Carsten Ley, PMP – CCXP

Carsten Ley, PMP – CCXP

# Founder OKR Asia PMO Carsten Ley Talks About OKR mindset & implementation

“The OKR Hack with Carsten Ley” provides a blueprint on how to get started with OKRs in the organization. He goes behind the scenes with IT products and project management and marketing teams, what it takes to implement a new goal-setting OKR framework which is more on the side of management and implementation method.

Carsten Ley Background

Carsten is an Agile and Project Management Professional and an OKR Consultant. He is the founder of Asia PMO and sub-company OKR Asia which focuses on 3 months OKR cycle in the companies to make the outcomes work for real not just an ordinary agile adoption but in fact with 6 months planning period to cope with volatile times. He leads successful programs and projects for Citibank, Deloitte, Rolls-Royce, and so on. He is also an E-commerce Specialist and was recognized as the 2020 Global Customer Experience (CX) Thought Leader.

Currently, the number of successful OKR implementations speaks louder enough. Last year they nearly implemented 40-50 OKRs with Unicorn startups in E-commerce & Fintech, Production & Supply Chain, Pharmaceutical, Media, and IT companies.

Below are some highlights of the interview series “Talk with experts” featuring Carsten Ley. Listen to “The OKR Hacks” below or go on reading on to know the interview highlights.

So based on our experiences as OKR software Datalligence, we came across multiple questions from our audience and we believe in feeding the brains with the right set of information and understanding & who better than an expert can spill beans? Right.

Post-COVID, we all look at things with 3D glasses 🤓— observing a little more and implementing things 100x faster. So today, let’s get down the lane and understand how OKRs can be implemented to change the way we look at things.

#How do you identify that there is a need for OKRs for an organization?

We always recommend to our clients “If you want to start with OKRs, I would suggest you start small” and try to build a success case with e.g. a project or an agile department like the product or IT if you are on a test run off course… The reason behind this is that OKRs are more suitable for changes & innovation than operations and are ideal to align cross-functional initiatives…….
If you really want to test OKR, do it on a level— go for company level or specific team level or directly with one of the specific products may be with IT or marketing team…or any project-based team. If you are starting with a difficult team that is not agile and not working cross-functionally, which tends to be very silos. You’ll not get your success case and people might say
“ OKRs don’t work” (that’s so silly !)

Choose the team to test OKR which has these functionalities :

– A team that is very adaptive to cross-functional work.
– A team that has an exponential education workforce and promotes inclusive work
– A self-organized team who can speak aptly. ( We cannot agree more with this one😃)

Note: Start any time of the year, it’s more about giving yourself a little push for starting OKRs.

Ideally, it’s January or the start of the fiscal year. But there is no waiting period to get started for OKR.
(We so much nod with this, OKR should start on Day 1, it is not like waiting for ONE day!)

# OKR and Agile, how to make a perfect match?

In OKRs, Objectives are more inspirational, while Key Results need to be metric-based and measurable. Project deliverables, KPIs, epics, and user stories can be inputs to Key Results. Asking why we have the objective normally leads to external outcome-related Key Results (e.g. why do we implement a system? To support our staff or customer! To sell more! To work more efficiently (all measurable).
Whatever you do, you can measure in key results eg: the increments. the project goal, user stories, or the epics you do are inputs for key results. (basically measurable key results)

In OKR we measure two things:
1. What do you do? ( that you finished something that could be agile work in a waterfall way, or normal in an operational way)
2. We also measure what outcomes you wanna achieve with your work?
For example, You want to launch a project and launch a platform. project on a certain date can be a key result.
But the question is always, Why do you launch a project? 🙄
Always ask Why? to achieve a significant outcome of the key result….
Measure the impacts correctly, don’t be boring!
OKRs help to work it out altogether and always gives the answer to your questions.

# Who should be the best fit for an OKR champion?

OKR Champions are a similar role to Scrum Masters as facilitators across the organization. As part of the OKR implementation, we train internal OKR Champions to facilitate a further roll-out to more teams, projects, or countries. An ideal fit for OKR Champions could be Scrum Master or Project Coordinators, which are already used to facilitate cross-functional meetings and outputs
As an OKR champion “You don’t tell them what to do, you just ask them the right question”
OKR champions are the new ambassadors for the cross-functional team…

So, what does an OKR Fan (Carsten added this word to our dictionary ☺️) be like?

– Worked for more than a year with the internal team of the organization.
– Cross-functional experience with some soft skills.

#What kind of Insights should OKR outcomes give?

OKRs indicate how well the organization and teams perform against the set Objectives and Key Results and further shows how well we can estimate our results 3 – 6 months ahead. If you reach 50 to 60 %, it does not mean automatically low performance but also a not accurate estimation or changes in the market or environment.
OKR planning and performance are getting better over time with more experience in the OKR process. OKRs should facilitate that discuss why or why not we achieved certain outcomes and supports us to track regularly the progress to correct our project and actions.

Closing thoughts:

Try to keep OKRs low profile, don’t make it cumbersome for the team whenever they talk about OKR, it should be a habit not baggage for your team Just like that, OKR is one of the atomic habits, and adopting a good habit, generally takes time— but doesn’t stop you from practising. Ain’t it?