SPACE listed down common OKR mistakes you must avoid
September 30, 2021
Objectives and Key Results is a robust approach. You may focus your team on shared objectives and motivate them to move beyond the limits of your team. But some companies are misusing this and have no benefits of OKRs. In this article, we will discuss how the most popular OKR mistakes can be avoided.
Common OKR mistakes
OKR Mistake #1: Insufficient KRs for committed Os
OKRs are divided into the desired result (the objective) and measurable steps necessary to reach the outcomes (the key results). KRs must be written to generate a 1.0 score for the target for scoring 1.0 for all key results.
A standard error is to write key results that are required but not enough to complete the objective collectively. The bug is tempting as it allows a team to avoid problems in delivering key ‘hard’ results (resource/priority/risk commitments).
This trap is particularly damaging since it delays both the discovery of the resource requirements for the objective and the discovery that the objective is not fulfilled in time.
OKR Mistake #2: Low-Value Objectives (aka the “Who cares?” OKR)
OKRs must promise obvious value for the business; else resources should not be used. Low-Value Objectives (LVOs) are ones for which nobody will notice or care, although the objective is completed with a 1.0.
OKR Mistake #3: Sandbagging
Engaged OKRs in a team should consume most of the resources available, but not all. They should genuinely consume more than their available resources in committed and aspiring OKRs. (It’s commitments, otherwise.)
Teams that can meet all their OKRs without needing the entire Head/Capital of their team… will either pick up resources or not push their teams or both. This is an indication for top management to allocate headcount and other resources to groups that use them efficiently.
OKR Mistake #4: Timid aspirational OKRs
Aspirational OKRs start pretty commonly in the current state to ask, “What can we do if we had more employees and have some luck?” Another alternate and better way is to start by saying: “If we were freed from most constraints, what could my (or my customers’) world look like in few years? By definition, when the OKR is first formulated, you won’t know how to achieve this status—so it is an aspiring OKR. But you can guarantee that you will not achieve this without understanding and articulating the desired end state.
OKR Mistake #5: Business-as-usual OKRs
OKRs are often written based on what the team believes can be achieved without changing anything they do now rather than what will boost their growth and impact.
OKR Mistake #6: Failing to differentiate between committed and aspirational OKRs
They were marking a committed OKR when the chance of failure grows with the aspirational one. Teams must take it seriously and cannot change their other objectives in the implementation of the OKR.
Marking an aspiration OKR as committed, on the other hand, creates defensiveness in teams that cannot find any way of delivering the OKR and invites priority inversion as committed OKRs are deprived of staff to focus on the aspiration OKR.
Objectives and Key Results can bring your team into line and include all employees in focusing on what matters. Avoid these mistakes and achieve successful results with OKRs for your business.
Check out our OKR tool, intospace.io, to set custom objective cycles and manage OKRs more efficiently.