How to wrap up end-of-quarter OKRs
Planning ahead to reach your goals
By Akshat Dani, Customer Success Manager at Ally.io
The last couple of weeks of the quarter may feel like a time of panic. All of sudden, time is ticking to get everything done you set out to accomplish this quarter.
We’re all guilty of this “end of the quarter rush”. It’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day work and not prioritize planning ahead.
The earlier you can plan ahead for the next quarter, the better. But we know this is easier said than done.
How to wrap up quarterly OKRs
- Get up-to-date. In the last few weeks of the quarter, make sure everyone’s OKR check-ins are up-to-date and accurate. This allows for everyone to have clear visibility into what the status of the OKRs are, no matter what the status is. It’s important to make sure everyone is on the same page at the team and company level so that if anything needs to be triaged, you can take action instead of guessing. To make sure you don’t run into issues with check-ins at the end of the quarter, make sure your team is making weekly or biweekly check-ins the entire quarter. Use a consistent format when doing the check-ins, including what you did the previous week, what you’re doing this week and what you need help with.
- Communication is key when it comes to OKRs and closing out a quarter. Have discussions between managers and team members about how the quarter went not only at an individual level, but at a team level as well. Discuss if something is at risk and why. You might learn that maybe the priorities shifted midway and one of the OKRs needs to get pushed to the next quarter, or maybe it was a resource issue on why one fell behind. If there’s one takeaway we want you to have regarding OKRs, it’s that they are always a learning experience. Even if you hit 100% on an OKR, there’s always something you can take away from it.
- Plan ahead. We recommend closing out the prior quarter’s OKRs a week or two after the new quarter begins, but management should start having discussions in the month before the new quarter about what went well and what didn’t during that time period. It’s not going to be just one or two discussions, and it might take a few weeks.
Rolling out OKRs
- Try a gradual roll out. Understanding the OKR framework is not as easy as it looks. You may understand the methodology in theory, but when it comes to putting it on paper, you may find that a little more challenging and confusing. If you’re trying to roll out OKRs across an organization, start at the team level only and have everyone understand the process before rolling them out further. Then, assign only one or two OKRs to individuals for the first time. They could even be personal OKRs for them to tackle such as learning a new skill. That gets everyone into the rhythm of checking in so when they do start having higher level OKRs, it’s second nature. If you mix in personal goals, it builds excitement on adoption. It shows how team members are contributing at a company level and let’s them see the transparency. If you don’t have adoption in the beginning, people will look at OKRs as just another task they have to complete.
- Be transparent. It’s important to get the team engaged and make sure everyone understands the importance of OKRs and why the company adopted them. We tell leaders to talk about company goals and objectives at the team level and at company-wide meetings. The best practice is to be transparent from day one. Just be honest with the team and how things are going. Transparency from the beginning ensures no one is going to get caught off guard with how the company is doing. Let your team know what the company is thinking, why you made shifts and what that’s going to result in. Companies can hold internal meetings where directors talk about what went well, what didn’t and what they are going to do. This starts collaboration and discussion, and increases visibility. Another best practice we’ve seen from companies that successfully adopt OKRs is to develop an internal training document that outlines what OKRs are and how the company uses them. This is helpful for reference and new employee onboarding.
Lastly, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Our team at Ally.io is always here to help assist you in making sure your organization is successful with OKRs and sees the full benefits of using them. More resources can be found here.
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