We’re approaching the end of a quarter. For companies running on OKR, that usually means wrapping up the current quarter OKRs and starting to think about the priorities for the upcoming quarter. An important part of that process is to close the OKRs of the current/past quarter.
Closing OKRs enables you to reflect, and collect and share your learnings before you move into the next quarter. If done well, this is a valuable exercise and a rewarding experience. However, in some cases, it’s better to not close your OKRs just yet.
Your lagging Key Results need more time to show results
An OKR consists of an Objective with multiple Key Results. Some Key Results contain metrics that move quickly, so-called leading indicators. These Key Results can be highly motivating to work on, as you can quickly see the results of the Initiatives that you’re working on. However, some Key Results contain metrics that are lagging. That means that it takes more time before the value of these metrics changes.
Lagging metrics are usually better indicators of success. When your OKR contains one or more Key Results with lagging metrics, you may not want to close the OKR just yet. Instead, it’s better to keep the OKR “active” so that you can continue to monitor progress and ensure the problem really is solved.
Let’s say a Sales team has a sales cycle of 60 days. This quarter it’s working on making improvements to the sales process. One of the aims of these improvements is to increase the lead-to-customer conversion rate. Throughout the quarter the Sales team has been working on several Initiatives that they hope will positively impact this lead-to-customer conversion rate. However, they will need at least another 60 days after the implementation of these improvements to see if it actually increased the conversion rate. If the Sales team would be forced to close the OKR by the end of the quarter, it wouldn’t be able to see the actual results of all their hard work.
Your Key Results need more data to ensure success
The same applies if you want to collect more data for a specific Key Result. Even if you only have leading metrics in your Key Results, you may want to base progress on a larger data set to ensure that your OKR really is successful.
This quarter, we’ve been working on an OKR to release a brand new website for Perdoo. One of the Key Results was to double the visitor-to-lead conversion rate. In the first week after the release, our visitor-to-lead conversion rate jumped to 9%. That’s great of course, but we can’t just look at one week’s data and then move on. We needed to be sure that the new website would have a long-lasting positive impact on the conversion rate. So we won’t be closing this OKR at the end of this quarter, but we’ll keep it active for another quarter so that we can continue to monitor its success.
You need a little more time to work on it
Sometimes you’re almost done with an OKR but you just need a little more time to complete one or two more Initiatives. By closing the OKR you would risk losing sight of these final Initiatives. Cloning it would be an annoying exercise since it’s only one or two Initiatives that still need to be completed. Better to just keep it active so that it continues to be front and center until all Initiatives are done.
Our Customer Success team was working on a Q4 2019 OKR to be able to predict churn. Throughout the quarter, they were creating and testing all sorts of formulas. This was all manual work. Towards the end of Q4, they finally had a proven formula that successfully predicted churn in 80% of the cases. Now the tracking had to be put in place so that they had a real-time view for all customers. They created an Initiative for this and assigned it to our BI Manager. Unfortunately, she was too busy wrapping up her own OKR for Q4. Our Customer Success team kept the OKR active until this final Initiative was completed.
How Perdoo helps with Active OKRs
In Perdoo, the Active OKRs view shows you all the OKRs that haven’t been closed yet, sorted by timeframe. This helps you to remain focused on your priorities and to close your OKRs when you’re ready. It’s a feature which supports us in our mission to build a simple and pragmatic goal management platform.