Project management can be a rewarding yet daunting task. Setting out on any project management journey requires careful planning and organization, and you have to use any tools you have to make sure you reach your ambitious goals. Using the OKR (Objectives and Key Results) goal-setting framework can be a powerful tool for any project manager that is quite simple to use. If you feel like your business needs to be more efficient but aren’t sure how to improve, here are a few reasons to consider using OKR software to set goals and find the best practices through which to achieve them.
Project Management Challenges
One of the many challenges of project management is goal setting — how to plan out clear and productive aims. Your team member’s personal goals are important to your business, too, and if you can meet your team’s needs while fulfilling your company’s goals your company will be better off in the long run. Analyzing and setting company objectives becomes a matter of group cohesion as well as productivity and this can help improve teamwork overall. If you are still wondering “what is an OKR,” it can be broadly summarized as a goal-setting framework defined by Doerr’s goal formula: “I will (state objective) as measured by (this set of key results).” While OKR methodology is not required for a successfully managed project, strictly speaking, it has a lot to offer and many successful companies, especially in Silicon Valley, utilize the OKR process to achieve important goals.
Objectives and Key Results
Since OKR is focused on outcomes, evaluating your objectives within the framework of your key results is a necessity. Doing so will also help you realize the intermediate OKRs that are required on your way to your ultimate results. Each objective needs to have a limited number of these key results, or else you run the risk of spreading your efforts too thinly among team members and destabilizing your company goal as a result. OKRs have a limited lifetime as well; they are usually completed or reevaluated in a quantifiable amount of time. These evaluations usually happen weekly or monthly, but quarterly or even yearly evaluations are not unheard of, depending on the project’s needs. These frequent check-ins can help keep one team from having to wait on another team in order to complete their OKR, resulting in a loss of efficiency for everyone.
Project Life Cycle
As your project progresses, the proper planning and design of your OKRs in the initial and planning stages can decrease your costs over the lifetime of a project. That being said, reassessing your OKRs during the course of that project may be warranted if you find that your key performance indicators are crashing. You cannot plan for every twist and turn that markets and economies might take, but with a resilient and well planned out company goal, you can use best practices to account for some of their fluctuations. Measurable results are a good way to help with this because they are an important gauge of the health of a project during its lifetime. It doesn’t hurt that they can provide your team with a sense of progression, either, and celebrating your successes appropriately can help team morale too.
Whether you plan on starting a significant business venture, are branching out into management, or are even just trying to keep a side business sustainable as a hobby, keeping OKR tools in your back pocket won’t hurt. OKRs can help you come to a decision on what needs to happen and keep you focused on the end-goal rather than the minutiae that might get you bogged down in detail that you could otherwise overcome. Making plans and executing them are two completely different endeavors, but so long as you keep your eyes on the prize and know how you want to get there you will be that much closer to a successful business.