Know-how

OKRs in Clarity: Corporate Goals at the Center of Your Daily Activities

How to Use Clarity as a Tool for Your OKR Management

April 7, 2022

Clarity, Best Practice

Content

OKR is on everyone’s lips. You might be forgiven for thinking that it is just another business fad. The crux of the matter is: The OKR method will not be forgotten tomorrow. It is a tried and true, highly successful management framework.

As early as the 1970s, Andy Grove devised the OKR method and used it to put Intel on the road to success. John Doerr later introduced the method to Google, which is the company best exemplifies the OKR model today. OKRs have shown their effectiveness everywhere from global corporations, like Intel, Google, LinkedIn, Zalando, and Daimler to a variety of medium-sized companies, start-ups, and small businesses. Even individual employees have applied them successfully. So let’s talk about it:

  • What is OKR?
  • What added value does Clarity offer for your OKR management?
  • Our best practices for successful implementation

OKR – What Is It?

The acronym OKR stands for objectives and key results, which are the two central levers that the method uses to help your company achieve progress. Hence, the two fundamental questions addressed by OKRs are:

  • What do we want to achieve?
  • How do we know if we have achieved it?

It is a matter of making qualitative goals (objectives) measurable using quantitative goals (key results). It is clear even from an initial consideration: The focus of OKRs is on the end result to be achieved, but the path that is taken to get there is not set in stone and is flexible. The call to make corporate goals transparent, clearly understandable, and measurable is at the core of OKRs.

Agile OKR is a management methodology that helps to ensure that the company focuses efforts on the same important issues throughout the organization.

John Doerr

Author of the Book "Measure What Matters"

The Added Value You Get from OKRs

There are many good reasons to use OKRs as a framework for setting your goals. We have summarized the method’s major advantages for you:

  • Measurability of goals: OKRs make goal achievement measurable and assessable.
  • Making the contribution to the company's success visible: The progress of achieving the OKRs is clearly visible at all times, and employees can use the results to see in real time how their own work improves the team or company's performance.
  • Active participation: OKRs provide employees with the opportunity to actively participate in defining and implementing goals. This promotes identification with the goals and intrinsic motivation.
  • Encouraging creativity and innovation: Focusing on results instead of activities leaves plenty of room for creativity and encourages individuals to adopt new approaches. Setting ambitious goals, allowing mistakes, and actually living a learning culture within the framework of the OKR method also boost the innovative power of your company.
  • Greater level of focus in everyday life: The OKR method helps to break down the long-term corporate strategy into specific quarterly objectives and thus makes them tangible in the everyday lives of all stakeholders. This allows employees to focus on just a few concrete objectives.
  • More transparency: OKRs create transparency. This can eliminate the silo mentality within departments and improve cross-departmental cooperation and communication.
  • Rapid responsiveness: The OKR method allows companies to move towards strategic goals in a focused manner in short iterative three-month cycles, enabling rapid course corrections and a nimbleness to pursue trends.
  • Maximum flexibility: Whether at the corporate, team, or individual level, the OKR method may be applied at different working levels. Moreover, the approach can basically be used to achieve any objectives, at any size company, and in all industries and administrative structures.

Checklist: Setting Up Good OKRs

Whether you have set up good objectives and key results that fit together and work can be checked using John Doerr’s OKR formula: “We will [objective] as measured by [set of key results].”  

Objectives

  • Statement of a qualitative goal
  • As few objectives as possible, but as many as necessary (usually one objective per organizational unit)
  • Tied to a limited time frame (usually 3 months)
  • Simply, concisely, and proactively formulated

Key Results

  • Statement of a quantitative, measurable goal
  • Are ambitious, but achievable success drivers of the objectives
  • Have a numerical target value and can be evaluated conclusively
  • Result-oriented
  • 2–5 key results per objective

Example: World Food Company

2030 Strategy: Provide emission-free delivery of food products in all regions of the world

Q1-2022 Objective: Grow the brand

Q1-2022 Key Results:

  • KR 1: Make 10,000 deliveries
  • KR 2: Sign 5 major contracts
  • KR 3: Launch marketing campaigns in 15 different countries
  • KR 4: Achieve 50,000 Google searches of the company name
  • KR 5: Publish 30 new blog posts

At itdesign, we have been working with OKRs for quite a while and have gathered some valuable resulting experience. We have compiled some of our best practices to help you avoid typical pitfalls and take full advantage of the method.

