The Importance of OKR for a Software Development Team

Objective and key result: what is OKR?

The method of setting goals used by companies for faster development, innovations, and creativity is called OKR or Objective and Key Results. It is based on setting reasonable goals and tracking progress. The pioneer in this niche was Andy Grove, Intel’s co-founder and former CEO. He was the first to transform Intel’s strategic goals into reasonable ones.

The Importance of OKR for a Software Development Team

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Key results are related to the company’s goals, according to Grove. Using okr software development helps businesses understand whether they reached the set goals. Nowadays, hundreds of different companies have learned to use OKR principles successfully. It helps them reach better results in shorter terms as the intel okr did.

Such rapidly growing technologies like PropTech and FinTech constantly use different methods of goal setting for bigger achievements in the development processes. The FinTech okrs examples are extremely significant for software developers nowadays. However, there is such a notion as a kpi for software developer and it is more familiar to developers.

Both OKRs and KPIs determine goals and track progress. But can they really substitute for one another? Let us find it out right now.

OKRs and KPIs — What is the difference?

OKR and KPI are not the same notions although they seem to be. They, actually, both ensure a unique approach to your software development process. By uniting the standards of both, you can create a whole picture of the company’s activity.

If you struggle with what to choose — KPI or OKR, better find a way to use them both in combination. But first, let’s see the differences.

KPI doesn’t go deep into the problem. It only shows you need to do something to improve the situation. OKR, in turn, explains why it happened and how to improve the situation. It will offer the methods of engaging and keeping your clients. OKR and KPI are not the opposite methods but complete each other.

OKR encourages us to create realistic plans and reach reasonable results. KPI allows us to track the efficiency and spot the areas going wrong. In other words, KPI is an integral part of OKR. The perfect scenario includes both for your business. Here is what OKR will give you compared to KPI:

  • Creates realistic plans (KPI tracks performance)
  • Splits them into measurable results (KPI spots the areas where your project doesn’t go as planned)
  • Suggests methods of improvement (KPI highlights when it’s necessary to take actions)

The reasons to set OKR goals for software engineers

If you are launching a startup, developing and setting OKR in the process of software development will boost the productivity of your company. Below, you will find the reasons that make OKR a must for every startup.

  1. Focusing

OKR allows you to focus on a limited range of goals and reach significant success in those areas. It is recommended to set not more than five strategic goals and five core results for each of them. The reason is you can focus only on a few aspects, otherwise, there will be no results.

  1. Straightening

The best okr examples show that OKR quickly aligns everything, boosting efficiency and productivity and reducing the expenses of the company at the same time. This can be reached through synchronizing goals on the individual, team, and organizational levels.

  1. Duties

Using OKR to reach corporate goals is impossible without commitment. A quality-oriented goal can be set only in combination with an efficiency-oriented goal. You should choose what to commit to and what not to commit to yourself.

  1. Monitoring

After setting OKR, make sure your statistics are documented in the monitoring system. You can set every stage on a unique platform and then compare your progress with those stages. It will help you decide whether the project is in danger, doesn’t stick to a plan, or goes as it was planned.

When evaluating your OKR, watch everyone to stick to a scheduled plan every week. Do not forget to gather your development team to estimate and discuss all data after OKR is completed.

  1. Stretching

Stretch goals are frequent for companies. They are usually beyond the achievable things. Such goals allow you to attract the smartest people and create a very interesting working culture. Stretch goals ensure successful investments when set properly. Such a goal setting is very beneficial.

An example of software development OKRs

Using engineering OKRs when developing an app or software is a great way to focus and align the priorities with the rest of your business. Setting OKR for your team of developers can involve endless innovations with their restrictions to ensure the creativity of your team can bring realistic results step-by-step.

For instance:

  • Boosting the product stability
  • Reducing unplanned downtime
  • Boosting reliability of equipment and infrastructure

Setting this or other OKRs is just a small part of a big task. The second part is to make sure your employees complete them.

An example of usability OKRs

The evaluation of the current user experience of your website or app requires using specific tools and usability OKRs. UX OKR can make the user experience better and provide a lot of data about users’ preferences. Here is an example of OKR usability for software developers:

  • Testing and monitoring new web pages
  • Designing for ensuring smooth operation
  • Increasing the download speed and performance
  • Boosting the scores of product usability

Types of OKRs

  • Data security
  • Usability
  • App development
  • Engineering
  • Quality assurance

The connection between the team and OKRs

Team OKRs depict methods your team will use and the results it should achieve. This will help your company reach its long-term goals. Every person has a tough working schedule and there are always very important tasks to complete. However, if you include something in your OKR, it must be your priority.

OKR is something that grants your employees the feeling of duty and goal. At the same time, they should reject everything that is beyond the OKR frameworks. You should set your OKR as if it is the only activity to focus on at the moment. This approach will ensure a very fruitful OKR strategy and help your company reach its goals.

Your team should be highly motivated. When you work on the conceptual design for a few months in a row and realize something should be changed, you must be sure to create a revolutionary service or functionality. This will show the value of your idea. Otherwise, potential investors will not work with you.

The bottom line

Such companies as LinkedIn, Google, and Intel inspired hundreds of other companies to accept and use the OKR system. All of them reached unbelievable success. However, not every company can launch and implement OKR. Not every team understands the role of team OKRs. This results in multiple failures. OKRs will be effective only when the OKR team reflect and complete your corporate vision. Let’s not forget though that every member of the team requires his own OKRs to produce the necessary results.

Francis Nwokike

Francis Nwokike is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Total Entrepreneurs. A Social Entrepreneur and experienced Disaster Manager. He loves researching and discussing business trends and providing startups with valuable insights into running a profitable business. He created TTE to share ideas and tips to help entrepreneurs run and grow their businesses.

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