Tracking OKRs: Why it is Crucial and How to Do It?

You have created and aligned your OKRs. Now what? You need a great tracking system so you can ensure you are on the right path to achieve your goals. Read this guide to learn how to track OKRs.
Sagrika Mehta

Sagrika Mehta

Tracking OKRs Progress

OKRs helps in planning and evaluating a company’s success. As vital as it is to deploy them in your organization,not tracking OKRs can cause you to lose sight of the company’s growth. This might be one of the reasons why your OKRs fail.

It is not the right attitude to set OKRs and forget them. They need to be tracked regularly to avoid blind spots and reap better business outcomes. Most of the companies succeed in tracking OKRs as they align their mission,vision and values in an effective way.

But before establishing OKRs, it is crucial to ensure that every team member or employee is on the same page and understands the goal to be achieved and the strategy to be applied.

“Employees are probably more valuable when their mission is focused.”

                                                                                                    -Sundar Pichai.

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What is OKR tracking?

OKR tracking is the process of monitoring the progress of assigned OKRs. Waiting for OKRs to be finished after setting them is not the best strategy to apply them in the organization.

Following the establishment of OKRs, the next important step is tracking, which is often neglected.

For example, the marketing team has been assigned the following OKR:

Objective: Be the best blog in the industry 

Key Results:

  • Post 75 blogs per month
  • Get 5,0000 people to subscribe to the blog
  • Enhance SEO score to 99

Now that the assigned OKR period is over it’s time to review OKR, are the KRs successfully achieved? You will be able to answer this only when you track the OKRs.,.

Manager reviewing OKRs with team

Why should you track OKRs?

1 Avoid Blindspots

Often the progress of OKRs is overlooked and if it goes unnoticed for too long can result in failures or non-accomplishment of OKRs. Are you ready to take that risk? 

Of course not, tracking Objective and Key Results can help you overcome these issues and achieve goals at a defined time.

2 Stay on top of your goals

OKRs are the foundation of organizational goals. Tracking OKRs allows you to plan for future OKRs, goals, and strategies accordingly. It helps you set a clear path for functioning and reviewing processes for OKRs.

According to Lazaro Ibanez “Google adopted to stay on top of their goals using OKR in 1999, during its first year. It supported Google’s growth from 40 employees to more than 60,000 today”- 

The goals can be better envisioned if you figure out what you want and why you want.

“For many of us, the problem isn’t dreaming up the goals we want to accomplish; it’s remembering to continue pursuing them in spite of all the other things that need to get done in one day” 

-Ana Mcrae. 

3 Align teams regularly on goals

What if a team finished their OKRs ahead of schedule, or if someone is struggling to complete their OKRs? Keeping track of progress enables you to align teams with goals, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and moving in the same direction.

Team members working together to complete OKRs

4 Define a clear path

Objectives without a clear path to follow are ineffective. You’ll need measurable and practical actions to get you from one point to another while also being able to track your progress.

5 Provide Guidance when needed

Just setting OKRs isn’t enough to improve employees’ performance, by keeping a track of their OKR progress and performance you can provide real-time feedback and they can work on it to complete the objective in the given time.

Tracking helps in identifying the solutions for the challenges at the team level.

6 Helps in identifying any issues

By keeping track of OKRs you can easily identify any errors and make corrections accordingly in the right time instead of doing all these changes at the time of review. 

This helps in saving time and extra effort of both managers and employees.

 A manager assisting employee with OKRs

Challenges you might face while tracking OKRs

1 Multiple Objectives

For a large organization with several teams and multiple OKRs, it is often difficult to keep track of every OKR. Too many objectives also disturb the focus of teams on what is important and confuses them as well.

 In a simple language, you must concentrate more on the quality, not on the quantity of the Objectives.

2 Failing to track progress weekly

One of the key reasons OKRs are so beneficial is that they make it simple for managers to track progress. The hitch is that they must check in on a regular basis in order to instill discipline in their teams. 

If your team establishes targets at the start of the quarter during quarterly planning, but you don’t check in on progress for many weeks, you’ll likely discover that not much has been accomplished.

Manager analyzing the progress of OKRs

3 Not assigning a DRI (Directly Responsible Individual)

Tracking isn’t an easy job when there are various teams assigned with different OKRs. Also, if a manager is assigning, tracking, and reviewing OKRs along with other jobs, he/she might lose focus on important projects or tasks.

A DRI is in charge of ensuring that OKRs are accomplished. Failure to appoint a single person to be accountable for OKR development can result in a lack of discipline and blaming of other team members for non accomplishments.

4 Poor resources

One of the biggest mistakes a manager can make is to encourage their team members to undertake something without providing them with the necessary resources. As much as reliable resources are important for team members while allocating OKRs, they are really useful while tracking them as well as they will help managers equally.

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5 Unmeasurable KRs

Remember that Objectives are ambitious goals, and KRs are the measures of an objective’s success. Key Results help you define success and comprehend when you can declare, “We did it!” Key Results are not tasks to complete an Objective.

Therefore, Key Results should be numerical in order to measure progress toward your Goal.

 “If it does not have a number, it is not a Key Result.”-Marissa Meyer, former Google VP

How to avoid common OKR tracking mistakes

1 Assign a directly responsible individual

Often when there are many employees and teams assigned with multiple OKRs,  it becomes challenging for a  manager to keep regular track of OKRs, here a manager can assign a DRI (Directly Responsible Individual) for each OKR to keep track of the progress on his/her behalf.

