The Goal of Reviews
The purpose of the review is to determine the level of achievement at the end of an OKR cycle. The evaluation should be consistent with standards agreed upon by the team or organization. In addition, teams can improve their understanding of the success drivers of their objectives and adjust their prioritization. Finally, reviews can help set a baseline for the next cycle by determining which goals need further attention.
Retro vs. Review: To be effective, it is important to clearly separate the formats ‘Retrospective’ and ‘Review’. While Retrospectives are a process reflection tool, Reviews evaluate goal achievement. Retrospectives help teams to “sharpen the saw” and enhance processes for the future based on what has been learned in the past. Reviews on the other hand should be used to discuss what has been accomplished and if the goals have been met.
The OKR Review factsheet
- All members of the team
- The team's OKR coach
- If they are involved in the goal achievement It may make sense to include a A responsible person from the leadership team
- Frequency and duration
- Conducted near the end of the OKR cycle and before goal setting
- Duration will vary depending on the team's composition and experience, but should take about should take about 45 min - 1.30h
- The organization-wide review
- Reviews should be conducted at two levels: the organizational level and the team level.
- In the organizational review, management assesses performance against the organizational goals of this cycle
- In the team reviews, each team assesses the achievement of its OKR sets for the previous cycle. the previous cycle
If the team is very new to OKRs or feels they need more guidance, you may also want to consider mid-quarter review of OKRs (mid-term OKR review).
The review should provide your team and leadership with a clear view of the team's achievement of its goals. It is important that your teams analyze why they did or did not achieve certain goals, as they will need to learn from this for the future. This should serve as a baseline for the next cycle so that you can continuously improve your performance. The review should also leave you with a refined prioritization of your goals. If you need to carry goals forward into the next cycle, you should rephrase them based on your learnings.
- Analyze each OKR and potential reason for (non)achievement
- Be sure to create an agenda in advance that will guide you through the review. This can be done by your OKR Coach.
- The OKR Coach or your team leader should communicate the review in advance so that everyone has time to prepare.
Celebrating successes will build motivation and team spirit for the next cycle. To ensure transparency to all members of the organization, publicly grade the organization's OKRs and explain the grade.
No matter how you grade your goals, the most important outcome is a sense of collective accomplishment and a shared understanding of which goals to continue working on (document why).
The Review - Agenda
Each review should have a clear agenda. During the review, you should celebrate successes in achieving your goals, discuss why you did not achieve certain OKRs, what you could have done better, and what goals you will (not) pursue.
1. Welcome and set the stage (5 min)
Welcome everyone to the review meeting and establish the rules of engagement:
- Keep a positive attitude and share the things you think will help the team improve its performance in the future.
- Don't make it personal, don't take it personally.
- Listen with an open mind and remember that everyone's experiences and opinions are valid (even if you don't share them).
- The period we are talking about is the most recent cycle.
- Unlike the Retrospective, we will be discussing only the learning, progress, and achievement of the goals, not the OKR process.
2. What are success stories? (10 min)
Begin the session on a positive note. Go through your goals in Workpath and select the key results (perhaps entire OKRs) and initiatives that you were successful in achieving. Briefly discuss what you learned from them and what you might do differently today. Collect the lessons learned in the appropriate goal space in Workpath.
- What goals did we achieve and why?
- What did we learn?
- What does this success mean for the future?
3. What goals and priorities have changed? (10 min)
Discuss why you did not meet certain OKRs and what you could have done better. Also discuss the hypotheses and perspectives you had when you set the goals one cycle earlier.
Document the learning in the appropriate goal space on the Workpath.
- What are the goals (objectives) and key results that you did not achieve, but do not want to continue to pursue? Why?
- What has changed and what have you learned?
4. What are goals to take into the next cycle? (20 min)
Discuss which objectives and key results you did not fully achieve but need or want to continue to pursue because you were on a good track and they still reflect your priorities. Iterate on the goals and rephrase them based on the lessons learned to ensure they are achievable in the next cycle.
- What goals should we take into the new cycle and why?
- What will we change now to achieve them?
- How do the issues you are taking into the next cycle relate to your overall priorities?
5. Next Steps (15 min)
Review the list of learnings and summarize the topics you want to carry forward into the next cycle. Assign owners to these topics to ensure that nothing gets lost in the next goal-setting phase. You may want to open new goal spaces in Workpath to save these priorities for the next design session.