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What Аre the Key Considerations to Effective OKR Tracking?

Why does tracking OKRs matter and who should be in charge? Learn the principles of setting up an OKR tracking system that works.

An OKR is a short abbreviature for Objectives and Key Results, and it is one of the most famous goal-setting strategies in the corporate world that allocates resources and measures progress. The objectives are the company's top priorities, such as increasing revenue or decreasing costs. The key results are the specific goals that will be used to measure the achievement of the objective.

A key result could be an increase in revenue by 10% by the end of the next quarter, or it could be a decrease in cost by $1 million over the next year. An OKR should have at least one objective and at least three key results.

But how do you know if your organization is on the right trajectory to reaching out OKRs? OKRs can benefit your company, but only if you can adequately track each one. Implementing an OKR tracking system as a part of the company culture is one of the most powerful tools to assist you in reaching your moonshots and roofshots OKRs. 

And before you decide which OKR software to choose and introduce, you will have to plan how to create your OKR tracking system. This is precisely the place where we will be taking you with this article.

Have You Set Your OKRs Already?

Before you start creating your OKRs tracking system, you need your Objectives and Key Results set. If you don’t know how to do it, read our guides on what is OKR and OKR best practices, where you will find all the necessary information to set your OKRs.

When you have defined your OKRs, enter your information into an OKR tracking system. With work management software coupled with a strategic planning tool, you can easily visualize and track progress towards your OKRs. It is best to use a single platform across your entire organization so you can set and monitor objectives and determine if your work is on track, behind schedule, or at risk.

Why Is It Important to Track OKRs?

It's crucial to track OKRs so you can see which teams are staying on track with their goals and which are falling behind, as well as to motivate your team to continue achieving their goals. Make no mistake in considering OKRs as a form to evaluate your employees.

Keeping everyone on track each week is also vital when tracking OKRs. Remember to discuss and assess the results as a team once your OKRs have been marked as complete.

How to Define Ownership of the OKR Tracking Program?

A major challenge of the OKR program is how to define ownership. The responsibility for tracking and reporting on objectives and key results is shared by all levels of the organization. To make this work, it is important to share the responsibility for setting objectives and defining priorities.

The company should have a clear process on how they define ownership of the OKR tracking initiative. This will help better understand who has what responsibilities and establish a transparent process for assigning accountability.

In this case, two roles are usually defined - Champions and Ambassadors (team leaders).

1. Champions and OKR Tracking

Every company will have a different OKRs tracking cycle. And when it comes to setting goals, the champion is the person who should be involved in the process. 

Your company's OKR champion will be responsible for the program's success. In addition, the champion will foster advocacy and drive participation in the program at all levels of the company. 

Here is how champions are enabling success with OKR tracking.

  • Using OKRs to promote transparency at all levels.
  • Establishing OKR training and process expectations.
  • Encourage accountability and focus by tracking OKRs.
  • Highlight momentum and help to celebrate program success, innovation, and progress.

2. Ambassadors and OKR Tracking

As an ambassador, the team manager will also act as a teacher and advocate for OKRs within the team. They will help teams stay on top of their OKRs and minimize all possible risks associated with falling behind them. 

The role of the ambassador is to ensure the team reaches its goals, stays focused, and removes roadblocks. Further, ambassadors will run OKR meetings, monthly and quarterly team OKRs reviews, and inform the leadership of OKR status changes.

If we have to point out which is the most important role of the team leaders in the OKR tracking cycle, it will be conducting weekly check-ins with their teams. 

How to Track OKRs: The Guiding Rules

If you have reached this point in your OKR tracking journey, congratulations on doing the most chaotic part. What’s left is the part setting up the OKR tracking system.

Here is a list of the most commonly implemented guiding rules for OKR tracking.

  • Choose the right OKR tracking software. This step includes buy-in from the majority of your organization. Use one software to visualize work, set up initiatives, and track progress on all levels (organization, team, and personal levels).
  • Define the importance and priority of each Key Result by using the practice of scoring. The effort required for each Key Result is different. In OKR tracking, a common practice is to assign grades to each Key Result at the end of each quarter. Scores fall between 0 and 1.0, and the average value is between 0.6 and 0.7. However, scoring might get too complicated if your organization is big and you have many OKRs on different levels. In this case, it might be better to use value-based Key Results and just measure them.
  • Set responsibilities and accountabilities by defining ownership. Ensure that you have chosen your OKR champions and ambassadors. You must clearly define the full responsibilities and expectations for each Key Result so that all participants will be able to contribute to the completion of the associated tasks.
  • Share your OKRs with the entire team. Sharing your OKRs with your team, even if not all team members are involved, helps keep everyone in the loop about the company's goals and priorities.
  • Practice transparency of company OKR. Regular company OKR updates should be shared among all employees. Everyone in the company should be aware of the company's goals and how they are going to reach them. The company's goals and objectives can be discussed at company and team meetings.
  • Maintain a regular schedule for tracking results. The best way to ensure progress and review real-time results is to review OKRs on a regular basis. Set up daily, weekly, or biweekly OKR tracking meetings to discuss them as a team.
  • Discuss the most important lessons learned during the process. When reviewing Key Results, it is essential to look at not just what was achieved but also how it was achieved and what was learned. For example, you may have set a Key Result to increase email subscribers to your company's blog by 25%, but you only achieved 17%. The team can use this information to learn why this Key Result did not meet expectations.

What’s the Best Tool to Use for OKR Tracking?

Choosing the best tool for OKR tracking will depend on a number of factors, such as the size of your organization, the type of methodology you are using, and the allocated budget.

It is best to use one OKR tracking software across the entire organization. You may use a tool as simple as a spreadsheet to track the goals of a small team. A blank spreadsheet is easy to adjust to fit your team's needs and can be easily shared with everyone. On the other hand, more versatile tools such as Kanbanize, facilitate introducing OKRs across larger organizations. Furthermore, such advanced solutions can help you map objectives and key results in a single place and align all team efforts toward their completion. All of that with unmatched transparency and real-time updates.

okrs tracking on kanban boardTracking of OKRs using interlinked Kanban boards in Kanbanize

In Summary

Once you set your objectives and key results, tracking them will guarantee you understand how work moves forward. You will know if the processes are working well, or they need some adjustment, if teams are motivated enough, or if you need to boost their engagement by fine-tuning your OKRs.

The best way to efficiently track your OKRs is to:

  • Choose the right OKR tracking software.
  • Define the importance and priority of each Key Result.
  • Set responsibilities and accountabilities by defining ownership.
  • Maintain a regular schedule for tracking results.

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