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The Ultimate Guide To Objectives and Key Results – OKRs

12. OKR Meetings

OKR meetings that work

There are a number of scheduled OKR meetings that you will want to ensure happen as part of any OKR implementation. This is because the discussion around how OKRs are tracking and how projects, sprints and to-dos are doing that are delivering progress are the cornerstone of goal achievement. Or put another way, when you’re not talking about OKRs and what is being done to achieve them there is a much bigger chance of sub-optimal performance.

Such is the importance of these OKR meetings, ZOKRI developed specific OKR meeting features that ensure these discussions happen and can be seen to be happening without any meeting preparation overhead like creating slide decks.

5 OKR meetings to master

Having a strategy and having goals in an OKR format by themselves does not deliver results. They are the framework or vehicle for change, but they are not the fuel. The fuel is aligned, focused and energised productivity.

What keeps the fuel topped up are regular well structured conversations. These conversations are where our human superpowers of debate, problem solving, consensus building and agreement can be used.

If you can establish these five meetings in your diaries and commit to attending them there is a very good chance that you will unlock your company and team’s potential. What’s more, you will probably find that you need fewer meetings in the middle of these, saving you lots of time.

#1 Weekly Priorities & Wins

If OKRs are how you propose to set your desirable outcomes for the quarter it’s your weekly priorities that are going to achieve those outcomes.

Employees and teams can feel overloaded if work is not visible and priorities are not set. Using agile best practices like agreeing to weekly priorities and using priority labels like P1, P2 and P3 help provide clarity on which to-dos matter most and least.

With ZOKRI teams can share and discuss their weekly priorities in a meeting using the Priorities agenda item. Some teams are good and have them already in ZOKRI before the meeting, others work through and add them in the meeting.

Of course other agenda items like sharing last week’s win and problems can also be added as agenda items and captured in the software using the Wins feature and meeting notes.

#2 Monthly OKR & KPI Review

OKRs are often briefly discussed weekly and have a deeper discussion monthly. Here you are discussing progress, confidence, what’s holding you back and plans to achieve OKRs. You should also discuss relevant KPIs at the same time as these are likely to support OKR achievement and create a general awareness of metrics that matter in your teams.

Again, ZOKRI makes it easy to run an OKR review via the meeting management features, capturing discussion points, notes, actions and even decisions made.

#3 End-of-Quarter OKR Retrospective

At the end of a quarter you always want to discuss and capture the reflections and learnings from working towards an OKR.

You also want to retrospectively grade your OKR. 54% progress to some might look like a failure. With a retrospective and ZOKRI you can not only provide the narrative, you can explain why 54% might be a huge success.

Learnings in the format of: Keep, Start and Stop doing are another great point of reflection for OKR that you will probably want to systemise.

ZOKRI has an agenda item for OKR retrospectives that makes the scheduling and running of a Retrospective easy.

#4 New Quarter OKR Commit

If you’ve done your OKR retrospective then some OKR may be rolled over and other new OKRs may be proposed. These OKRs can be reviewed, discussed and committed to in ZOKRI.

How do you prepare for an OKR planning meeting? Questions to consider are:

  • Which KPIs would help your team / company if they were improved right now?
  • Are there any systems or processes followed that really need to be improved?
  • Are there any really important projects that need to be delivered?

When it comes to then debating these in and across teams be prepared to discuss each with perspectives on:

  • How long has this been an issue / opportunity?
  • How much effort would be needed to change this?
  • What would change if you changed this?
  • Is there anything that’s part of the business-as-usual that would need to be put down to change this?

Don’t commit to too many OKRs as that will dilute focus and don’t forget you can maintain an OKR backlog. These are OKRs that you decided were important during your planning meeting but were not the top priority. If the priority OKRs get completed you can start backlog OKRs.

#5 Company OKR Update

If you’re a leader of a company you need to lead by example and not only share your OKRs but share the progress of your OKRs with your teams. Your transparency will inspire others to do the same. Needless to say, ZOKRI makes the sharing of these easy without the need to make slides.

Schedule OKR meetings

As you can see, during a typical OKR cycle there are a number of scheduled and prepared for OKR meetings that you should consider making must-attend meetings.

  • Quarterly OKR meetings are focused on closing down one OKR with final updates, and retrospective before planning the new quarter
  • Monthly OKR deep drives are there to discuss OKRs and executional plans in more depth than the general weekly updates that are very problem and execution plan centric.
  • Weekly OKR meetings often only discuss ‘at risk’ OKRs that are stuck, going slowly and have low levels of confidence, in addition to the usual discussions around the projects and tasks that are delivering all OKRs, those tracking well and those at risk.

Meeting and discussing OKRs in groups is an essential practice as the more complete information and idea sharing is, the better collaboration and decision making becomes. You want to ensure everyone has a voice, hears and is heard.

This is why OKR meetings are more typically in teams but sometimes OKRs also form part of manager one-one-ones as well.

OKR Meeting Agendas

OKR meeting agendas often have similar elements. The common OKR meeting agenda items we see and support in ZOKRI are:

  • OKR progress review – Check-in updates happen before meetings so that the team can review the update and consider how any issues can be addressed pre meetings.
  • KPI review – being KPI aware and monitoring for any KPI issues outside those in OKRs is a good best-practice to embed in teams.
  • Weekly priorities – pre-committed P1, P2, P3 can for individuals and in teams align everyone around the work that matters most in a given week. The discussion can then center around whether everyone’s priorities are aligned. Adjustments being made if required.
  • Proposed discussion points – it’s good practice to propose discussion points before a meeting in order for people to prepare.
  • Notes and decisions – keeping notes and a record of decisions made is a useful practice to use and allows these to be distributed post-meeting.|
  • Actions – during a meeting actions should be captured and assigned. These actions can then be an agenda point in the next meeting. Has everyone done what they had agreed to do?

With ZOKRI everything from the meeting invites to post meeting notes and action sharing is taken care of. There is no need to create Slides or documents. Everything you need to run a great OKR meeting is on screen and designed to work as well on a TV screen as a laptop.

The agenda and cadence of meetings is entirely up to you. What matters the most is you know they are happening in teams and across the company.

OKR meetings often means fewer meetings

We have found that diaries are often full of frequent planned and adhoc ‘catch-up’ and ‘alignment’ meetings. The combination of being able to access OKR check-in updates on-demand in ZOKRI and well planned schedule OKR meetings means that instead of having more meetings, teams have fewer meetings and more execution time. Teams can work in a more aligned and autonomous way with the need to constantly synchronise.

Nearly ZERO meeting preparation time

When OKR meeting agendas and meeting information are systemized there you do not waste time copying and pasting information from one document to another, formatting and sharing. It’s all done for you in ZOKRI. This is another reason why these OKR meetings are more likely to happen.