What’s the relation between OKRs versus KPIs?

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Many companies use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to monitor their business activities. If you are trying to implement the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) method in your company, OKRs and KPIs may seem similar on the surface. You may wonder: do you need to abandon your KPIs? Can you use KPIs as OKRs? How do they work together?

While both KPIs and OKRs assess business performance, they actually serve different purposes.

KPIs measure business performance over time, whereas OKRs align company priorities and measure progress toward future goals.

What’s the Eisenhower Matrix?

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The Matrix is a 4-square grid. The top 2 boxes are respectively labeled Urgent and Not Urgent at the top. The top row is labeled Important to the left, and the bottom row is labeled Not Important.

The Eisenhower matrix expedites time management. You list all the tasks for your day in one or another of the boxes. As you list them in the box, do so by priority. When finished, address the Urgent/Important Tasks immediately and dismiss the Not Urgent/Not Important tasks.

If possible, delegate the items in the Urgent/Not Important box or leave them for the future, when there are no more important tasks. The Non Urgent/Important tasks should be assigned a completion date, but they should never take priority over Urgent/Important tasks.

What’s PPP – Plans, Progress, Problems?

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PPP or “Plans, Progress, Problems” is one of the easiest weekly reporting methodologies. You can use this weekly review process to report on the tasks you do in order to advance your OKRs.

As with OKRs, Key Results should be updated on a weekly basis, PPP allows you to set plans, tie your Plans to your Objectives and once you have accomplished your tasks, you can update your Key Results.

‘Weekly status reporting consists of 3 different questions or categories:

  • Plans. What are you planning? (Future);
  • Progress. What have you done? (Past);
  • Problems. What problems are you facing? (Present).

Each week employees answer these questions (without writing long essays) and a manager can get an overview of what’s going on.

Weekly reporting is used successfully in companies like Skype and startup accelerators like Seedcamp. Companies like deverus also use PPP in collaboration with OKRs. That helps them keep future goals in mind while doing PPP reports.

For your convenience, Weekdone takes care of the tedious process of asking for reports and tracking everyone down. It makes employees send you their individual “done” reports, and compiles everything into an understandable team and company report.

You can read more about PPP from Weekdone weekly reporting page

How to connect OKRs to weekly planning and tracking?

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OKRs work best if progress towards your OKRs is measured regularly. You can use a combination of weekly status reporting and OKRs by linking each weekly task to an Objective.

If a weekly task can not be linked to a Objective, you need to think long and hard if the task is actually necessary to achieving your goals.

How to transition from spreadsheets to an OKR tool?

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Spreadsheets are a great tool for getting started and organizing your OKRs, but the number one problem with spreadsheets is implementation. To avoid that, you need to make it as easy and comfortable as possible.

Let’s be honest, the main reason why people start OKRs on spreadsheets is because it is free. While it is nice to see if OKRs are a good fit for your company, cheaper isn’t always better. Moreover, most of the OKR softwares offer free trials anyway.

Once you’ve gotten comfortable and have decided on the tool to manage your OKRs it’s time to transfer them over and import them. The classic way to do this is through copying and pasting your objectives from spreadsheets into the tool.

You can also read a detailed guide about moving from spreadsheets to Weekdone.

What’s the relation between OKRs versus MBO?

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The birth of OKRs can be traced back to Peter Drucker, one of the first managerial thinkers, who, in the 1950s introduced a system called “Management by Objectives” (MBOs) that called for setting objectives for everyone who works in a company.

These goals had to “lay out what contributions a given individual and their unit are expected to make to help other units obtain their objectives.”

So, you could say OKRs are a more advanced version of MBOs.

How can you prioritize goals?

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You can use the Eisenhower Matrix for your goal setting. The Matrix is a 4-square grid. The top 2 boxes are respectively labeled Urgent and Not Urgent at the top. The top row is labeled Important to the left, and the bottom row is labeled Not Important.

You list all your goals in one or another of the boxes. As you list them in the box, do so by priority. When finished, address the Urgent/Important Goals immediately and dismiss the Not Urgent/Not Important tasks.

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