Last Thursday, I enjoyed participating as a spectator in OKR Community Meetup in Helsinki at the glorious Futurice office.
Initially, I had signed up for the event because of the pizza and drinks, but I stayed because of the valuable talks.
The event consisted of two talks:
- Futurice OKR and data talk by Eeva Raita and Jack Richardson
- OKR journey in Helsingin Sanomat digital products by Valtteri Vartiainen
Both talks had a good underlying theme about challenges faced and the messiness of reality when implementing strategic management with OKRs in organisations.
How much and how to implement transparency in the processes - both in defining objectives and key results and in following up on the progress during the OKR cycle?
Should the process be top-down, bottom-up or something in between?
Our mileage may vary, but it seems that everyone will stumble upon these similar questions and feel the challenges. OKRs after all, are not a unique medicine to all the management problems and can’t be just applied to the organisation’s surface for it to work.
And here comes the value of the OKR Community Finland, having a community of peers and collaborators who openly share their thoughts, ideas and experiences in good and bad.
Specifically, these two talks spoke to me in volumes.
Having previously worked in consulting companies and seen the challenges in directing energy and efforts, including adopting OKRs as a method, I felt a familiarity with the Futurice journey. At the same time, I was impressed with the approach and ideas that they had adopted. Including a fearless attitude to building measurements, even from natural language processing, to see how certain objectives are presented in proposals sent to customers.
Valtteri’s presentation and comments warmed my heart as I have worked for a long time in the digital media industry and seen the transformation in the field. I was impressed by the openness and description of the journey and the challenges the organisation has faced when adopting OKRs.
It was funny to see the interaction with the audience as Valtteri described the evolution of how progress is measured and at what level things are communicated. It is always either too much detail or too vague/high level. Organisational learning happens in steps, and based on comments and reactions in the audience, people have had very similar experiences.
Unfortunately, I was in a hurry and was not able to stay for networking, and I did not have time to thank the presenters for their great work in sharing their thoughts as well as in providing the space for people to see that they are not alone.
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