When it comes to the contribution to an organization’s success, teams like design often happen to have an indirect link to the same. They do not have a straightforward relationship to the company’s goals as functions like sales and service do. So, how do you review their performance and figure out if it is helping the organization succeed? You may be motivated to scrap this reviewing step altogether for your design team as it can be quite frustrating. But wait, before you do that, let’s look at one method that you can adopt for your team’s performance measurement.
The OKRs and how it is used as a part of performance measurement?
OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) were initially solely used for the purpose of creating alignment and pushing boundaries. The idea was to help people set ambitious targets and measure them vigorously. Putting the whole onus on the employees to do this defeated the whole purpose behind it as the employees started thinking more defensively. Gradually, it started being used to measure team performance and it worked wonders. Let’s understand why companies are crazy about this method.
OKRs consist of two things:
- Objectives: These are the aspects a team wants to achieve. They are usually short, engaging, and inspirational. For example, improve social media marketing campaigns by the end of Q4 2021.
- Key results: Are you moving towards the set objective? That’s what key results measure and keep a track of. Every objective has 3-5 quantitative goals that are measurable and have a time limit which are called key results. For the earlier example, they might be running 3 campaigns, securing two influencer marketing endorsements, improving engagement rate by 300%, and so on.
Why do companies like Intel, Google, Facebook, and many others swear by OKRs as a brilliant performance measurement tool? Let’s take a look.
- Helps team alignment: All team members know their unified goal and thus they work on the activities that actually matter.
- Gives autonomy: It helps give teams autonomy as they are secure in the knowledge that they are contributing to overall goals.
- Improves engagement: Everyone knows how their everyday work is linked to the overall goals and thus they feel motivated and engaged.
Now that we know OKRs are useful and how they can be a great measurement tool, let’s see how they can be tweaked to review your design team’s performance.
How can OKRs be used for reviewing your design team’s performance?
As OKRs are often top-down and linked with the overall business and organizational objectives, it becomes difficult to link them to the design team. To make it more relevant for your design team, we can add another layer to this method which is OAKRs (Objectives-Activities-Key Results). What activities does the team need to do in order to achieve those key results? Let’s take an example to understand it better.
Let’s say the objective your design team has is tied around to the organizational one – to acquire more design clients and help in retention. What activities can your team do to support this? Let’s list them out.
- Conduct user research and design testing and create and deliver high-quality designs in a timely manner.
- Work with clients and business stakeholders closely to ensure that the designs help achieve business outcomes
- Create a standardized process that can help reduce costs and push launches faster.
- Schedule time for client feedback and changes even after the design is finalized and launched.
If you closely look at the above activities, you can see that they not only depict your team’s way of working but every activity is somehow tied around with the overall objective. Just stopping at this stage isn’t enough. You need to draw key results from these activities to ensure proper measurement of success is carried out. While a key result may tie around to multiple activities, for this example, let’s look at key results that tie around to each of these activities:
- Stick to 100% rate of usability testing unless there’s an exception and make sure to deliver designs on time with a 95% overall success rate of timely completion.
- Have at least three meetings with business stakeholders during the project life cycle to ensure proper outcomes are being met.
- Have at least four new reusable design components that can be used for your next projects.
- Keep at least three open sessions after design finalization with clients to ensure satisfaction and feedback changes.
With your key results in place, you are now all set to review your design team’s performance the right way.
These OKRs may change depending on your team and your requirements and it may take time to understand how they work best for you but once implemented, they can give a clear direction to your team and help assess them in the correct manner.