2 Use OKR tool

Getting an OKR tool into the play can help you not just with tracking OKR but measuring them too. The tool connects every employee to an organization’s goals, vision, and expectations, allowing them to track progress in a dashboard and share and receive direct feedback. Members can reflect on the progress via notification alerts, making tracking objectives easy.

3 Provide regular feedback

While tracking if you find there is an error or scope for improvement you should immediately connect with the team through 1:1s and work on it there and then only to avoid wastage of time and efforts later on.

Writing feedback on OKRs progress

4 Track OKRs for accountability

OKRs are data-driven. Regular check-ins, objective grading, and constant reassessment guarantee complete control and accountability at the end of the quarter.

“There always needs to be someone steering the ship, though, even if the crew is responsible for helping get it safely to the harbour. With OKRs, it’s incredibly important to have a capable individual in charge of the objective. They need to know exactly what’s expected and how it will be measured so they can oversee the process and ensure progress is made.”

                     -Dan Bailey, President of WikiLawn

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5 Set OKRs quarterly

Without a question, OKRs are an effective way to boost employee productivity and performance. However, they must be established for a fair amount of time so that they do not interfere with the company’s growth. 

Setting OKRs on a regular or weekly basis can result in significant administrative burden because you’ll continually be setting, tracking, and reviewing them. Setting OKRs quarterly can help balance both employees’ and company’s growth.

6 Set 3–5 KRs per objective

Too many objectives or key results can divert attention away from your priorities. Teams should have a maximum of three objectives every quarter, each with up to 3-5 key results. As a result, the amount of work will be a lot more reasonable and less perplexing.

An objective in OKRs must be supported by at least 3-5 Key results as they describe how you plan to reach your objective in a sensible and practical manner.

Progress of OKRs with weekly check-ins

Keeping track of OKRs allows you to monitor team performance and, if there are any gaps, they must be filled in accordance with your direction and encouragement. With quarterly OKRs you must conduct weekly check-ins to track the progress of OKRs. 

Role of Weekly OKR Check-ins

An OKR check-in is a short 15-20 minute session when you and your team reflect on OKR success and create new priorities for the following week. The check-in serves to support OKR progress. Teams ensure that progress is being made by evaluating completed plans, the outcomes and the lessons gained as they move ahead. 

Easy weekly check-in in OKR tool

1 Progress in the Key Result since last check-in

How much progress has the team made since the last checkin? Has it improved? What are the chances of achieving each Key Results?

2 What went right or what went wrong

What are the obstacles your team is facing? How is it restricting them to work on OKRs? Is it an internal or external factor? How can it be solved? 

3 What did team members learned

Understanding what team members have learned and what they can work in future helps you write OKRs for the next quarter.

Employee working on the feedback

4 Updated plan for next week team OKRs

Plan how the teams are going to work on OKR next week, who will perform what task, what targets have been set.

5 Performance of team members

Weekly check-ins are a great way to analyze the individual performance and motivate or praise them accordingly.

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Role of Integrations for OKR tracking

Slack integration

Slack is one amazing business messaging tool for any sized organization. You can integrate slack with OKR tool You can track progress with the OKR tool and set weekly check-in meetings with slack. This ensures that everyone in the team is aware of the progress and are on the same page.

Integrating OKR and 1:1s

It allows you to conduct regular meetings to keep track of OKRs. Effectively using this integration enhances productivity, keeps track of OKRs and boosts employee morale.

After all the tips and tools discussed above now is the time to score the OKRs

Get engagement insights by integrating OKR tool with slack

OKR scoring

Scoring OKR refers to the process of setting criteria for evaluating key Results achievement. For example, a low score would mean a rework with the feedback and high score give actual evidence of delivery.

According to Rick Klau, at Google Key results are scored between 0.0 to 1.1, where 1.0 means the objective was achieved. You can also use the percentage approach or ‘A’ to ‘F’ approach for grading or whatever suits the organization best. 

Points to consider while scoring OKRs

To determine a score, divide the set target by the final result. Using the previous example, if your team’s KR was to “post 15 blogs,” but they only got 10, their final score would be 0.6, whereas if they got 13, their score would be 0.8.  A score can be  assigned to the Key Result based on this score.

A lower score may indicate that the organization is not achieving its full potential. With Google’s 0.0 – 1.0 scale, an average of 0.6 to 0.7 across all OKRs is expected. 

It is critical to understand that a low score (0.2 – 0.4) does not always indicate that your employees are not hard working. 

Rather, a low score should be reviewed to determine what is preventing your employees from scoring higher. Perhaps the issue isn’t with them, but with the KR, which needs to be reworked.

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OKRs are a fantastic approach to guarantee that your organization is aligned around shared goals and that it continues to develop and expand in a constructive, collaborative direction.

The process of tracking OKRs as a team can also help employees stay more committed and engaged in the company’s high-level goals, allowing them to focus their daily efforts on the most important tasks.

You can have a successful landing by following a tracking guide and remember a few things like setting OKRs quarterly, evaluating the progress with weekly check-ins, integrating the tracking with OKR tool and slack can help with the achievement of OKRs efficiently.

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