OKRs are not tactics


Photo by Rad Pozniakov on Unsplash
10 January 2019

Teams who are used to being told what tactics or outputs to deliver often fall into the trap of duplicating their plans and reports in their OKRs. At best, they may be able to “slice” a major project into delivery milestones which fit into various quarters. But these are not OKRs. When this happens, teams will feel frustrated because they’re doing the same planning and tracking work in two different places: calling it “project management” in one area and “OKRs” in the other. At worst, teams with rigid, long-term, tactical aspirations won’t be able to identify any quarterly OKRs at all and may choose something arbitrary simply to feel like they’re complying with (what feels like) a useless, externally mandated process.

This can make your OKR adoption process very difficult.

OKRs
OKRs
Tactics
Tactics
Tradition
Tradition
TROUBLE.
TROUBLE.

When this happens, it helps to remember that OKRs describe an end-state and how you will measure it, but not how you will reach that end state. It may require dreaming up, trying, discarding, and pivoting away from many different tactics before you see any movement in your key results. This is fine. Allow your tactics to be a constantly evolving and constantly re-prioritised backlog of things you want to try next to achieve your outcomes. Conceiving, refining, and delivering tactics is standard discovery and delivery work. You already know how to do this. But let your OKRs stay constant and guide your choice of tactics. Think of OKRs as your North Star.

OKRs
OKRs
Tactics
Tactics
Tradition
Tradition
Yay!
Yay!

Tags:  OKRs 

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