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How to make OKRs the focal point of your team meetings.
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Background
I’ve spent 4 years in product management roles working for large multinational corporations, and for startups. The strongest product organizations that I had the pleasure of being a part of always kept the objectives and key results (OKRs) that they were working towards top of mind. Providing frequent qualitative updates on OKRs, providing views of metrics related to OKRs, and related next steps were all best practices that kept key stakeholders in the loop and unblocked individual contributors.

While I worked in product orgs that were deliberate about frequently talking about OKRs, I always found something lacking in regards to how talking about them was codified. It was difficult to provide a coherent current view of OKRs and it was near impossible to see past statuses of OKRs - and most importantly our tools and documents didn’t facilitate this conversation.

So... I created this doc as an effort to codify what it might look like for a product team to codify

Problems this doc solves
It is easy to let OKRs be out of sight out of mind
Too often teams will only talk about their OKRs a handful of times - primarily during the planning and retrospective phases of an execution cycle. I’ve been a part of teams that put a ton of effort into planning their OKRs only to revisit them sparingly, and ultimately have an “oh sh*t” moment with about 2 weeks left in the quarter then we’re going to have to speak to our progress.

In my opinions this happens because many teams allow OKRs to be out of sight, and therefore out of mind. OKRs exist in a silo, and it is not natural to revisit that silo aside from major planning events.

Incorporating OKR updates into regular 1:1 meetings can be challenging without a tool like Coda to templatize and automate the process. Consistently referencing OKRs regular cadence meetings will ensure adequate attention is being given to them.

It’s difficult to synchronize OKRs from their primary tracking and a weekly view of them
For teams that do manage to keep OKRs front of mind throughout an execution phase, updating progress can be a cumbersome process. Most tools are not able to pull OKRs out of their home and reference/update them in another doc or place. Jumping around between tools often just leads to OKR statuses becoming out of sync and therefore providing inaccurate statuses to key stakeholders.

This doc removes that friction by enabling OKRs to be updated from regular cadence meetings - in this case a 1:1, but it equally be applied to any other team meeting.

How to use this doc
First and foremost, you need to have an existing doc where OKRs or objectives are being tracked. That will feed into this doc, and serve as the single source of truth for OKR status. As an example for what that doc might look like -
being referenced by this one.
Add pages to the doc for each of your employees. This template only shows a page for an employee named Ben, so you’ll need to add one for each employee.
As you add a page for each employee make sure that the tables have unique names, and that they are set to be filtered by their owner from the drop-down (
BS
Ben Schottenstein
) on that page.
Setup cross-doc so that you are pulling in the data from your own OKR doc. You can then add whatever custom columns you desire to the cross-doc tables for information that you only need in your 1:1 doc - stuff like status,
, or current action items are likely things that only need to live in the 1:1 view of your OKRs.
Follow the instructions on
for how to engage with the different tables there. What this tool will allow you to do is create a weekly snapshot of OKR progress and keep an archive of weekly meeting notes for stuff separate from OKRs.
Have the various employees on the team add their updates ahead of time and they can notify you when they’ve done so.
Run your meetings! Make sure to archive your OKR statuses you go, and update the OKR progress so that you can have artifacts of your OKR progress - and create a cool visual of OKR progress over time!
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