27–29 September 2017, Churchill College, Cambridge

How we managed to get all our ducks in a row using OKRs

A 45 minute Case Study by:

Maria Scrivener


About this Case Study

In your organisation you are probably all aligned to the same purpose, make timely, informed decisions and never diverge away from the overarching goal. Well, where I work, that wasn’t quite the case…

This report is for anyone who is leading any number of people anywhere within an organisation. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the director, leading a division or a team - or even if you just care enough to dedicate a portion of your time to influencing the right people in your organisation.

This is an experience report from an organisation with a purpose and a strategy and lots of skilled, experienced and sensible people, yet still too frequently failing to hit targets. It’s a story about taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture, breaking the silos and lots of other well-known buzzwords.

You don’t have to know how objectives and key results (OKR) work to enjoy this session. It won’t teach how to use OKRs as such - the internet will tell you that.

Attend this session if you want to hear how important it is to speak the same language when it comes to setting objectives, how we created cascading objectives, helping teams better understand how their work contributes to the success of the company and how we made the objectives part of the day to day.

Come along and hear how we influenced management at all levels and how challenging we found introducing structure in divisions that had gotten used to ‘taking things as they come’ - and what we’d do better if we got the chance again.

You’ll also be reminded of the importance of communication and collaboration because change management and because we wish we had been reminded daily throughout the process.

You'll learn the importance of alignment, too. If you work in a team, you know how important it is that everyone in the team works towards the same goal. This scales: an individual can do a great piece of work that's worthless if it doesn't aid the team's goal - and likewise, a team can work hard to no avail if it doesn't help the division succeed.

You'll also learn how important it is to communicate your intentions in a language the recipient understands. It's all well and good to have a mission and a purpose, but if the people in your organisation don't know about it or don't give a quack because they don't understand, you might as well not spend executive salaries coming up with missions and purpose in the first place.

We learned to recognise behaviours symptomatic of misalignment, how to address it and what to observe to see that it works. It's hard getting all the ducks in a row, because people are complex, but if you have empathy, are reasonable and tenacious you can succeed.

About the Speaker

After starting her career in software development, Maria Scrivener has now taken on the challenge of agile coaching. Her aim? To make it easier for teams to do the good thing, not harder to do the bad thing. All of which takes communication, communication ... and more communication. She’s keen on lean, she hates process for the sake of process, and she loves good software practice, experiments and deep belly laughs. Oh, and she isn’t an avid tweeter at all - she prefers communicating face to face.


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