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How does your team set goals? (And how good are you about sticking to them? 😉)

Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Dec 09, 2020

We're getting ready to ring in a new year 🎉  And with that comes... new goals! 

To keep everyone motivated and challenged, Atlassian teams set Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). After defining our team objectives, we determine a key result for each (being sure to make them ambitious!). We then develop a plan to measure our performance along the way. To help facilitate this goal-setting Play, we take advantage of these handy dandy templates in Confluence and Trello

We're interested in hearing and learning from you: which goal-setting framework does your team use? If you haven't already, are you thinking about giving OKRs a try? Or maybe you’ve got them down and you have some helpful tips to share with the rest of us? Either way, we’d love to hear from you!


Hi @Kristen Roth ,

First of all the team's focus has to be on a common outcome. Then the real collaboration and teamwork take place, it was the time to show the team the destination of the work/project to be done. The most effective way that I think to achieve the desired outcome is to establish common goals that every team member can work toward. It will make the workflow for the team simple, well maintained, and lots of fun!

Commented before reading the question you asked at the bottom of the article!

Well, OKRs is a really great challenge, I'll recommend everyone to participate in the challenge!

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Dec 10, 2020

Absolutely, @Soumyadeep Mandal! Common goals for all team members to work toward is key to great collaboration.

OKRs are a great challenge! Do you set them with your team or do you use another type of goal setting framework? 

Jack Community Leader Dec 15, 2020

We have moved from MBOs to OKRs about two years back. To be honest we didn't do a great job in the first year w/ distinguishing between the two. We have done better this year and have also done better with regular checkins. We still aren't where I would like us to be and I am always looking for how others implement successfully.

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Dec 16, 2020

Glad to hear your team is making progress, @Jack! Can you help us understand more about where you're hoping to be? Do you mean in terms of working toward your goals, specifically, or are you hoping to improve upon the processes your team has in place? 

We started with OKRs two years ago at our company. But just now starting for the very first time to really align those with the bigger picture of the organisation as a whole.

In my view it's really important to have that north star view of where the organisation is headed, so at least you can have a proper guidance and direction for your own department, team or squad objectives.

I also think transparency on the process and the actual goals is really important. While not everyone has the same personal commitment and engagement to come up with great ideas for new goals, there's always a risk of people dropping out when they can't relate to the goals that have been set in obscure meeting rooms with just a happy few around the table. 

Finally, it's also challenging to keep those OKR's a living thing. The theory and the models to make it work are all there, but there is still a tendency in many companies to do the goal setting once a year, together with the yearly budget exercise. During the year, quite a bit of structure and cadence is required to review and adjust with the same level of engagement than at the start of the year.

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Dec 28, 2020

Great points about aligning team goals with the organization's and the importance of transparency, @Walter Buggenhout _ACA IT_

It can definitely be a challenge to keep OKRs a living thing. Our team uses a variation of this Confluence template to help us stay on track. We set our yearly OKRs on one "master page", and have similar child pages for each quarter where our OKRs are then scored quarterly to give everyone on the team an idea of how on (or off!) track they are. Also, one of our weekly meetings each quarter has dedicated time for everyone to give a run down of their OKR updates.

Our team (Atlassian team) is probably most inovative team in our company, so we started with OKRs in our Team in Q2/2020. We are still not satisfied with it, but it's getting better. The biggest problem for us is still a good definition of objectives and key results. It is often too specific or too general. It is not so easy as it looks on the paper :). I think we can compare it with Agile methodology. It is quire easy to learn methodology (Scrum, Kanban.... or OKR) but it is not so easy when using in team :). We will definitelly focus on it in 2021.

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Dec 29, 2020

Totally agree. It's definitely not as easy as it looks on paper ;) This article might be another good resource for you and your team as you start to ramp up more in 2021, @Martin Bayer _MoroSystems_ s_r_o__ !

carrie_eandm Community Leader Dec 30, 2020

My company is very deadline-driven. We task out new projects and features via a calendar and utilize Trello to track the nitty-gritty details to accomplish those projects/features. 2020 has certainly challenged us as a company overall and I think we've really grown the most in the last couple of months. 

As a new mom coming back to work - I now hold a different perspective on things and I am already seeing how broken our previous system was. Yes, we did meet goals and yes, we did gain clients/revenue - but there were some things that were fully missed that could have enhanced our performance overall. 

I know that OKRs won't work for our entire team as we have too many departments to keep aligned, but I am looking into using them in my direct department starting this year. I'm excited to see how this works for me and definitely will be reading #allthethings in order to best set my teams' OKRs up to win!

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Dec 30, 2020

Fresh perspectives are so important! 

That's awesome, @carrie_eandm. I hope OKRs help your department become even more successful this coming year. And maybe... after your great success... you'll be asked to help your entire team determine theirs :) 

Here are a couple more resources you might be interested in checking out before you dive in:

Best of luck to you, Carrie! And please do let us know how it goes! 

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In our company we do last 3-4 years OKRs stuff in the HR system, will it be interesting to see the solution on Jira with needful permissions :) 

Hope we can kill yet another service :)

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