Not Everyone Needs Objectives and Key Results (OKRS)

People Vary, Teams Vary, Goals Vary

Who Doesn’t Need OKRs

There are teams for whom creating OKRs are just one more hoop to jump through. Any team that does not own its time³ is going to struggle. It’s rough for technology or design teams. It’s near impossible for Customer Support or HR to make progress on team OKR sets(though HR may lead company culture OKRs.) Sales has its own way of working, and often needn’t bother with OKRs.

Quick sketch of types of work in a given organization. You’ll have a ton of metrics to track in a number of different ways at the bottom, quite a few midway and then a very few at the top.
  1. A big company may have an OKR per business unit and only occasionally have one for the entire company in times of radical change, like “digital transformation” or “Get Serious about Social.”
  2. Too often projects “drift” away from their original goal as people get caught up in all the tasks that need to be done and all the fun ideation to make the project great. OKRs can remind people why they are doing the project as well as what they need to put in V1 and what they can leave in V2.
    Project based OKRs are also a great way to get teams to learn how tobe result-focused.
  3. By own their own time, I mean decide what priorities should be worked on. A designer or an engineer might set priorities in context of a project but not in the scenario of wanting to do something they think the company might benefit from.
    The exception is when those teams get big enough to have dedicated resources. Design ops or tech ops will have dedicated headcount and then can set OKRs to become the kind of team the company needs to make the company OKRs.

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