The start of a new quarter can mean only one thing… Time to review last quarter’s OKRs, capture the lessons we’ve learned, and use those lessons to set new OKRs for this quarter. I’ve written previously about setting good OKRs. But what do you do with those OKRs once the quarter starts?
You deliver them, of course!
To get the real benefit of OKRs, it’s essential to check in regularly and, while you may be tempted to talk about progress, I recommend that teams report (mostly) on confidence over than progress. After you read about OKR check-ins you’ll want some way to record, share, and learn from those confidence scores, narratives, and next actions. See below…
To do this, I’ve created two simple Google Sheet templates you can use. I love Google Sheets because anyone can view and modify them at any time and you always have a single source of truth. To make them even better, publish the dashboard views as a web page and share the URL every week or print them out, put them on the wall as an information radiator for everyone to see.
My personal favourite, the single or multi-team portfolio OKR tracking template (link below) provides an easy way to store multiple teams’ OKRs and weekly confidence scores (as well as a weekly narrative) in a single sheet and with a nice “dashboard view” to show the latest information and highlight at-risk key results. You can also store lessons learned and final outcomes in this sheet. It scales beautifully when you want to add more teams or more quarters. You can apply filters to quickly dig into the data and the spark line graphs show how your confidence changes over time. Use this when you want a single view of OKRs for an entire portfolio to quickly identify Key Results that need help.
With a bit of elbow grease, you could even create a Google Form to make inputting weekly updates even faster. Disclaimer: this template won’t work in Excel.
The simple single team template provides a space for the current OKRs, weekly actions, a 4-6 week “look-ahead” and a set of metrics which you DON’T want to change during the quarter. These could be things like team happiness, customer satisfaction, or uptime. Even as you’re chasing OKRs, you don’t want these to slip. This one works by simply copying the previous week’s sheet and filling in the latest narrative, confidence, and actions for the team to think about. By the end, you’ll have 13 tabs you can refer back to to see how the quarter went.
I’ve used both of these with real teams and vastly prefer the multi-team portfolio option because of its scalability, flexibility and how it allows you to slice and filter all your data in one place to produce different kinds of reports. You can use chunks of data with different audiences to answer different questions across various teams.
These templates are works in progress which will be continually updated with your feedback! If you have some ideas or experience of using these templates, I’d love to hear from you!
Please get in touch.