The next generation of OKR – OKR 2.0

We at Howwe Technologies love OKR. It’s a methodology that have grown to become highly popular as organizations crave a supportive method for figuring out how to stay aligned and competitive through the disruptions associated with today’s fast-paced business climate. Join us as we dig into the core of OKR while comparing it to Howwe.

Johan Grönstedt

The magic with Howwe is found in the combination of our user-friendly software and proven method. Howwe enables a natural culture of commitment for everyone, not only the high-achievers. We call it the Howwe way of working. Some call it OKR’s for the people,

Johan Grönstedt, Chief Product Officer at Howwe Technologies

Objective & Key Results

What are OKRs?

OKR is an acronym for Objectives and Key Results. OKR is a goal-setting framework for defining and tracking objectives and their outcomes, with the purpose of aligning goals and ensuring everyone is working together on the right goals. It’s both a way to structure goals and a goal management methodology where it’s often up to the adopting organization to chose their approach. Many turn to OKR softwares and other use more traditional means of implementing the method.

What are OKRs not?

OKRs should not include all of your organization’s work or track business-as-usual activities. A WorkOS is typically used for this. Duplicating what already excists as tasks or procedures isn’t focusing on what matters.

The 3 Keys

The 3 key differences between OKRs and Howwe

Most organizations act in a whirlwind of activities, to-do’s, and priorities. Both OKRs and the Three Disciplines of Acceleration used in Howwe (also called the Howwe Way of Working) encourage the user to rethink their way of working, for the better. Both methods share the same goal: to help managers and employees cut through this whirlwind and focus on achieving goals. Both frameworks and their disciplines help managers and teams set expectations and goals and, foremost, execute strategy. Both help achieve clarity of intent, focus, alignment, and engagement. Both are relatively easy to master and result in improved execution. The similarities and benefits are many.

We have helped hundreds of companies to implement the strategy and we know that it takes time and efforts from the whole organization. In theory, both OKRs and Howwe Howwe aim to support the execution of the strategy, actually making sure the set goals are met. But in practice, these three keys are proven to achieve the success set in the strategy using the easy and user-friendly framework in Howwe, backed by its business support.

Key 1

The Acceleration Meeting

Acceleration meetings is where transparent follow-up and commitments are in focus, ultimately affecting the long-term accountability and spurs relentlessness in execution. On a weekly cadence, they follow a short, but strict, agenda where the team reflects on the result of their Key Activity and discusses future actions in pursuit of the Most Important Goal. It boosts engagement around the goals as well as the team spirit. It helps to keep employees on track with their strategic tasks, rather than getting stuck in the operational whirl-wind. It gives the team a chance to assess their achievements, celebrate progress, and together commit to future activities driving progress on the goals. It also gives managers the chance to correct misalignments of various sorts, before things become a real problem.

Key 2

The Acceleration of Goals

All Howwe customers have a proven acceleration and measurable financial improvement. Starting with a business case, the proven and measurable increase runs like a red thread on a daily, weekly and annual basis. The combined method and software in Howwe create actionable and measurable goals (and financial results) on all levels of the organization. Some claim OKR lacks connection to measurable financial results, putting the focus on the present rather than the future. We set goals, but what actually happens? What difference have you actually achieved? In Howwe, there’s never a doubt. Visualizing the team’s achievements and progress towards the goals increases self-confidence on both an individual and team level. It is also proven to have a major positive impact on eNPS.

Key 3

A top-down approach

Howwe is an enterprise execution with a top-down approach. This is also why our customers achieve unparalleled results. It starts with the CEO who priorotized a few, carefully selected goals (that’s right, not everything, a few, normally two, priorotized goals) that are cascaded throughout every team in the entire organization. This means that when the goals are reached, the core business problems are usually solved. By getting these goals actionable throughout the whole organization, the work is accelerated and the time to result much faster. Additionally, onboarding is quick and fully automated, drastically shortening the time to result. It’s also a bottom-up tool, unlocking great power of acceleration through quick alignment, high involvement in the company’s overarching goals, increased commitment & confidence by the visualization of individual contributions to the company’s goal.

Is Howwe OKR 2.0?

Yes, according to Gartner’s defition of Howwe that’s correct.

They describe Howwe as a new generation of OKR software due to its supplementary set of features and automated intelligence.

Howwe differs from other OKR applications as it also offers individual guidance, insights and alerts based on automated intelligence on how to reach set goals. Howwe also includes business support in setting goals and activities, something many struggle with. You may argue that there is an overload of free OKR examples available already, and to an extent you’re right. The big difference with the Howwe Library is that all goals and activities have been through a rigorous quality control and proved successful by 10 000+ teams in Howwe. 

