Implementing a buddy system in OKR
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Implementing a buddy system in OKR

Adopting the OKR practice in a team is similar to building a group habit. One alternative to keeping you motivated is by having a buddy.
Implementing a buddy system in OKR

During OKR Setup, each individual in a team would have the opportunity to speak up and explain their Key Results for the following cadence. In OKR Review, they would also get the chance to explain the progress, score, and self-assessment for each of their KR.

What would follow next in both sessions is a constructive conversation between the manager (or the other respective team members) and the individual. The manager might ask questions to get more clarity on the KR, or give feedback or even challenge the progress and score.

Now, based on our observation, it'd be hard for the individual to pay attention to the questions or feedback from the manager and write those down on her OKR Dashboard at the same time. Even if they could, it'd be less effective.

Thus, we often recommend having a buddy system installed in the team when doing the OKR Cadence.

A buddy system is similar to pair programming in software engineering. Essentially, each individual is assigned to a buddy – someone that would help her for all OKR purposes, especially during the cadence.

Specifically, the buddy is responsible for:

  1. Writing down any feedback or questions from the manager or other team members when the pair is explaining her OKR during the cadence
  2. Outside the cadence, the buddy can be the brainstorming partner for the individual when writing and/or scoring the OKR for a particular period. The buddy can serve as the sounding board to refine any thoughts or ideas that the individual might have.
  3. If the pair is absent, then the buddy is expected to represent her during the cadence. In other words, the buddy must explain what the pair has written on the OKR Dashboard.

Proper implementation of a buddy system should help the team to adopt OKR faster and in a more effective way; bringing valuable benefits to the team and all individuals involved.


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