Working on a shared responsibility or Key Result

In some cases, the completion of your Key Result might be dependent on your team members or other people from different teams or departments. Two researchers might be doing the same (big) project or a Product Marketing Manager might need help from the Design Team to finish the key visuals before moving on to the next step.

In the OKR lingo, we call this shared responsibility or a shared Key Result.

This practice is common and even encouraged to break down walls and increase collaborative effort both within and across teams. However, the implementation of a shared KR can only work when there’s a clear separation of responsibility. Every individual involved must know the scope of their work and the others as well.

Let’s look at the 3 models of a shared KR below and how we can define the responsibility or scope for each of the individuals involved.

Model 1: parallel

In this model, all individuals can do their work at the same time; without waiting for the others to finish first. A clear separation of responsibility can be made in the beginning. Thus, there is more than one Directly Responsible Individual (DRI) in this model; each with its own scope of work. An example can be found below

Model 2: sequential

Unlike the previous model, there’s a set of orders the DRIs need to go through; they cannot start their work at the same time. Only after the previous DRI has finished his KR can the next DRI start hers. Thus, in addition to defining the scope of work, it’s also necessary to set the due date or timeline for each DRI.

Model 3: undefined

This model is useful when a team or an individual wants to achieve an outcome or Key Result that requires help from other people but there’s no clear separation of responsibility between them. In such cases, defining the scope of work for everyone might be hard. It’d be better to have one person act as the DRI; in which she will be responsible for the completion of the overall outcome. Thus, we’d only need to define her KR, while the rest of the team can record their activity as a task.


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