Objectives Key Results (OKR)Planning
Very high goals with key results that help us reach the expectations without ever reaching them (otherwise they were too simple)
The concept of Objective Key Results (OKR)
Objective Key Results (OKR) have been created from the co-founder and CEO of Intel Andrew S. Grove’s management system [Doerr 2019]. Google has tweaked this system to make it more agile compatible in terms of mindset and nowadays, this system is applied by Microsoft, Adobe, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter [Gonçalves 2020] [Moustier 2020].
An OKR has two parts [Doerr 2019]:
- The Objective: what is to be achieved. It must be meaningful, based on observables and inspiring. It must be an ambitious goal. Reaching 100% means it was too easy and may not lead to continued effort. Goals must also be shareable across the organization to avoid creating performance silos. They should cover areas such as leadership, people well-being, strategy, partnership, processes, products and services. They should be balanced like the balanced-scorecard system. Including people's well-being reduces risks related to thermostat [Friedman 2003] and Hawthorne [Levitt 2009] effects and pushes Managers to act as Landscape Gardeners
- the Key Results: they are evidence of the objective achievement and show progression toward the objective and eventually how close we are. They must be SMART and binary (done or not done)
OKR’s are declinable across the organization from the top to the bottom. They help to align actions with a strategy and adapt actions to the context as per the subsidiarity principle and help to decentralize decision making. OKR’s must be sparingly created to prevent the effort from dissipating in the organization. The right mindset for this is More with less!
Impact on the testing maturity
Because of the nature of testing, the OKR practice is really interesting for raising the bar with testing in a Kaizen mindset.
OKR bears multiple dimensions that are useful in testing activities:
- leadership: it requires some leadership to move people towards a testing strategy, especially with deliberate (i.e. top down) strategies which requires applying the subsidiarity principle
- people well-being: a simple Niko-Niko calendar could be institutionalized to check how people feel regarding testing improvements so that the organization can sustain improvements, eventually with some Error Budget management to balance production matters with internal constraints
- strategy: monitoring how well an deliberate is followed and monitor emerging strategies to see how people adhere and innovate towards the vision from the field (see Gemba) with a systemic view
- partnership: collaboration with suppliers and the organization's focus on the customer, whether internal or external, must be improved, monitored, organized around value and ultimately synchronized for flow issues, including through PanTesting
- processes: continuous progress towards perfection, sharing with Yokoten
- products and services: Product ideation in group and designing a better system by taking care of NFR to test, Improvement of the First Pass Yield (FPY) by Preventing bugs in a Shift Left state of mind
Agilitest’s standpoint on this practice
As an automation tool, Agilitest is impacted by the practice named “Automate everything you can” with a specific focus on test scripts. Naturally, automating everything is an endless task since it takes some time to script and automate things; moreover, once things are automated, the Lean approach named Jidoka [Monden 2011][Moustier 2019-1][Moustier 2020] should be applied to scripts in order to consolidate the pipeline.
This endless effort is an ideal objective for applying OKR’s.
To discover the whole set of practices, click here.
To go further
- [Doerr 2019] : John Doerr - APR 2019 - “Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock The World with OKRs” - isbn:9781949061932
- [Friedman 2003] : Milton Friedman - « The Fed’s Thermostat » - Wall Street Journal - 19/AOU/2003 - http://digitalcollections.hoover.org/objects/56952
- [Gonçalves 2020] : Luis Gonçalves - « Which companies use OKR? Take A Look At These Successful Companies » - 15/MAI/2020 - https://www.organisationalmastery.com/whichcompanies-use-okr/
- [Levitt 2009] : Steven D. Levitt & John A. List - « Was there Really a Hawthorne Effect at the Hawthorne Plant? An Analysis of the Original Illumination Experiments » - NBER Working Paper No. 15016 - MAI/2009 - http://www.nber.org/papers/w15016
- [Moustier 2019-1] : Christophe Moustier – JUN 2019 – « Le test en mode agile » - ISBN 978-2-409-01943-2
- [Moustier 2020] : Christophe Moustier – OCT 2020 – « Conduite de tests agiles pour SAFe et LeSS » - ISBN : 978-2-409-02727-7