Scaling agile within your organization depends on cross-functional team collaboration. This article guides you how to set OKRs for cross-functional teams to inspire transparency, collaboration, and focus and ensure effective utilization of Quantive Results.

You should aim for the following:

  • Form entrepreneurial, proactive groups in your organizations, so that they can meet customers' expectations and deliver flawlessly on top priorities.

  • Urge development teams to work directly with customers to not just release yet another MVP, but to deliver value to the end-user.

Cross-functional teams are at the core of Agile at Scale. When setting goals for cross-functional teams, there are the following approaches:

  • Top down
    The CEO of the company sets a strategic priority for the organization.
    This approach requires teams collaborate when there is a strategic company priority set by the CEO.

  • Bottom up
    To deliver on a specific project, cross-team collaboration is involved in setting the objective.
    This approach requires individuals from different teams to collaborate towards achieving a common goal.

Example of Top-down approach

The CEO of the company has set an annual objective for the company and has assigned five key results to it, which have five different owners - Sales, Customer success, Sales enablement, Growth, and Marketing and Communications. The CEO also create five tasks, assigned to particular team members.

Objective: Skyrocket our revenues again

Assigned to: Andrea Hill, CEO

Session: Annual OKRs 2020

Tags: highest-priority, ceo, company-level-okr

Key results: The objective has the following key results, assigned to teams:

  • Achieve at least 10% month-over-month growth
    Assigned to: Sales

  • Reactivate 50% of the existing customers
    Assigned to: Customer success

  • Keep TCV of each new deal above $50K
    Assigned to: Sales enablement

  • Decrease net monthly churn to 7%
    Assigned to: Growth

  • Strategize for retention
    Assigned to: Marketing and Communications

Tasks: The objective has the following tasks, assigned to team members:

  • Come up with a retention plan for success
    Assigned to: Rebeca Wilson, Sales

  • Make a list of 50 companies to test the strategy
    Assigned to: Will Carson, Sales enablement

  • Analyze the gathered data
    Assigned to: Jill Manson, Marketing and Communications

Goals: In this example, the CEO goals are the following:

  • Set a higher-level objective
    A higher-level objective is an objective that is marked as a priority and is set in an annual session.

  • Ensure this OKRs belongs to the appropriate session
    In this case, the session is annual that indicates more strategic intent, rather than setting an OKR in a quarterly session.

  • Tag the objective with relevant tags for quick filtering options.

  • Assign specific key results to teams
    Assigning specific owners improves for accountability and clear progress tracking.

  • Assigned tasks to particular team members that are part of the teams, owning the key results.

Results: By doing all this, the CEO of the company ensured that everybody's efforts are:

  • Focused on achieving the top-level priority

  • Aligned and transparent to everybody in this cross-functioning project

  • Progress is easy to track

BEST PRACTICE: The best practice when it comes to setting OKRs, is to do this in a collaborative manner. This means that instead of cascading down OKRs, all the stakeholders should decide which of the near or midterm goals has the highest priority. As a result, priorities are determined, focus is narrowed, and resources are allocated in the most effective way.

NOTE: Another variation of this example is for the CEO to set her own OKRs and then involve the stakeholders - both teams and team members, to set their OKRs that will be directly aligned to her objective.

Example of Bottom-up approach

Because cross-team collaboration is needed to deliver on a specific project, the objective is assigned to the project owner. Together with the stakeholders, they created three key results, assigned to particular team members.

Objective: Develop a new EEG headset prototype

Assigned to: Helena Bell, Head of Product development

Session: Q3 2020

Tags: cross-team, product, prototyping, Q3-priority

Key results: The objective has the following key results, assigned to team managers and team members:

  • Increase the speed of the first production batch by at least 25%
    Assigned to: Audrey White, Head of Production

  • Find new European manufacturers to be interested to co-produce the first batch
    Assigned to: Dan Harris, Head of Growth

  • Generate interest from new industrial designer
    Assigned to: Brandon Gibson, Designer

Goals: In this example, the Head of Product development goals are:

  • Ensure that this OKRs belongs to the most appropriate person.
    In this example, the OKR is a short-term, quarterly OKRs, therefore, Helena Bell created it in the most current quarterly session in her account - Q3 2020.

  • Tag the objective accordingly

  • To promote inclusion and cross-collaboration, involved individuals from different teams.

Best practices

  • When an objective is shared, ensure all stakeholders are aware of which KRs they are responsible for and how often these will need to be updated. Where dependencies occur, note these in the description, tasks or KR updates.

  • Both individuals and teams can own specific key results that are assigned to objectives. They can also set OKRs that are aligned with a higher-level objective. Alignment is a must-have, because it is the basis of progress tracking and attainment aggregation.

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