# The Beginner’s Guide to OKR (Objectives and Key Results) for Effective Business Management
OKR (Objectives and Key Results) is a business management method that helps companies and teams focus on achieving goals. With this approach, companies can accomplish long-term, ambitious goals by breaking them down into smaller, specific, and measurable sub-goals.
## How OKR Helps Teams Overcome Challenges
Essentially, an Objective answers where we want to go, Key Results explain how we’ll know we’re getting there, and Tasks list the steps necessary to get there. With the OKR approach, companies have a plan that brings everything together.
### Two OKR Planning Tools: Objective Map and Roadmap
To help companies and teams plan and achieve their OKRs, there are two essential tools: the Objective Map and the Roadmap.
#### Objective Map
The Objective Map allows companies to build a visual hierarchy of goals and plan objectives. With this map, it’s easy to analyze possibilities, predict obstacles, and determine the necessary resources for achieving goals.
To create an Objective Map, follow these steps:
1. Identify and name your Objective.
2. Determine your Key Factors.
3. Identify and name any possible obstacles.
4. List your Tasks.
5. Assign team members to these tasks.
6. Create an Objective Map by plugging in the Key Factors and Tasks.
7. Define your success metrics and connect them to your Objective and Key Factors.
8. Review the Objective Map with your team to get buy-in and understanding.
The Objective Map is complete when it provides answers to the following questions: where are you going, how will you get there, and what steps do you need to take along the way.
Tips for Creating an Objective Map:
– Name problems first, then make plans (brainstorm any obstacles that might come up on your way to plan Objectives).
– Follow cause-and-effect logic (express the cause-and-effect connections between each element on the map).
The Roadmap is the tool companies can use to determine the timeline, sequence, and deadlines of each step of their Objective Map. This tool ensures that teams not only know what they are doing but also when and in what order they will move through each step.
To create a Roadmap, follow these steps:
1. Revisit your Objective Map and review all the Key Results you’ve included.
2. Order each Key Result and the Task activities in a logical sequence.
3. Assign due dates for each activity and step toward your Objective.
4. Revisit the Roadmap often to check-off completed steps and to prepare for the next steps.
5. Revise the Roadmap when changing circumstances require you to pivot.
A Roadmap gives teams the awareness of projects in real-time.
### Possible Challenges
Before team members start creating a plan, it’s important to review a few possible challenges that teams might face.
1. Unrealistic Views: Don’t succumb to wishful thinking by setting unrealistic goals. Keep the assessment of internal resources and capabilities, as well as any external factors, realistic.
2. Rigidity: The growth of the company depends on sustainability; sustainability depends on flexibility. Don’t follow the plan so rigidly that it becomes useless or harmful to the end goal. Always have the expectation that the plan may need to adjust to changing circumstances.
3. Lack of Motivation: People in the company are key to success. Avoid a lack of motivation by making sure each team member understands business goals and agrees with their importance. This allows everyone to feel invested in a positive outcome and to use their creativity and energy to solve any emerging issues.
By using the Objective Map and Roadmap as an OKR method, companies can eliminate common problems that teams face when planning the road to a goal. These tools allow flexibility when obstacles arise and encourage everyone to think about their own problem-solving thought process and the cause-and-effect relationships between each Key Factor.
Fostering these qualities will ensure the company and teams are always improving practices and routines used for achieving goals. This is the key to success.