Executing well on the delivery of your product or service is the difference between success and failure for your team or company. The HomeHero team demystifies the OKR process.
When it comes to that execution, there are many different methods and frameworks available to help improve everything from strategy and positioning to user research and product development.
However, it can be frustrating to actually put one of these frameworks into practice in a way that is effective for your team. A sensible way of thinking can be sunk by something as simple as having the wrong meeting schedule in place. The rest of this article describes how HomeHero implements the OKRs framework (Objectives and Key Results). First popularised by John Doerr at Intel and then spread throughout the tech industry OKRs are an effective way to align teams and individuals towards the company’s main challenges and goals.
At HomeHero, our OKRs come from an understanding of the high level company goals that we want to achieve. Senior team members from across the company help shape these whenever our existing OKRs are no longer relevant, or are coming to an end. There are two types of OKR that we define:
- ‘Growth’ OKRs – these are to attack the biggest challenges that we have. In this context, ‘growth’ means ‘learning as much as we can’, rather than specifically being growth of users or revenue.
- ‘Core’ OKRs – these focus on improving execution in parts of the business that are already well understood.
For our Growth OKRs, we take a product-led approach, organising into multi-disciplinary ‘squads’. Each squad has a ‘captain’ to keep tabs on the individual projects within an OKR. The captains will organise a kick off session for their OKR to discuss and prioritise the first initiatives for projects and who in their squad should take ownership of those projects.
Squads meet once a week to discuss progress and challenges on their projects, and to update their OKR scoreboard of key metrics or milestone. Any blockers can be highlighted here, such as not having enough time or the right people available to move a project forward. This allows OKR captains to negotiate resources with team leads and figure out which projects are the most important ones across OKRs (if they are demanding the same resource).
We also have a weekly Growth meeting. This brings together all the squads, where the captains check in on the scoreboard and can highlight learnings and challenges within their OKR. Making these weekly meetings more collaborative and engaging than just giving a rote update is important. Normally the different OKRs are connected or related in some way, so this is the best opportunity for squads to exchange learnings and help provide insight that could unblock some of the challenges identified.
The most important part of any process or framework is to make sure that you have a regular opportunity to review whether it’s still working. We have a monthly session with all OKR captains and the CEO. It’s both to discuss the process of squad management and running an OKR, as well as the OKRs themselves. Are the squad meetings and weekly team meetings functional? How can they be more effective? Do we need to start thinking about writing new OKRs? Are our existing ones written correctly, or do they not reflect the actual priorities people feel exist? These are some of the questions we force ourselves to discuss so that our way of implementing OKRs always stays current, with engagement from the key people.
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