Should OKR be adopted to the individual level?
2 min read

Should OKR be adopted to the individual level?

This article would like to bring clarity regarding how OKR can be adapted at an individual level and the benefits this practice bring to the manager and the individual.

Once your team maintains individual weekly or bi-weekly OKR, the following positivity will happen naturally.

As a manager...

You no longer need to guess (or try to remember) the expected results each team member is committed to achieve. Results, not their task lists.

Each individual weekly KR is explicitly aligned with its team/department KR.

As shown in the screenshot above:

  1. Both Andy and Wendy are part of the Ops team. They write individual OKR every week.
  2. Each weekly KR aligns with the overall Ops OKR. For example, Andy's 3 Key Results during week 1 align with Ops KR1.1 and KR1.2; and, Wendy's with Ops KR1.1 and KR2.1.

This way, your team members are sure how their work matters for the company; hence so are you.

As a team member...

The weekly individual OKR serves as a clear agreement between you and your peers and your manager.

Your peers and manager know what you'll be committed to for the week; and, vice versa. This agreement happens during every OKR Setup.

No more guessing or being anxious whether what you're doing has any values for your team, let alone for the company.

In addition, from time to time, you'd find yourself subscribing a KR that directly supports another team. In week 3 in the screenshot above, Andy's KR no.2 actually for helping the HR team although Andy is Ops.

It always feels great to help. But, it feels greater when you're sure what impact your help actually brings about (i.e. which other's KR you're helping to achieve).

Reflecting on our own experience in Product Narrative

Building this level of group discipline certainly takes a lot of work and discipline.

We, the Product Narrative team, and our OKR coach friends in different continents have witnessed this is very well possible — more importantly, worthwhile.

For example, the Vidio team we coached last year successfully did it in less than 6 weeks. Their Product Management, Design, and Data teams now adopt individual OKR in a weekly cadence.

Several teams in GOJEK which followed the same coaching program also reached the same level of discipline within a similar timeframe.


Want to find out more:

1/ If you're interested in articles like this, you might want to check out our writings on Medium. It covers a diverse topics of Product Management, People Operations, and everything in between.  

2/ If you want to know more about Product Narrative and what we do, visit our website or follow us on LinkedIn.