Learn from our best practices

Managing OKRs in Clarity

Companies that want to introduce OKRs (or are already working with them) face the challenge of finding the right tool for implementation. Along with this comes the question of what such a system is supposed to do and to which challenges it should provide an answer. Here’s the good news if you’re already using Clarity for your PPM: OKRs can be mapped, organized, and tracked exceptionally well in Clarity. This means that you do not need to use another piece of software. We will show you how to successfully manage OKRs in Clarity.

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Advantages of Clarity for Implementing OKRs

Visibility of Corporate Goals

With Clarity as a single source of truth, OKR management can be handled in the same tool as your project, portfolio, and resource management. Strategy and goals are thus closely tied to everyday processes and integrated into a tool that is already in use in your company. The ability to link project management and OKR management has great added value: Projects can be easily and straightforwardly linked directly to the key results and objectives to which they contribute. Clarity thus helps to make goals more transparent and the contributions of employees more visible.

High Usability

Working with OKRs should inspire, motivate, and be fun. Usability is a crucial factor here. In Clarity, thanks to the intuitive interface and a wide range of filter options, your users can configure and store their own views, consolidate information, highlight deviations in KRs by color, and more.

Simultaneous Editing

Unlike classic Excel-based solutions, users can work simultaneously on OKRs at any time without having to manually consolidate different lists afterwards. This eliminates potential sources of error right from the outset and avoids unnecessary effort. Moreover, it facilitates coordination and collaboration across departments and allows conflicting goals to be identified and resolved at an early stage.

High Degree of Configurability

OKR management is a highly customized process that thrives on flexibility. Objectives and key results vary from company to company and from quarter to quarter. Clarity allows you to customize your OKR process without being restricted by the limitations of the tool you are using. For example, you decide which metrics are necessary and should be calculated for your KRs or which views you need.

Clear Status Reporting

Clarity provides you with real-time insights on the progress made towards achieving your goals. From continuously updated statistics to Power BI reports to special OKR dashboards, Clarity offers you everything you need to track your OKRs and visualize the status quo. This gives you and your employees a constant overview of where you stand with regard to specific key results and allows you not only to check progress in real time, but also to motivate your employees.

Identify Trends at an Early Stage

Clarity provides a record of all important data related to KRs. This allows you to easily track progress over time and identify relevant events, turning points, and trends.

Automated Reminder E-mail

An automated e-mail reminds the KR managers to make their entries in the system on a weekly basis. This ensures that the KRs are updated regularly and reliably, and allows you to track where you stand in terms of achieving your objectives.

Overview of Correlations

Clarity’s Hierarchy module allows you to display the OKR hierarchy, consisting of strategy, objectives and key results, in a clear and consolidated tree structure. This gives you an overall picture at a higher level and always presents the most important information in front of you. If you want to show more details, you can adjust your hierarchies at any time.

All Clarity Features at a Glance

  • Use of Custom Investments to represent strategy, objectives, and key results
  • Visual representation of the OKR hierarchy using the Hierarchy module
  • Integration of Power BI reports to display current interim results in a status report
  • Individual configuration of additional dashboards
  • Weekly reminder e-mail to all KR managers
  • Customer-specific assignment of edit rights and view rights
  • Automatic calculation of customer-specific key figures and benchmarks
  • Highlighting of positive and negative deviations by color
  • Diverse filter and configuration options for creating individual views

Clarity provides you with all the important features you need for professional OKR management. And all that in a tool that you already use, that the employees at your company already work with, and for which you pay money anyway! Take advantage of the synergy effects and start using OKRs in Clarity.

