Working together to determine our OKRs each quarter forces us to have all the healthy conversations in order to align and determine our focus for the quarter. Throughout the quarter, having OKRs lets us easily ask if anything new that comes up is more important than the focus to which we already agreed.
Planning takes about 2 hours of each person’s time over the course of 3 weeks. Whoever facilitates the process will spend 5–10 hours more doing extra tasks to alleviate the time burden for everyone else.
Here is how we do it:
8 weeks before quarter end, we select who will facilitate the planning process to determine our OKRs for next quarter.
6 weeks before quarter end, the facilitator sends a survey to conduct an asynchronous brainstorm, having everyone answer the following questions:
- From your perspective, knowing what you know, what do you believe is the most important thing for Sourcegraph to do/to focus on/to solve (however you want to frame it) as a company next quarter? This question doesn’t inform our team OKRs, but could inform the company OKRs.
- From your perspective, knowing what you know, what do you believe is the most important thing for us as a support team to do/to focus on/to solve (however you want to frame it) as a company next quarter? This question informs our team OKRs.
- What (if anything) currently frustrates you in the way that we work/the systems that we use? This question informs our team OKRs.
- Is there anything happening across the team that only 1 person knows how to do (aka, do you worry about something getting done/getting done correctly if you or someone else take a week off)? This question informs our team OKRs.
- Any other thoughts to share that you think could be helpful to either our team planning, for the company level planning, or the planning of another team?
5 weeks before the end of quarter, the facilitator synthesizes the brainstorm results into a proposal.
4 weeks before the end of the quarter, CS leadership vets drafts with prod/eng leadership team.
3 weeks before the end of the quarter, the facilitator incorporates feedback.
2 weeks before quarter end, the facilitator asks CS leadership to facilitate a deep dive during the weekly planning/retro that week to vet the proposal. The facilitator incorporates any revisions and sends the team another survey to conduct an asynchronous brainstorm to determine what tasks/projects everyone believes we should do in order to achieve our OKRs.
1 week before quarter end, the facilitator finalizes the project list and creates a quick Slack poll for folks to emoji react to in order to opt into workgroups to complete each task/project. Also by the end of this week, the facilitator ensures the following is done:
- Work groups are finalized
- Facilitators for each are selected
- Key result tracker is ready to go
- Plan for the quarter is published in the handbook
1st week of new quarter, retro the previous quarter to incorporate lessons learned into current and/or future quarters.