We have helped many clients create OKR plans, and at this time of year, the requests multiply as our marketing strategy clients get into the nitty-gritty of planning their next quarter's activities.
We wrote up our process for creating OKR plans so you can do it independently. After the theoretical steps, there is also an example you can use to formulate your own OKR plan!
Creating an OKR (Objectives and Key Results) plan involves setting clear, measurable goals that help align and motivate your team. OKRs are typically used to set quarterly or annual goals but can be adapted for different time frames. Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating an OKR plan:
Step 1: Understand OKRs
Before creating an OKR plan, make sure you understand the two components:
Objectives are qualitative, inspirational, and actionable statements defining what you want to achieve. Objectives should be ambitious and feel somewhat uncomfortable.
Key Results are quantitative measures that indicate whether the objective has been achieved. They should be specific, time-bound, and verifiable.
Step 2: Set Your Objectives
Brainstorm: Have a brainstorming session with your team to identify the most important outcomes you want to achieve.
Align with Vision: Make sure your objectives align with the broader vision and mission of the company.
Prioritize: You can't focus on everything. Choose the 3-5 most critical objectives.
Write Objectives: Clearly articulate the objectives so they are easy to understand and inspire action.
Step 3: Define Your Key Results
Identify Indicators: Identify 3-5 key results for each objective. These should be outcomes that signify the objective has been met.
Set Benchmarks: Use historical data, industry standards, or competitive analysis to set realistic yet challenging benchmarks for each key result.
Ensure Measurability: Key results should be quantifiable. If you can’t measure it, you can’t know if you've achieved it.
Step 4: Plan for Execution
Assign Owners: Assign a person or team responsible for each objective and its corresponding key results.
Break Down Actions: Identify the actions, projects, or initiatives needed to achieve each key result.
Resource Allocation: Ensure you have the resources (time, money, personnel) to achieve your key results.
Create a Timeline: Establish deadlines and milestones for your key results and actions.
Step 5: Integrate and Communicate
Align Across Teams: Ensure that OKRs across different teams or departments are aligned and support each other.
Communicate: Share the OKRs with all stakeholders and make sure everyone understands them.
Feedback Loop: Establish a process for regular check-ins and updates on progress towards the OKRs.
Step 6: Monitor and Adapt
Track Progress: Regularly check the progress against key results.
Be Flexible: Be prepared to adjust key results and even objectives if circumstances significantly change.
Learn and Iterate: After each OKR cycle, evaluate what worked, what didn’t, and why. Use these insights to improve the next set of OKRs.
Step 7: Review and Score OKRs
Scoring OKRs: At the end of the OKR cycle, score your key results on a scale (e.g., 0.0 to 1.0) to measure success.
Celebrate and Reflect: Recognize the achievements and reflect on the misses. Celebrating successes is crucial for morale.
Archive and Document: Record past OKRs for historical reference and to track progress over time.
Tips for Successful OKRs
- Ensure objectives are ambitious enough to drive effort and innovation.
- Keep key results challenging but attainable.
- Avoid confusing key results with tasks; key results should measure outcomes, not activities.
- Review and adjust OKRs regularly, not just at the end of the cycle.
Remember, OKRs are a framework to guide your efforts and focus your team's efforts on what really matters. They are not just a box to check or a rigid set of rules. Flexibility and adaptability are key to making the most of your OKR plan.
Example Objective, Key Result, and Project Plan
Objective: Super-size the monthly inbound leads from website traffic 😳
✅ Easy to understand
✅ Inspires action
✅ Feels somewhat uncomfortable
Key Result #1: Increase website conversion rate from 5% to 10% in the next quarter 📈
✅ Indicates whether the objective has been achieved
✅ Feels somewhat uncomfortable
Initiative #1: Run A/B tests on our landing pages 🧪
Project Plan and timeline: ⌚️
Running A/B tests on landing pages is a strategic approach to improving conversion rates. A meticulous and iterative approach is required to double the conversion rate. Below is a week-by-week plan for 8 weeks, which assumes that you have two different landing page designs (A and B) ready for testing:
Week 1: Planning and Initial Setup
Day 1-2: Define Goals and Metrics
- Define what a "conversion" means for your landing pages (e.g., form submission, product purchase, sign-up).
- Determine the key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure (e.g., conversion rate, time on page, bounce rate).
Day 3: Technical Setup
- Ensure proper tracking using tools like Google Analytics, heatmaps, or other conversion tracking software.
Day 4-5: Hypothesis Formation
- Develop a hypothesis for why Variation B may outperform Variation A.
- Determine the primary element(s) you are testing (e.g., CTA button color, headline text, images, form length).
Day 6-7: Quality Assurance and Launch Prep
- Conduct quality assurance (QA) on both variations to ensure tracking works and the pages display correctly across devices.
- Prepare the A/B test in your testing tool (e.g., Optimizely, VWO).
Week 2: Test Launch and Initial Data Collection
Day 1: Launch Test
- Begin the A/B test with equal traffic distribution between Variation A and B.
Day 2-7: Monitoring
- Monitor the performance daily for any technical issues.
- Do not make any conclusions yet; early data can be misleading.
Week 3-4: Data Collection Continues
- Continue to monitor the test to ensure consistent data collection.
- Check the test's integrity (e.g., no cross-contamination of test groups).
- Look for significant trends or patterns, but avoid making early conclusions (it is so tempting... don't do it!).
Week 5: Data Review and Analysis
Day 1-3: Preliminary Analysis
- If a statistically significant sample size has been reached, begin preliminary analysis.
- Compare conversion rates and other KPIs between Variation A and Variation B.
Day 4-5: Deep Dive Analysis
- Analyze the data for segment-specific trends (e.g., device type, traffic source).
- Start formulating why one variation outperformed the other.
Day 6-7: Hypothesis Refinement
- Refine your original hypothesis based on the data.
- Plan any follow-up tests if results are inconclusive or if there's potential for further optimization.
Week 6: Iteration and Optimization
Day 1-3: Develop New Variations
- Based on your findings, create new variations for further testing (e.g., Variations C and D).
- Make iterative changes to the winning landing page.
Day 4-5: QA and Setup for Next Tests
- QA the new variations to ensure they are ready for testing.
- Set up the next round of A/B tests in your testing tool.
Day 6-7: Launch Next Tests
- Launch the new A/B tests focusing on refined elements.
Week 7: Second Testing Phase
- Monitor the new tests closely.
- Continue to collect data, ensuring no technical issues affect the test.
Week 8: Final Analysis and Implementation
Day 1-3: Data Analysis
- Once a significant sample size has been reached, analyze the data from the second test phase.
- Determine the winning variation with the highest conversion rate.
Day 4: Develop Implementation Plan
- Plan the full rollout of the winning landing page variation.
- Document insights and learnings from the testing phases.
Day 5-6: Implementation
- Begin implementing the winning landing page variation.
- Make sure all tracking remains in place to monitor the conversion rate post-implementation.
Day 7: Post-Implementation Review
- Review the performance of the new landing page.
- Ensure that all expected changes have been correctly implemented and are functioning as intended.
Remember, doubling the conversion rate is an ambitious goal and may require multiple cycles of testing and optimization. Continuous improvement should be the aim, with an understanding that it might take numerous iterations and refinements beyond the initial 8-week plan to achieve the goal of doubling the conversion rate.