What are OKRs?

What's The Best OKR Software for SaaS?

What are OKRs?

What's The Best OKR Software for SaaS?

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Before we talk about OKR Software and which might be the best OKR  software for you, we need to learn or refresh ourselves on what OKRs are and do. This helps us evaluate and select the best fit solution.

OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results. They are a popular, highly effective and collaborative way of setting goals for companies, teams and individuals. Companies that adopt OKRs benefit from faster growth as a result of greater focus, more ambition, and better alignment.

Who uses OKRs? Most famously, OKRs were first introduced to Google, when Google was small, by John Doerr, one of the world’s most successful VCs. The goal was to inspire, define and manage rapid growth. Needless to day, it worked!

OKRs have helped lead us to 10x growth, many times over. They’ve helped make our crazily bold mission of “organizing the world’s information” perhaps even achievable. They’ve kept me and the rest of the company on time and on track when it mattered the most. And I wanted to make sure people heard that.

Larry Page, Google Co-founder

OKRs were later adopted by other software market leaders like AirBnB, Spotify, Intuit, and LinkedIn. They are now adopted not just by technology companies but all companies wanting to accelerate growth.

If you’re looking for a goal setting framework to help manage and accelerate your growth, OKRs are a good place to start.

What are OKRs?

The OKR Formula

I will

As measured by this set of

Writing An OKR

Objectives are statements that are specific, provide direction, and often contain an aspiration element. For example:

Objective: Predictable Quality Lead Generation 

Key Results are a way of defining whether you have achieved your Objective. They should be:

 

  1. Specific: Key Results should contain a specific goal, ideally numerical, and provide direction e.g. increase, reduce, generate.
  2. Measurable: Measurement is central to an OKR, it’s not an OKR without a quantifiable way to measure progress and success.
  3. Difficult: Key Results should not be easy, in fact it should be a stretch and sometimes a moonshot. 
  4. Reliable: Key Results should not contain a vanity metric e.g. If your Objective is: Predictable Quality Lead Generation, websites Sessions is not a good Key Result as it’s an unreliable predictor of quality leads.

This is what the full SaaS OKR could look like:

Objective: Predictable Quality Lead Generation 

Key Result: Generate 2,000 Leads

Key Result: Generate 1,000 MQLs

Key Result: Generate 500 SQLs

What this OKR has is Balancing Key Results. A Balancing Key Result is a Key Result that compliments another Key Result, increasing the quality and reliability of it as a goal metric.

In the example above, if the goal was just to create 2,000 Leads, that might be achieved or exceeded in a Quarter. But if the business is not seeing this translate into the right proportion of MQLs and SQLs there’s a good chance that the Leads were not good leads or the nurturing and qualification process needs some urgent attention. You can see from the OKR examples broken down by team here.

ZOKRI guides users to create OKRs with in the right way, with metrics that matter. This helps to prevent your OKR software being used as a task list masquerading as OKRs. The most common OKR mistake that impacts performance.

OKR Benefits

Simple

OKRs are simple to understand, fast to do & implement, and are adaptable to specific situations.

Agile

OKRs are agile with OKRs being evaluated and reviewed usually quarterly - this means you can adapt as data and insights on how to continue your growth goals is acquired.

Transparent

Everyone’s OKRs are there to see, with transparency you achieve alignment between company, team and individuals.

Ambitious

OKRs encourage companies, teams and individuals to stretch themselves to achieve more than they thought possible.

Less Self

You become company and team focused, with self-interest being easily spotted and eliminated if it even gets the chance to take root.

More Team

OKRs create aligned, happy and highly performant teams built from a core of honesty, trust, and accountability.

OKR Software Makes Planning & Execution Easier

Once you’ve set your North Star, and having taken guidance from your Metrics and KPIs to decide on where to focus all your efforts, you’re able to set OKRs in your OKR Software.

OKRs do not need to align as the process and effort involved in trying to create alignment acts more as an impediment to performance than and aid. For example, metrics like MQLs don’t need to cascade through to different channels and campaigns.

Instead use both a top-down and bottom-up approach. The company sets the Strategic OKRs. Teams set their Tactical OKRs with Managers agreeing them.

One of the great things about OKRs is their flexibility and ability to cope with the fact that Strategic and Tactical OKRs, and Initiatives run at different speeds across different time spans. 

Corporate OKRs

Corporate OKRs are high-level, are often annual and aligned with budgets and forecasts. But not set in-stone as change is inevitable and allowed, and part of the process.

 

Team OKRs

These are usually functional, but can be project based as well, and specific to teams, and are often quarterly. Although different teams can have different time spans it adds complexity, something that’s ideally avoided.

 

Weekly Check-ins

When OKRs are up and running, you use weekly team check-ins as a way assessing OKR Progress, OKR Confidence, OKR Blockers, and review actions and Growth Initiatives

OKR & Size Of Business

John Doer has more experience with OKRs than most and here’s what he had to say about OKRs as they relate to size and maturity:

Small Start-ups

“At smaller start-ups, where people absolutely need to be pulling in the same direction, OKRs are a survival tool. In the tech sector in particular, young companies must grow quickly to get funding before their capital runs dry. Structured goals give backers a yardstick for success: ‘We’re going to build this product and we’ve certified the market by talking to 25 customers – and here’s how much they’re willing to pay.”

 

Medium Size

“At medium-size, rapidly scaling organisations, OKRs are a shared language for execution. They clarify expectations: ‘What do we need to get done (and fast) and who’s working on it?’ They keep employees aligned, vertically and horizontally.”

 

Large Enterprise

“In larger enterprises, OKRs are neon-lit road signs. They demolish silos and cultivate connections among far-flung contributors. By igniting front-line autonomy, they give rise to fresh solutions. And they keep even the most successful organisations stretching for more.”

What's the Best OKR Software?

There are now a number of OKR softwares out there. And the choice between using tools like Sheets and Excel is also an interesting debate.  Our experience is that spreadsheets are not a long-term sustainable way of getting the results you’re looking for.

The choice of which OKR software to choose is down to a small group from which to make your decision. There are a few generalist OKR software solutions, but needless to say, we’re yet to find an OKR software that addresses the needs and opportunities of a SaaS company. We also think that most other solution are not great at ensuring OKR best practices are followed without a high level of management overhead. So we created ZOKRI, the Best OKR Software for SaaS.

OKR Tools and OKR Platforms, is there a difference?

OKRs tools can be represented as something as simple as a Spreadsheet, or simple OKR applications designed to allow you to write and store structured Objectives and Key Results.

An OKR platform is what you can build a fast growth company and world-beating culture around. It has added depths, rich functionality and deeper insights. We would consider ZOKRI and OKR Platform for this reason. But of course, it’s all OKR Software of sorts.

 

The Best OKR Software for SaaS

Track metrics, create OKRs, align and optimize your initiatives, engage, motivate, and inspire your people.