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“We’ve had a very successful past four or five months with product development at New Relic. Part of that is due to Koan bringing focus to the teams—helping them finish tasks and get products into customers’ hands.”
Senior Director of Program Management, New Relic
Rescuing goals from the ether
New Relic’s growth has been both a blessing and a challenge. Along with accelerating growth and hiring, the company’s hugely successful observability software created a critical new challenge: how to prioritize work and get everyone on the same page.
“We needed a system to align everyone—to be able to measure the work we’re doing and what we’re delivering to our customers,” says Mary Grossi, Senior Director of Program Management at New Relic.
New Relic rolled out a set of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) for its engineering teams about a year and a half ago. According to Grossi, “The primary goal was to clearly define the top priorities for the company, organizations, and teams.”
However, before partnering with Koan, New Relic’s structured goal-setting reports were time-intensive to create and much of the information ended up floating around in the ether.
“We were writing half-page status reports for each project and had OKRs in spreadsheets and PowerPoints that we shared at company and organization-level meetings,” says Grossi. “We realized we needed a tool instead of trying to put everything in Google Docs.”
Establishing effective feedback and communication
That’s when New Relic reached out to Koan for an OKR software solution. “We looked at other tools we were using internally at New Relic but decided we wanted to go with Koan,” says Grossi.
Working with the Koan team, New Relic implemented the OKR platform for its engineering groups. “Where Koan made a huge difference was in the tool’s Reflections feature,” says Grossi. “With access to concise reports, managers can identify and respond to the most critical issues —quickly and easily.”
New Relic finds that Koan’s OKR solution sparks proactive team communication—which Grossi says sounds like, “ ‘This person thinks the Result is At Risk; I think it’s On Track. I probably should talk to them and figure out why we’re thinking different things.’ ”
Teams align and New Relic gets a productivity boost
Since implementing Koan this summer, New Relic teams are more aligned and reaching goals faster.
“We’ve had a very successful past four or five months with product development at New Relic,” says Grossi. “I think part of that is due to Koan bringing focus to the teams—helping them finish tasks and get products into customers’ hands.”
As an executive and active user of OKRs, Grossi describes the experience with the Koan team: “Usage has gone from 25 OKR users before the rollout to 257 people using the solution. Koan has added features that people have been very excited about and are using heavily,” says Grossi. “We have a great relationship with Koan!”
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