Whether you’re new to OKRs or have been managing OKRs for a long time, figuring out the best way to track your goals transparently can seem like an OKR in itself. Many organizations use Google Docs or Google Sheets to track goals, which can be a great, free tool for getting started. But when it comes to getting people engaged in your goals, that’s where OKRs can get lost in the shuffle.
OKRs are designed to align and engage teams, but if this process isn’t comfortable for users, it’s likely you won’t experience the complete benefits of OKRs. In order to be successful with OKRs, it is paramount to build positive habits and muscle memory as you execute each OKR cycle.
Managing OKRs through a dedicated software platform improves efficiency, collaboration, and insight. Tools like Koan provide an intuitive UI for managing goals at scale, visualizing goal hierarchy, collecting insights from dedicated dashboards, and ultimately encouraging collaboration and engagement. But software can provide so much more value, so we’ve compiled a list of the top benefits to using dedicated OKR software instead of a spreadsheet.
Spreadsheets prevent teams from deeply aligning their goals, missing one of the key organizational benefits of OKRs - alignment. Using software, there are multiple ways to understand the alignment you create with OKRs and you have the ability to link team objectives to department objectives, all the way up to the company level goals, everyone has an instant view into all goals and how they contribute to the overall strategy.
Typically when organizations manage OKRs in spreadsheets, access is limited to executives and department leads. When using software, team members have easy access to strategic objectives and OKRs across teams, focusing work on what's important and highlighting what’s working and what's not. This also provides the opportunity for everyone to understand how their role plays a part in moving the company forward.
Easily track progress
Remembering to update metrics in spreadsheets can be cumbersome, but a software tool offers reminders to update metrics and instantly update your progress with just a few clicks. In addition, these changes are visible to the entire team and contribute to the overall Confidence Scores, so leaders have a more accurate assessment of how goals are progressing. It’s a great way to have an overview of how team members are progressing with their OKRs.
Increased team engagement and reduced meetings
OKRs tend to work best when teams are working together towards a common goal. With an OKR tool that captures weekly qualitative insights from contributors, you provide a platform for team members and managers to give and receive direct feedback, increasing engagement and collaboration across objectives and key results. Streamlined OKR updates eliminate status-check emails and reduce unnecessary meetings. Especially with remote teams, a software platform allows everyone to monitor goals and track progress asynchronously.
Curate qualitative confidence
If a tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound? So if goals are shared but then forgotten about two weeks later, do they get accomplished? When OKRs are stored in spreadsheets, leaders typically don’t have an honest gauge on how goals are actually progressing. OKR software tools can improve accuracy and accountability by collecting qualitative confidence ratings for Objectives and Key Results. When everyone on the team contributes confidence ratings tied to their goals, leaders have improved accuracy and accountability with progress tracking. Dedicated tools help teams raise concerns and catch issues before fires start, reducing employee stress and wasted efforts through better alignment and focus.
Out-of-the-box best practices
The problem with spreadsheets is that they’re typically set at the beginning of the quarter, and then they aren’t looked at again until the end of the quarter. An OKR software tool incorporates best practices that support the team at critical junctures throughout the OKR cycle. You don’t have to manually set up a template or set up new spreadsheets every quarter. You don’t have to set up calendar reminders to update your goals. It’s all automated for you!
Access to OKR expertise
When using a spreadsheet, you might be leveraging the knowledge base of colleagues who have used OKRs before? Or maybe you’re just referencing John Doerr’s book, Measure What Matters. But using a tool like Koan, you have support and resources from OKR experts. Our customer success representatives are available to answer questions and support your teams. You also have access to our vast library of OKR resources.
As you’re assessing the best way to manage OKRs, remember that an ideal OKR tool will build and reinforce great practices while fitting in seamlessly with the way your team already works. Software simply supports great practices and cross-functional collaboration—crucial to the success of an OKR implementation at scale.