OKRs or Objectives and Key Results are a collaborative goal-setting tool used by design teams and other departments to set challenging, ambitious goals with measurable results. OKRs are how you track progress, create alignment, and encourage engagement around measurable goals.
OKRs can be a superpower for creating an environment where employees are able to work with purpose. Companies like Intel, LinkedIn and Airbnb have achieved amazing results with OKRs, but less often discussed is the fact that deploying a goal framework in the right way can create a vastly better working environment.
The OKR methodology is very simple, and when used properly, OKRs can help your design team create things like high output management, team alignment and increased communication in all your business goals.
When it comes to creating and writing incredible OKRs consider the following formula: We will __(Objective)__ as measured by __(these Key Results)__.
Designed to fit the needs of any organization size, department or industry, OKRs work the same for setting goals throughout many company levels. They can also be used by individuals or small teams to achieve results. .
Objectives need to be clear, actionable and (ideally) inspiring, while also actionable and time-bound.
Key results determine whether an Objective has succeeded or failed. They are quantifiable, measurable and time-bound, so that it's easy for the design team to gauge progress. Contributors on the KRs should measure progress regularly (ideally weekly), and then at the end of the OKR period (typically a quarter), there’s a regular grading of the KR and retrospective.
When it comes to writing and setting OKRs, it's a good idea to make it collaborative. By conducting a brainstorming session, it engages your design team, gives your team a level of ownership and drives accountability for those results. Ultimately, you want to create a process where teams feel empowered to create their OKRs and then challenge teams across the business to ensure they’re focused on the right priorities at the right time. This process encourages creative thinking and informed risk-taking, all to push your design team forward.
When getting started with design OKRs, we get common questions like “how do I write a good design team OKR?” or “can you give me a good example of a branding OKR?” To answer these questions, we created a list of example design OKRs so you can have some inspiration as you begin to write your own company, department and team OKRs.
OBJECTIVE: Design deliverables directly contribute to sales and marketing’s best quarter yet
OBJECTIVE: Redesign and launch our new website
OBJECTIVE: Become a design-driven company
An ideal OKR software tool will build and reinforce great practices while fitting in seamlessly with the way your design team already works. Teams who use a software-based OKR tool have improved alignment and work better together. By having purpose-built software for the job of goal tracking, you’ll avoid a ton of time spent running around and getting updates.
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