Retrospectives to Improve your OKRs

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Improving your OKRs with the OKR Retrospective

Retrospectives are a technique commonly using in Agile development to foster continuous improvement. They are a great tool, and I recommend that you use them to improve your OKR practice.

The goal of the OKR Retrospective is to focus each team on creating a list of concrete actions for improvement based on the last OKR cycle.

Each team should do a retrospective before setting their OKRs. If your company has good Agile coaches, ask one of them to facilitate the retrospective.

There are different techniques for running retrospectives. The simplest one is the stop-start-continue technique. It should take between 30 to 60 minutes:

1) Divide the team into groups.

2) Ideation (10-25 minutes):

Each group should brainstorm to identify specific things that the team should:

  • Start doing
  • Stop doing
  • Continue doing

Write each idea on a sticky note. Remote or distributed teams may use collaboration software such as Confluence.

The primary focus should be the OKR practice. While opportunities for improvement in other areas may emerge, center the discussions around OKR.

3) Grouping (10 minutes)

Teams will probably list related or identical topics. The participants should group those items into themes, merging similar ideas.

4) Discussion & Prioritization  (10-25 minutes)

Attendants should discuss the identified issues and prioritize the action items for the next OKR cycle.

5) Sharing

Every team should run a retrospective. As a result, if you have several teams using OKR, you should identify common patterns. Share a list of the major lessons learned with all the teams.