An Objective tells you where to go, a Key Result tells you if you’re getting there. Together they form your desired outcome. Achieving that outcome requires effort, it requires you to start doing something. The things that you’ll be doing to achieve your OKR, we call Initiatives. You can record them in Perdoo against an Objective.
That way, you have a full overview of where you want to go, how you’ll know you’re getting there, and what you’re doing in order to get there.
Initiatives are almost always hypotheses: you’re not entirely sure that completing the Initiatives will push progress on the Key Results. If you are progressing on your Initiatives but you see that progress on the Key Results is lacking, it may be that your hypothesis was incorrect and you have to change your Initiatives.
When it comes to frameworks like Agile and Getting-Things-Done, the aim of these frameworks is to help you realize your Initiatives in an efficient manner. This is, for instance, why you often read that OKR and Agile work together very well.
Why are Initiatives important?
Objectives, Key Results, and Initiatives are all different types of goals. Most people and most organizations don’t differentiate between them. If you, for instance, want to Accelerate your revenue growth, for instance, you’ll probably set yourself additional goals like Generate $1M in revenue, Attend 10 conferences and Have 50 sales calls per week.
Treating these all equally is risky: you won’t have a good understanding of what really matters and if you’re getting to where you want to be. Imagine for instance if progress looked like this: would look like this:
Would that make you happy? If you answered yes, then accelerating revenue growth probably wasn’t the thing that really mattered to you.
Structuring these goals as an OKR with Initiatives would gives you more clarity and much better direction to the team that will have to be working on it.
Can I use OKR without Initiatives?
Yes, but you shouldn’t. If you leave out the Initiatives, you won’t be able to see what work is being done in order to realize the OKR.
If you don’t understand what you’re doing to achieve your OKR you won’t be able to answer why your Key Results have moved. This increases your learning curve and reduces the chance that you will actually be able to accomplish your Objective.
Creating Initiatives is also a good thought exercise to go through to ensure all the work that everyone will put in will actually have a good chance of pushing progress on the OKR.
Do I need to add my Initiatives in Perdoo?
Sometimes, you will work with productivity tools (e.g. project management and task management software) to work on your Initiatives. Even then it is important to set up a high-level overview of the Initiatives in Perdoo. What’s important is being able to see the relationship between your Initiatives and OKRs. That relationship is not only important while you are working on the OKR, it is also important historically.
When you, or fellow team members, are browsing through OKRs, it’s not only important for them to see what Objectives you’ve been working on and how far you progressed on those, what is also key is that they can see what you have done in order to achieve those results. This is critical information that shouldn’t get lost.
From your Initiatives in Perdoo, you can easily link to the corresponding projects or cards in tools like Asana and Trello:
Working with Initiatives in Perdoo
To be able to add Initiatives to an OKR, you must be a member of the team that owns the Objective.
You can add Initiatives directly from your Team Page:
Or from the new Sidepanel (click on the Objective first):
Initiatives in Team meetings
Initiatives can play an important role in weekly or bi-weekly team meetings. In these meetings, it makes sense to review both the progress on Initiatives as well as on OKRs. For more info on how to run your team meetings using OKR and Perdoo, check out this blog post.
Even though Initiatives can only be created in Perdoo by users that are a member of the team that owns the Objective, you can always assign Initiatives to someone who is not a member of that team. This allows for cross-functional collaboration.
Cross-functional collaboration happens when a team needs another team or individual to do something for them in order for them to accomplish their Objective. This cross-functional collaboration almost never happens on the OKR-level, it happens on the Initiative-level.
When do I create my Initiatives?
You should only add Initiatives after you have finalized the OKR. Only when you have a good understanding of where you want to go and how to measure you’re getting there. Only then will you be able to create good Initiatives that will move you in the right direction.