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The Art of OKRs & QBRs
OKRs, OKRs, OKRs… I might not know much about much, but OKRs is one thing I can claim to be an expert in.
I ran them for Google – well all the non-Eng parts of Google – for nearly a decade. And I think we learnt a thing or two about how to make them work (and how not to).
I am not talking about how to define a “SMART” goal (boring, everyone knows that). I am referring to the tricky stuff few people know about and nobody blogs about. Like how OKRs work in a matrix, or across regions, or integrates with a product roadmap or quota goals, should you cascade them, what about biz as usual stuff that needs doing, etc... Yeah, the hard but critical stuff.
Today almost every growth business uses OKRs, great. But today almost all businesses miss these subtle tricks to make them effective. This means they end up overly stale and bureaucratic. Often not linked to the bigger picture strategy on one side, and ignored by the rapidly growing front line teams at the other.
All while some Chief-of-Staff is running around trying to track things doing the best they can. And don’t get me started on how folks waste hours and $$ integrating them with systems like Monday.com or specialist OKR tools. Those tools have a place for managing things, but you just don’t need that to make OKRs effective.
Then there are QBRs. QB what? Is that just a typo. Nope. QBRs are related to OKRs but even less well understood and adopted. Think of them like OKRs cousin, but with a worse personal PR department.
Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs) is a vital part of an integrated OKR process. It’s the deep dive that makes the ‘review’ part of ‘plan-do-review’ stick in the details. Focused on non-product/eng functions mainly (those are best handled differently due to the faster agile cycles and other factors), the QBR is a process that all businesses should have working in a systematic manner. This is especially true as they scale and become more portfolio like in nature.
‘OKRs’ and ‘QBRs’ just belong together. It’s like ‘fish’ without ‘chips’, or ‘Scooby Doo’ without ‘Shaggy’. They can work alone, but aren’t best like that. So if you have OKRs you need QBRs as well to be world-class.
With the ScaleUp System we review your current OKR and QBR game, and quickly bring it up to pro-team level. If it is already there, we can work on the pieces that are going to get you that ‘OKR’ championship ring (I know it doesn’t exist, but it should for Ops/CoS types!).