How To Set Team Goals That Work – A Project Managers Guide To OKRsReading Time: 4 minutes
Are you a engineering manager leading teams in a software product company or a startup. Are you trying to figure out how to set team goals that really work ? Then read on .. Here are some well tested techniques successful managers apply to ensure they get exceptional results from their teams.
Have you heard of the well known OKR method of goal setting. Widely used by companies like google the method is attributed to Andy Grover , the father of OKR who applied it with great success at Intel during his tenure.
There are so many people working so hard and achieving so little.—Andy Grove
What is OKR?
John quotes in his book –An effective goal management system—an OKR system—links goals to a team’s broader mission. It respects targets and deadlines while adapting to circumstances. It promotes feedback and celebrates wins, large and small. Most important, it expands our limits. It moves us to strive for what might seem beyond our reach
How to Set Team Goals
As a project or engineering manager your team focus is on the delivery of a high quality end product that meets all customer needs. Through the OKR goal setting process you can enable your teams to focus on the end result. Some of the objectives the manager will focus on
- Product delivery with high quality
- Improve team performance
- Continuous team’s skill development
In his book John talks about the 4 main focus areas for a manager to make the goal setting successful. These are
- Focus and Commit to Priorities – As a manager be ruthless in committing to the priorities. If you aspire to build a high performing exceptional team it is important to focus on what is important and weed out the unnecessary.
- Align and Connect for Teamwork – Ensure goals are aligned with larger organizational goals and connect each contributor to these goals. This will bring a sense of meaning and achievement in the team. Communicate goals with transparency
- Track for Accountability – Your success in reaching the goals is driven by data. Ensure periodic evaluations, metrics measurement and continuous reassessment. Course correct the goals immediately when you see a problem
- Stretch for Amazing – Engage your teams to push the limits. Motivate them to go beyond and delight the customers. Create a safe environment where failure is accepted.
Product Delivery OKRs
Some examples of OKRs for this area are below. How can we deliver a high quality product that meets the customer needs? how can we exceed the expectations?
Objective 1: Deliver a high quality product
- Reduce user acceptance defects to x%
- Reduce defect density per epic/story by x%
- Improve test efficiency by x%
- Reduce API response by x%
- Improve website response by x%
- Reduce errors by x%
Improve team performance OKRs
How to do more with the given resources. How can we speed up things ? These are questions are managers are confronted with and organization expect on a constant basis. Some example OKRs are
Objective 3 : Improve development team productivity
- Increase the sprint velocity from 150 to 200
- Reduce defects per feature to 1
- Reduce requirement gaps by x%
Objective 4 : Improve test team productivity
- Improve test automation to from 80% to 90%
- Improve test coverage by x%
- Improve deployment automation to 80%
Objective 5 : Improve the overall process
- Ensure 100% code reviews
- Allocate x% hours for clearing tech backlog
- Reduce requirement gaps by x%
- 100% compliance on requirement sign offs
Continuous team’s skill development
How can you improve the domain expertise in the team? how can team be on a continuous learning path on technology? These are some of the questions a manager should ask and set goals to achieve them
Objective 6 : Continuous learning goal at all levels
- 4 monthly sessions on Know Your Product
- Leads to have 2 monthly sessions on technology
- Submit 3 papers at the organizational tech forum
Objective 7 : Focus on career progression at all levels
- 2 monthly 1-1 with the team
- Mentor 2 senior leads to grow into architect role
- Set personal goals for all seniors on technology certification
Now you understand how to set objectives. These should be well framed and few . Too many can dilute the progress. Periodically review and make corrections as needed. This is a proven framework we found at Global Management Mentors that delvers consistent results. If you are a new manager make sure you find a good mentor.
- Must read – Measure What Matters by John Doer
- Take a great course on OKRs that we recommend from Udemy here
- Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any advice