When Measure What Matters was published in 2017, it became an instant bestseller and a true model for the future world of management. In the first section of the book, John Doerr highlights four superpowers that all should live by when starting out with OKRs. Choosing an OKR tool that lives up to these superpowers will help you get a headstart into Doerr’s philosophy so that you can make the most of Doerr’s ideas. We summarize the superpowers for you and compare how mainstream OKR software measure up to each one.
An OKR software should motivate both leaders and team members to commit to the important items. You have to focus on your main priorities, or you’re going to get bogged down in the details. But in addition to highlighting what you’re doing, you also have to get across why.
Creating meaning out of your OKRs is important for both leaders and team members, as leaders model behavior for the rest of the company. Therefore, having OKR software that helps you to create meaning and commit to your OKRs by having a sharper focus is essential to make the transition as easy as possible.
|Simple dashboard that highlights main priorities||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||❌||✔|
|Allows comments and feedback||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
John Doerr says it himself. Public goals are more likely to be attained than goals held in private. OKR tools should have critiques and corrections, as well as lessons learned and progress, out for everyone to see. Doerr emphasizes that cascading objectives and alignment are good, but that not everything should fall under these categories. Instead, a combination of aligned and unaligned Objectives from both top-down and bottom-up is good.
In addition, superpower #2 emphasizes transparency. You’re gonna want to create a community out of OKRs. In Doerr’s own words, “OKRs are not islands. To the contrary, they create networks - vertical, horizontal, diagonal- to connect an organization’s most vital work.” It’s best to have an OKR tool that encourages building these networks where everything at every level of the company is transparent.
|Transparent goal setting||✔||✔||❌||✔||❌||✔||✔||✔|
|Publicly sharing critiques and corrections||✔||❌||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||❌|
|Robust alignment system||✔||✔||❌||❌||❌||❌||❌||✔|
|Top-down and bottom-up alignment options||✔||❌||❌||❌||❌||❌||❌||✔|
OKRs should be trackable and revised with time and experience. Frequent status updates are necessary to make sure you are keeping your plans realistic. Doerr calls for cloud-based OKR tools that feature mobile apps, automatic updating, analytics reporting tools, real-time alerts, and robust integration. A digital dashboard is a must so that everyone can track, edit, and score their OKRs.
Doerr lists four broad categories that OKR tools should also live up to:
Visual aids to show progress towards Objectives and Key Results are also essential, traffic light color coding to show what Objectives are on track and which ones are not.
In addition, OKR scores should be system generated by the OKR tool.
|Analytics reporting tools||✔||✔||❌||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Robust integration with HR||❌||❌||❌||✔||❌||✔||❌||✔|
|Promotes internal networking||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||❌|
|Visual aids with red, amber, and green||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|System generated OKR scores||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||❌||✔|
Creating aspirational goals links back to the other three superpowers. Focus helps target goals that make a difference, only a transparent and aligned company can push these goals past the norm, and without quantifiable tracking, it’s impossible to know when you reached the outstanding goal you set.
OKR tools should allow for a margin of failure, but goals should still be attainable, while aspirational. If stretch OKRs are for problem-solving, the tool should help aid that process.