- Nicolas Kheirallah
What should one plan about when using Viva goals and OKRs?
Microsoft Viva Goals is a goal-alignment solution that connects teams to your organization’s strategic priorities, unites them around your mission and purpose, and drives business results. To do this, Microsoft Viva Goals applies the power of the objectives and key results (OKR) framework. OKRs are a simple way to set and measure goals by defining what you want to achieve (objectives) and how you will get there (key results).
Viva Goals enables individuals and companies to organize and track their goals through OKRs. Viva Goals immerses everyone in the company’s purpose and top priorities and creates a culture of engaged employees focused on achieving common goals. But how do you get started with Viva Goals and OKRs? Here are some things you should think about before you dive into this powerful tool.
Planning your OKRs
Planning your OKRs is a crucial step in setting yourself up for success. Here are some things to keep in mind when planning your OKRs using Viva Goals:
- Align your OKRs with your organization's strategic priorities: One of the main benefits of using OKRs is that they help you align your goals with the bigger picture of your organization's vision and mission. To do this effectively, you need to understand what are the top priorities of your organization for each time period (e.g., quarter or year) and how they relate to your role and team. You can use Viva Goals to view the organizational hierarchy of OKRs and see how your objectives contribute to the higher-level ones. You can also use Viva Goals to align your objectives with multiple teams or owners if they share a common goal.
- Define SMART objectives: Your objectives should be Specific (clearly defined), Measurable (quantifiable), Achievable (realistic), Relevant (meaningful), and Time-bound (deadline-oriented). A good objective should answer the questions:
- What do you want to achieve?
- Why does it matter?
- How will you measure success?
- When will you complete it?
You can use Viva Goals to create objectives using natural language or templates .
Choose meaningful key results: Your key results should be indicators of progress or outcomes that show how well you have achieved your objective. They should be measurable (using numbers or percentages), challenging (but not impossible), attainable (within your control), relevant (linked to your objective), and time-bound (with clear deadlines). A good key result should answer the question: How will I know if I have achieved my objective? You can use Viva Goals to create key results using natural language or templates . You can also use Viva Goals to define contribution weights for each key result if they have different levels of importance.
Set realistic expectations: When planning your OKRs using Viva Goals, it is important to set realistic expectations for yourself and others. Remember that OKRs are meant to be ambitious but achievable; they should stretch you beyond your comfort zone but not demoralize you. A good rule of thumb is that you should aim for achieving 70% of your key results; anything above that is exceptional performance. You can use Viva Goals to adjust the difficulty level of each objective according to its expected completion rate .
Define your team
Before you can create OKRs, you need to define your team. A team is a group of people who work together towards a common goal. Teams can be based on organizational structure, projects, initiatives, or any other criteria that make sense for your business.
You can create and edit teams in Viva Goals using the Teams tab. You can also invite or remove users from your teams as needed. You can assign roles and permissions to different users depending on their level of involvement in the OKR process.
Determine your rollout plan
Another thing you should think about when starting with Viva Goals and OKRs is how you will roll out this solution to your organization. You need to consider who will be involved in creating, managing, tracking, reviewing, and scoring OKRs. You also need to decide how often you will update your OKRs and how you will communicate them across the organization.
You can use different time periods for your OKRs depending on your business cycle. For example, you can have quarterly, yearly, or custom time periods for your OKRs. You can also configure your OKR model to suit your needs by choosing between different progress modes (manual or automatic), alignment modes (top-down or bottom-up), scoring methods (percentage or letter grade), etc.
Create SMART objectives
Once you have defined your team and determined your rollout plan, you can start creating SMART objectives for your team. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. These criteria help you create clear and meaningful objectives that align with your organization’s vision and strategy.
You can create objectives in Viva Goals using the Objectives tab. You can also align them with other objectives from different teams or levels of the organization using the Alignment tab. This helps you ensure that everyone is working towards the same direction.
Define key results
After creating SMART objectives for your team, you need to define key results for each objective. Key results are measurable indicators that show whether you are making progress towards achieving your objective or not. They should be quantifiable, realistic, challenging but attainable.
You can add key results to each objective in Viva Goals using the Key Results tab. You can also link them with other key results from different teams or levels of the organization using the Alignment tab. This helps you track dependencies and synergies between different initiatives.
Why Track Your Progress in Viva Goals and OKRs?
Tracking your progress in Viva Goals and OKRs has many benefits for you, your team, and your organization. Here are some of them:
- It helps you stay on track. By tracking your progress regularly, you can see if you are moving closer to or further away from your goals. This way, you can identify any gaps or challenges early on and take corrective actions if needed.
- It helps you celebrate wins. By tracking your progress regularly, you can also see how much you have accomplished so far. This can boost your motivation, confidence, and satisfaction with your work.
- It helps you communicate effectively. By tracking your progress regularly, you can share updates with your stakeholders easily. This can increase transparency, accountability, and collaboration across teams and levels.
- It helps you learn and improve. By tracking your progress regularly, you can reflect on what worked well and what didn't. This can help you learn from your successes and failures, adapt to changing circumstances, and improve over time.
How to Track Your Progress in Viva Goals and OKRs?
Viva Goals makes it easy for you to track your progress in OKRs by providing various features and integrations that bring OKRs directly into the employee experience. Here are some of them:
- Check-in OKRs: You can check-in on your OKRs at any time by updating their status (on track/needs attention/at risk), adding comments or attachments (such as documents or links), or changing their values (such as percentage or number). You can also view the history of all check-ins for each OKR.
- Track Progress on OKRs: You can track the overall progress of each objective by viewing its score (a weighted average of its key results) or its contribution (how much it contributes to its parent objective). You can also view the individual progress of each key result by viewing its value or status.
- Review Dashboard: You can review all of your team's objectives on a dashboard that shows their scores, statuses, owners, alignment levels (how they align with other objectives), check-in frequency (how often they are updated), due dates (when they should be completed), etc.
- Projects: You can link projects from Microsoft Project Online or Azure DevOps Services to key results in Viva Goals. This way, you can see how projects contribute to key results' values automatically without manual updates.
- Integrations: You can integrate Viva Goals with other tools such as:
- Microsoft Teams,
- Power BI,
- Yammer to bring OKRs into your daily workflow and collaborate with others easily.
The last thing you should think about when starting with Viva Goals and OKRs is how you will check-in regularly with your team members on their progress towards their goals. Checking-in is an essential part of the OKR process as it helps you monitor performance, identify issues, celebrate successes, provide feedback, and adjust plans as needed.
You can check-in with your team members on their key results in Viva Goals using the Check-ins tab. You can also use review dashboards to get an overview of how well each objective is doing across different teams or levels of the organization using the Review tab .