This is the story about me and OKR, the new, cool kid in Agile-town. I am a true believer in building teams with a common goal. And I like to use this goal, often represented as a few long term and several smaller short-term goals, to help us focus on what matters. OKR is an acronym for Objectives and Key Results. For someone like me this sounds like heaven! I mean, what’s not to like!? Objectives to help set the high level goal(s) and Key Results to help us reach those Objectives in a measurable way.
A while back I read about OKRs in a post written by Dan North and I became very intrigued. As I said I like to have a clear goal and often help teams set these when I find it lacking. But too often these team goals are not connected to the company goal. Or at the very least it is hard to see the connection. OKRs promised to fixed that. I played with the idea in my head and started to think about how using OKRs would help us create transparency. But we did not use OKRs where I was at the time, so I left it in the “I would like to try this out”-compartment of my head. In the meantime OKR grew from being the new kid in Agile-town to the new, cool kid in Agile-town. Everyone was talking warmly about OKRs and seemed to be using this to create transparency in the organisation. This was exactly why I liked OKRs when I first heard about it; that we know as a person and team how the things we do contribute to the overall goals. Very often the things we do feel like an endless row of tasks that are not (clearly) connected to the vision we hear about in quarterly meetings. And that is very frustrating! So I longed for OKRs. I envied all these people who bragged about how they were in the OKR in-crowd, while I was on the outside looking in.