023

How to Reinvent your Career - The Transformative Journey to Become Project Manager

Delve the captivating story of Dmitrii, who charted a unique path from Lean Startup to Agile project management. We promise this webinar to be an enlightening exploration of personal growth and professional evolution.
Small steps management
April 19, 2023

Small steps management

Demystify systems thinking and draw useful conclusions from the peculiar domain of knowledge. Learn how to combine the popular OKR goal-setting system with a simple yet powerful visualisation technique to help achieve commitments step-by-step.
What to do to manage multiple stakeholders
March 15, 2023

What to do to manage multiple stakeholders

Get to know techniques for discovering and prioritising the expectations of all your stakeholders together.
Stakeholder management in practice
February 15, 2023

Stakeholder management in practice

Stakeholders management in practice
A better way to transform your business
January 18, 2023

A better way to transform your business

Have you noticed that digital transformations, agile transformations, or any other business transformation often fail, despite initial successes? Why is it so? Is there any better way to manage organisational changes? During the webinar, we will share our answers to these questions and an approach that gives transformations a better success ratio.
Dealing with dependencies
November 2, 2022

Dealing with dependencies

Dependencies are one of the main causes of organisational overload. How can we deal with them? What practices can we use to manage and minimise dependencies effectively? We answer these questions in this Agile Encounter Webinar. Watch and find solutions for your organisation, team or yourself.

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