Le Podcast

All about OKRs with Bart

In this episode of Le Podcast, I had the pleasure to discuss Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) with Bart den Haak. Bart is a Software Engineer who fell in love with OKRs at a startup more than 10 years ago. He continues to use OKRs since then and he is now advising companies on how to use them.

In a previous episode, I shared an approach to creating great goals using OKRs and Impact Mapping. Get ready to learn more!

In this episode, we covered:

  • What are OKRs?
  • What are the main differences with other goals approaches (balanced scorecard, Hoshin Kanri, MBOs, 4DX…)?
  • Who can use OKRs? (organizations, teams, or individuals?)
  • Where to start?
  • What are the critical aspects of pushing you out of your comfort zone in your learning zone while avoiding the danger zone?
  • What are the common pitfalls?

Bart’s approach resonates really well with me, you will easily make the connection if you read Changing Your Team From The Inside, or my next book I am a Software Engineer and I am in Charge: The book that helps increase your impact and satisfaction at work.

Speaking about books, Bart is currently working on a book, I will keep you updated on that!

More about Bart:


OKRs! OK What?

OKRs! OK, What? Joseph Contreras, Scrum Master at Fidelity, proposed this Open Space session on the third day of Agile Games 2019.

Joseph invited the participants to contribute to a short presentation of what Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) are.

In a nutshell, Objectives are where we want to go, and Key Results tell us when we get there. Key Results are aspirational and not reaching 100% is not a problem.

I really liked the first example he used, and the invitation he made to the participant to challenge the formulation.

The example was:

  • Objective: I want to be healthy
    • Key Result: I eat less sugar

We challenged the Objective by pushing to have it stated the destination. Something like: I am healthy.

We challenged the Key Result by saying that eating less sugar is an activity. Yes, it is a healthy one because as human beings we store the excess sugar as fat. So maybe the Key Results should be a measure of the proportion of fat in our body.

Joseph then shared is own personal OKRs, and invited us the same way to challenge them. He told us that the previous version of his OKRs where really bad, and that we can expect to fail the first time, and improve the next one. I think it gave freedom to people in the room to challenge that second version.

The result was a great social learning experience. It was the perfect way to have all the participants think about measuring the impact of activities, and not the activities themselves.

The participants were able to build upon what the others just said and proposed better objectives and better key results in just a few minutes.

Does this inspire you to invite your peers to challenge your OKRs?



More about OKRs in the Chapter 12 of Changing Your Team From The Inside!


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