Objectives Key Results (OKR)


Very high goals with key results that help us reach the expectations without ever reaching them (otherwise they were too simple)

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Objectives Key Results (OKR)

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:

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.

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Any practice can be improved in all directions, the more you engage in it, the more difficult it becomes - "the devil is in the details". OKR can help with this progressive and asymptotic improvement on any subject...

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© Christophe Moustier - 2021