OKR and Scrum- How to Work Together

Published On: September 1, 2020|Categories: Objective and Key Results|

OKR and Scrum- How to Work Together

Published On: September 1, 2020|
Blending OKR and Scrum

What is scrum?

Scrum framework work with people to address complex problems. They help people to be productive and creative while delivering the products.
Scrum is considered to be a simple framework that brings teams together. Much like a game where we work together and analyze the wins and misses. Created by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland and they have written The Scrum Guide that explains Scrum clearly.
This framework is mostly used by the software teams and the same principles can be used for other teams as well. Their agility makes them popular.
Scrum requires roles and responsibilities to follow.

  • Product Owner: This person acts in the customer’s interest and has the authority over the final product.
  • Backlog: List of tasks and activities pending in delivering the product.
  • Scrum Master: This person facilitates meetings, interactions and thrives to increase productivity. Often project managers are the scrum masters.
  • Sprint: A sprint is a time frame for completing each task. Sprints are mostly bi-weekly or a maximum of four weeks.
  • Retrospectives: Retros are review meetings where the team discusses the progress and plan the next sprint.

Benefits of Scrum

There are plenty of reasons and benefits to adopting Scrum.

  1. Revenue :
    Introducing new features can be done in short sprints and this enables to make the feature available much earlier than planned. This benefits the revenue.
  2. Transparency :
    Product Owners and stakeholders are completely transparent in the entire product development. This ensures that the expectations are set right on both sides.
  3. Quality:
    As the testing is continuous there is a constant adherence to quality. This provides early visibility on quality issues.
  4. Agility:
    In product development traditionally business owners share the specification of the product with the budget with the defined timeline, this approach fails. Generally in an agile project development environment, this change is constant and accepts unfixed issues continuously this gives room for 100% clarity saves time
  5. Speed
    Agile product management supports early delivery buy regular releases.

Differences between OKRs and Scrum?

The Objectives and Key Results framework and Scrum differ in a few ways.

  1. Core purpose: Scrum is used in software Development mostly other projects. however, Objectives and Key Results capture the aspirational goals of an organization.
  2. Simplicity: OKRs are industry agnostic and can work with small to larger teams. Scrums can have multiple sprints but OKRs are limited to 5 to 7 objectives
  3. Time-specific: While both OKRs and Scrum are time-bound metrics, OKRs are typically set quarterly or half-yearly, whereas Scrum can have a much shorter timeline.

Similarities between OKRs and Scrum?

Blending OKR and Scrum

OKR and SCRUM create synergy and complement each other.

Both OKR’s and Scrum believe in reviews that can be combined together to get meaningful business insights.

OKR software helps in visualizing the business view of the projects, which gives both tasks and results to arrive at a business interpretation.
Biweekly SCRUM reviews help in updating OKRs and the product backlog feeds in the data required for the Key results. Based on the OKR priority, the data from the product backlog can be synced into the Objectives. Sprints fit and provide data for Quarterly OKRs
This collaboration of these two systems helps business transparency which most organizations thrive on. This in turn gives a lot more focus and clarity for the SCRUM team to understand their “Why” and an alignment to the organizational goal

While both OKRs and SCRUM are time-bound and metric-driven. Both the framework is straightforward and measures execution and has similar goals. Adaptability becomes easier and it answers teams “Why” across the organization. The conjunction of these two systems will deliver great results and the teams are clear on their goals and this combined system deliver the organizational goal.

How to work together

  • OKRs define the overall picture and the scrum monitors day-to-day tasks that help you get closer to the goals. Using OKRs to complete Scrum helps us decide
  • what is our priority and focus on what is required for the business.
  • While OKR and Scrum are combined in a practical way it gives us a clear picture of the goal progress.
  • A Quick check on OKR Implementation in the Scrum environment
  • Do not add more complexity to the scrum team by adding one more parallel system.
  • Avoid redundant data collection
  • Tasks that are not related to Scrum
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