Learnings from one year of OKR Implementation

Learnings from one year of OKR Implementation

1 Product Creation Department

150 People

3 Locations

The Why

The Why

What to use OKRs for?

  • Empowerment of Teams
  • Transparency of other units’ objectives
  • Focuses our efforts / helps to say “No”
  • One Planning approach within department
  • Combine bottom up & top down input
    • Alignment enables autonomy for the teams
    • Connect feature- and tech-company input

What NOT to use OKRs for?

  • As only tool for planning
  • To Do list
  • Just a different type of roadmap
  • As performance evaluation

The How

Situation before:

Department has 2 main locations (Hamburg & Berlin)

  • Berlin worked with it in a self-organized way for a year

  • Hamburg had no real experience

Merger with tough timeline ongoing

  • POs often aligning on a very low level
  • Teams plan more on feature- than on impact level 

The How

The Drivers

  • Sent 2 Agile Coaches to external training
  • then trained team of 3 other Agile Coaches as multipliers

 

 

 

 

 


 

  • Management giving us free hand & tried to come up with good Dept OKRs

Experiments & Learnings

Experiments & Learnings

Initial Trainings

OKR finding sessions within Teams

OKR finding sessions within Management

Retros

Experiments & Learnings

Initial Trainings

  • Little intro + practical exercise worked well
  • Smaller groups worked better
    • 5-10 people per trainer

 

OKR finding sessions within Teams

OKR finding sessions within Management

Retros

Experiments & Learnings

Initial Trainings

  • Little intro + practical exercise worked well
  • Smaller groups worked better
    • 5-10 people per trainer

 

Retros

  • 2x via survey
  • 1x on site ->

Experiments & Learnings

OKR finding sessions within Teams

  • Often required several iterations to be fruitful & understood
  • Require trust in given autonomy
  • Going from features to impact is hard
  • Collective team planning is sometimes still new

 

OKR finding sessions within Management

  • question whether to include KRs at this level
  • As with any change, they should represent, drive & display the change

Timeline

Experiments & Learnings

Mid-quarter Review

1. Q3

  • per location, teams offer x rounds
  • fixed times, participants switch

 

2. Q4

  • Quick 3 mins slide as part of weekly updates

 

3. Q1

  • 10 min timebox / demos
  • 4 in parallel

 

+: good overview

-: often empty rooms during presentations

no cross-location info

 

+: quick, focused overview
-:  not much interaction & questions

 

 

+: quick, focused overview

-:  short interaction & questions

Experiments & Learnings

Quarter Review

1. Q2 (Berlin only)

  • Sequential presentation of teams (local & virtual)
  • No enforced timeslots

2. Q3

  • All in Berlin + department team building
  • 7 time slots to choose out of ~16 teams
  • Separate slot for alignment & Retro on site

3. Q4

  • Per location due to merger crunch time
  • Fixed, announced time slots
  • Optional but suggested attendance for each slot

+:results visible  📋

-: difficult to follow & get big pic

 

+: Big success      

-: Cost: 5 figures sum & a lot of time

 

+: predictable times 🎬

dependencies timewise together

-:  remote, low interaction, dry

Experiments & Learnings

Quarter Review

4. Q1 (Fully Remote)

  • Sequential presentation of teams
  • Enforced timeslots
  • Planning: Teams had to contribute up-front

+: good overview, not too expensive

-: fully remote more demanding

 

 

Learnings

🔭 Customer & impact / numbers focus does not come overnight - it is a mindset

🎯 We started asking the right questions

 

👶 An agile company means a learning company - on all levels

🔁 It is normal to have improvements come over time / iteratively

 

🔗 Finding the right alignment circles can lead to new structures (e.g. tribes)

⛐ Different modes of planning / alignment have to be aligned

 

🚀 OKRs can give new (positive) outlook but are a big change

Learnings

 

 

Things we should have done differently

📚 Not making training optional

⏳ Not enough capacity for program lead tasks / OKR Masters

💡 “Why” was not sufficiently understood by the organisation - mentioning it in trainings was not enough

 

Other Developments

💪 The company decided to officially go agile as an entire company

💖 There is significant interest by other departments to also introduce OKRs in their area & some already started

 

📈 Bigger focus on numbers & transparency of numbers in the company

🔁 Further experimentation with event formats (e.g. sending delegations)

💯 Leadership support with OKR Mindset

 

Some Impressions

Kontakt:


Website: FelixHandler.de

LinkedIn

Learnings from one year of OKR Implementation

By Felix Handler

Learnings from one year of OKR Implementation

Learnings from one year of OKR Implementation

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