OKRs Field Book Preview: 10 Universal Parameters

In our latest OKRs Coach Network discussion, several coaches reported that defining OKRs deployment parameters as the foundation of an OKRs program right from the start was a game changer for their OKRs coaching practice. This blog post reflects on the experience I had in my early days as an OKRs coach that led to the development of these so-called “OKRs deployment parameters.” Chapter 3 of The OKRs Field Book covers OKRs deployment coaching in detail. Here is a preview of that chapter.

In 2015, I flew to Paris to facilitate an OKRs training workshop. My client requested that I spend a full day with their leadership team to introduce OKRs. So, I took the project and did exactly what I was hired to do. At the time, I was still figuring out my approach. I did not know about the three phases outlined in the last blog post; in fact, I had not even invented the term “OKRs deployment coaching.”

I was not clear about how best to prepare for the workshop. My client suggested we have a couple calls prior to the workshop to align on the agenda. After these two brief calls, I packed my bags and headed to the airport.

The workshop in Paris did not go so well. Although we eventually drafted some decent OKRs, we spent most of the afternoon debating how to deploy OKRs. I was bombarded with questions like

  1. “How will these OKRs work with our current system of KPIs?”
  2. “I read that OKRs should be decoupled from performance reviews, but how is that possible given they represent our most important goals?” and
  3. “If top-level key results do not become team-level objectives like John Doerr’s football team example, how can we ensure alignment?”

I had plenty of time to reflect on that training workshop in Paris. I spent the 12-hour flight home writing in my journal, uncovering the critical questions that must be answered prior to an OKRs training workshop. I named the answers to these questions “deployment parameters.” Your client’s deployment parameters are the foundation for their OKRs program. Your client uses these parameters to communicate how they are deploying OKRs to the entire organization.

There is no one-size-fits-all, definitive list of deployment parameters; however, we recommend covering ten parameters with every client. Therefore, we refer to these parameters as “universal.” Think of these parameters as answers to the questions you need to have in place before rolling out OKRs. Aligning on the ten universal parameters with your client prior to delivering a training workshop is always time well spent.


10 Universal Deployment Parameters

  1. At what level will we set OKRs?—company, team, individual?
  2. How many OKRs will we set? How will we balance internal and external objectives?
  3. How will we score OKRs? How will we update progress?
  4. How long is an OKRs cycle?
  5. What are the three types of key results? Are milestones appropriate?
  6. Where will we draft, publish, and track OKRs?
  7. How will OKRs relate to performance reviews?
  8. How are OKRs different from KPIs?
  9. How will we ensure OKRs are aligned?
  10. How will we ensure most KRs originate from the “bottom-up”?

Get The OKRs Field Book and see Chapter 3 for an analysis of each universal parameter!


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