Our Best Practices for Implementing OKRs

Set OKRs: Don’t Think that it All Must Work Out!

In order to successfully implement OKRs, one of the most important things to have is the courage to fail. Set ambitious goals that inspire creativity, innovation, and change. OKRs should not include what you would achieve regardless. Yet, they shouldn’t be unattainable either. A good rule of thumb is that if you reach 70% of your target, you’ve done a really good job. And most importantly, celebrate successes! Accomplished key results reflect a feat of strength. This should be noticeable.

Make It Measurable: A Key Result without a Number Is Not a Key Result!

A key result refers to something clearly measurable, an unmistakable condition for success. Only then can a final assessment be made as to whether an objective has been achieved.

For example, a supplier is struggling with frequent quality-related returns and unhappy customers. The objective for Q3 could therefore be: “Significantly increase the quality of product A in Q3.”. Possible key results that contribute to this objective would be, for example: Reduce quality-related retours by 50% and increase customer satisfaction in the quarterly survey by 20 points (compared to Q2). The path to get there is not specified, just the focus for this quarter.

Keeping Pace with the Times: Using OKRs to Stay on Track

OKRs depend on regular reviews of success and failure. In practice, the timeframe of three months has proven effective – it is long enough to really move the needle and short enough to still guarantee flexibility. This way, OKRs give you important prompts at regular intervals to really get you or your company going. Trends can be identified early on, and any necessary course corrections can be initiated in good time. Therefore, an agile mindset is a basic prerequisite for successful OKR management.

Collaborative Instead of Directive: Understanding OKRs (also) as a Bottom-Up Process

OKR is not a process that only concerns management or that should be understood exclusively from the top down. Involve employees closely when setting objectives and key results. Establish an open feedback process and share status updates regularly. This method helps employees identify with the goals and enhances the focus on purpose (“Why am I doing this?”) – both factors for intrinsic motivation of employees and conducive to achieving the overall goal. Make your OKRs easily accessible and trackable for everyone.

Open Path Design: Specifying Results Instead of Activities

Key results should not be about measures, but about results. The way in which these are achieved is not predetermined. For instance, do not specify that employees should perform an average of five more quality inspections per day, but set the goal of reducing quality-related customer complaints by 50%.

Clear Prioritization: Focus on a Single Objective Per Quarter

Don’t make lists of everything that needs to be improved, but decide what really needs to be addressed right now. Too many objectives per period indicate that you are not prioritizing enough or that your objectives are too narrow. We recommend only one objective per organizational unit per quarter.

itdesign as Your Implementation Partner

It is our pleasure to help you implement your OKRs in Clarity. What advantage can we offer and what sets us apart? Experience.

We have not only overseen implementation projects for our customers, but we also have several years of experience working with OKRs in Clarity. Based on this experience and the solution approaches we have developed, we can also help you to implement OKR management in Clarity. This way you can get started quickly and without complications. We know the challenges and benefits of the approach from our own day-to-day work and look forward to sharing our experience with you.

If you are interested in using OKRs at your company, we offer you a comprehensive package. Feel free to contact us with no obligation!

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Moyan Oeß, PPM Berater bei itdesign
About the Author | Moyan Oess, PPM Consultant
With Moyan we have a real jack of all trades on board – be it as PPM consultant, OKR expert, empathetic colleague, or as Social Media Manager of his volleyball team. Moyan can always grasp the essentials from complex contexts and has a real knack for aesthetics. Anyone who meets Moyan for the first time is usually left speechless for a moment, because it’s not for nothing that he has a premium standing desk in our office: Moyan is a whopping 2.02 m tall.

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Are you interested in mapping OKRs in your Clarity system? Contact us! We would be happy to discuss without obligation how we can map your OKR management in Clarity.

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Moyan Oeß

Consultant PPM

+49 7071 3667 60
ppm@itdesign.de

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