Howwe helps not only to solve business problems, but also to accelerate business and measure the acceleration implemented on an activity level where one of the key benefits is a commitment process that supports high quality check-ins. With a set way of working it encourages increased focus to combat goal inflation.

Howwe also supports the execution of strategic initiatives that can be organized and tracked by Sprint Labels. 

Compared to most other OKR software that have a bottom-up approach, Howwe starts from the top and has direct contact with CEOs – who are the ones who need the product to accelerate growth on an enterprise level.

Every organization is different- choosing the right software for you!

We have looked at what OKR is and compared it to Howwe and the Howwe Way of Working. We’ve concluded that there are many similarities and we know that choosing isn’t always easy. That’s we gathered our 5 cents on the most suitable solution based on your organizations maturity, ambitions and needs.

A method for the average organization and employee

OKRs is a method that has proven itself successful among high achievers for generations. It offers high-achieving individuals and teams space to define their own priorities and goals where the teams keep each other accountable for the goals they set. These types of organizations and teams usually find OKRs effective, fun, and engaging. But to be honest, not every company has the high-achieving personalities needed to fully succeed with OKRs, the high-achievers associated with Google and the like, that are outspoken supporters of OKRs. 

With OKRs, you measure your desired outcomes. But only measuring them does not mean you will achieve them. That’s why the Key Activities in Howwe are proving themselves highly efficient as they, week in and week out, guide the employees to fulfill their most prioritized activities. With OKRs, there tend to be many objectives and key results to steer and measures on (between 9-25) which becomes challenging for most teams, even the high-achieving ones. Objectives and key results often tend to end up being just goals and goals, resulting in a lack of a ”how”. Without a commitment process, less motivated employees might not fully commit. It’s only if the method evokes long-term behavior change that the results will remain high over time. 

When implemented right, OKRs can be very efficient. Some seem to fail when it comes to making the objectives and key results clear enough. If it’s not clear, it won’t happen. In Howwe, clarity is key. Howwe is built to encourage all users to formulate a clear and measurable activity, clearly guiding every employee in the same direction – towards the most important goal. And maybe most importantly, you do this together, as a team. We sometimes see OKRs used as a method to track individual performances. In this case, the OKRs are very individual and output-focused, and not specifically dedicated to getting teams and organizations aligned. 

In Howwe, the CEO’s most important goals are the starting point, and when set, drizzled down in the organization on a team basis where every individual is responsible for taking on commitments of activities that they are capable to perform. It encourages individuals to improve the team’s contribution towards the Most Important Goals.

A method for the experienced OKR user

Have you adopted OKR and, after a couple of months or years, felt a need to further develop your organization’s goal management with a slightly escalated approach? The Three Disciplines of Acceleration used in Howwe offer a proactive way of working and that bridge the gaps caused by a cluttered focus and lack in measurability and progress assessment some experience with OKRs. With Howwe, we combine a proven methodology and software. That way, all the captured data is easily aggregated, offering data-driven insights into both past and future. The number of goals is narrowed down and focus is put on lead measures driving results and outcome. The structured follow-ups visualize progress and create accountability and commitment. It also offers managers the opportunity to make adjustments as needed. Howwe and its Three Disciplines of Acceleration may offer slightly less freedom for high achievers, but it enables every team to be successful. 

For any organization who is serious about reaching its goals, we argue that software support is a must. Howwe enables organizations to measure and visualize future forecasts, based on provable financial results.

History of OKR 1954 – TODAY

Peter drucker 4 3 The next generation of OKR – OKR 2.0

A short history of OKR

The history of OKR is around seventy years old. In 1954, Peter Drucker invented the management model ‘Management by Objectives’ (MBO). In 1968 Andrew Grove co-founded Intel Corporation and at the same time furthered developed MBO into the OKR framework as we know it today.
John Doerr joined Intel in 1974 and learned OKR during his time there. In 1999 he introduced OKR to the founders of Google and they were swift to implement the method in the company and making it a part of their DNA. In 2013, Rick Klau covers the value of setting objectives and key results in a Google venture startup lab and the method really takes off. Since then, more and more companies like Adobe, Facebook, and Slack have started working with the OKR model. Today, thousands of companies worldwide have adopted the framework.

What are you waiting for?

Howwe is a market-leading software for accelerated strategy execution

With Howwe companies are able to align their strategy and workforce and identify what needs to be prioritized to reach their Most Important Goals.