Goal-setting is a significant step in any project management process. Effective project management is composed of focus, alignment, and acceleration. While setting up new milestones for deliverables, project manager often forgets to align them with the "right" goals.
"40% of global CEOs cite failure to align as the single greatest challenge to executing strategy", cites a recent survey by Harvard Business Review.
Managers are always on their toes to sustain the timelines, resources, and expectations of the shareholders. Ensuring smooth delivery of complex projects requires alignment, strategic planning, and effective management.
Project Manager often finds it challenging to keep with the nitty-gritty of projects. Furthermore, their deliverables also take a hit if the team is not following a roadmap.
To counter this problem, various global managers have started using OKRs to elevate the efficiency of their projects.
While project management keeps a note on deliverables; OKRs assists managers in turbocharging their pace, motivation, and outcomes.
What is OKR?
OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results. It is a goal-management methodology which prioritizes what matters the most to the company. It is a simple tool which drives engagement and alignment across measurable organizational goals.
Objectives define what do you want to achieve, and Key Results are ambitious metrics that ensure the success of the achievement. Every company is operating with OKRs focus on goals which align with specific Objectives and 3-4 Key Results for each.
This framework advocates transparency and acts as a communication tool to enhance employee engagement.
Now the question arises, how should we use OKRs with the norms of Project Management? How to Set Goals? How to keep track of deliverables?
Incorporating Project Management with OKR
Project Management works with carrying out a project under the given constraints of time, value, and budgets. If you know your result, you can easily leverage it to make an action plan.
OKR is the action plan your project requires for successful implementation. Once you have a clear understanding of what is the result, you can easily map out the roadmap to achieve it.
OKR and Project Management complement each other. Every project has a set of tasks or to-do which are set regularly to track the growth of that project. But these tasks are listed on a lenient side, hence allowing the employees to slack off with unfinished work.
To have an impactful project growth, link these OKR with tasks. We often make a common mistake of creating OKRs like tasks. OKRs are not tasks.
A task is something you have to complete in a limited period, and perhaps you compromise on the quality of output. The manager usually fall into this trap to make the delivery is fast; they skip the quality check.
However, OKR is a qualitative outcome-based goal-setting process, a combination of various tasks whereas project management tools will organize a set of talks about what needs to get done.
OKRs enhances productivity and transparency, an operational function of project management. The output of your employee or the number of hours they're investing at work doesn't define productivity. The outcome of their challenging goals decides whether an employee is productive or not.
But How are they different?
To make sure your team works effectively, project managers should invest in aligning and communicating the company goals.
Let's take an example to understand how we can incorporate OKR with Project Management.
Here, the project is the launch of a new product line concerning healthy snack in India.
So the tasks which will be carried out to launch a new product can be:
- Find your niche
- Create a brand story and packaging
- Select the target audience
- Speak to retailers
- Get a distributor onboard
- Do a launch
- Strong social media engagement
- Look for investors
- Consistent planning strategy
- Create a backup plan ( just incase)
These tasks are just a set of action based phrases; they do not hold any metrics to track the growth. The Project Management tools are based on finding a way to get things done, but they don't give a reliable measure to your tasks.
Now let's create OKR around it.
Objective: Launch a new Product Line in India
KR: Find four investors
KR: Initial 200 Followers on Social Media
KR: 5 Retailers and 2 Area Distributor onboard
KR: Launch product by December
After comparing the tasks and OKRs, it is evident that OKRs gives your project clarity and rigid structure.
Key Results here are strategic measures, while the tasks listed were just actions. You do not control them. Instead, they are fulfilled after performing a particular set of functions.
For instance, Creating a strong brand story and social media is under your command, but 200 followers on social media are not something you can get done. It can be attained after conducting rigorous campaigns and creating engagement on your social media platforms.
So, tasks and critical results have a difference in their core principles.
The collaboration of Project Management and OKR methodology will provide your goals with a rigid structure. This approach will fill the gap between action and metrics to prove it.
With the rapidly growing environment, it's time managers prioritize bigger picture over the short-term success. You give your team a clear direction to steer towards; they will provide you with the desired results.
Introduce a professional software like OKRBoard at your workplace to boost your Project Management.