Making progress with OKR

OKR cadence is a facilitated and structured meeting, which consists of 2 themes: OKR Review and OKR Setup. The previous email highlighted the former, specifically on the self-scoring practice.

OKR Review invites each team member to look back. Once you finish reflecting on your progress and self-assessment, how might you apply your reflection to do better in the future?

The question shifts our perspective to look forward. It invites us to apply what we learned from the past and influence better outcomes in the future. For example: 

  1. My progress was 60% for the last cadence. What can I do to bring it to 100%? Do I need help from my peers or manager?
  2. My progress was 100% and I scored myself 1 (which means perfect). How can I stretch my capabilities in the next cadence? 

This is what the OKR Setup is all about.

The working agreement for OKR Setup is each team member must write his/her own deliverables before the session, with one caveat. They have to take into consideration the respective lessons learned.

The idea is for you to leverage the lessons learned to track closely what works and what doesn’t work; and do more of the former and less of the latter. This allows you to iterate on your OKR using a different approach, instead of repeating the same thing over and over again. 

The application of lessons learned in your OKR usually takes either one of two forms.

First, improvement on the past iteration — identifying what should have been done differently from the previous cadence. The action items can then be applied to carried-over and other similar responsibilities. Example:

  • The proposal for the marketing campaign to introduce our new product is approved by Mr. Green, Head of Marketing. Note: to get his approval, I’d need to schedule a presentation with him D-3. Last cadence taught me 2 things: Mr. Green won’t give his approval via email and his schedule is packed (it’s impossible to schedule a presentation D-1).

Second, taking stretch opportunities. You’re encouraged to look for responsibilities that are slightly beyond your current skills or knowledge level. Doing so allows you to 'stretch' by improving your capabilities. Example:

  • All customer support tickets are closed in 2x24 hours and the average customer satisfaction score is 4.8. Note: 90% of all tickets in the last period were closed in the same time period and the average customer satisfaction score is 4.7. I'm aiming for 100% completion and a 4.8 score to provide better service to our customers. 

The notes in both examples show the rationale behind the expected outcome the individuals are working on, which is heavily influenced by their respective lessons learned.

By leveraging the lessons learned, these 2 applications — even though they differ in their approach and implementation — invite us to explore the possibilities, keep us curious, and see our potential. 

They help us avoid mediocrity and remind us to always strive for progress.


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