The Ultimate Coda Handbook for Engineering Teams

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4. Planning and OKRs

Define your planning output, optimize the process, and integrate to drive execution.
Great execution requires even better planning. Unfortunately, planning is by far the most common source of complaints I hear when speaking to companies. And the list of reasons is extensive: too long spent on the planning process, tools adding more work instead of making things simpler, defined plans not actually impacting day-to-day execution, and so on.
Having run dozens of engineering teams and helped guide hundreds more, I’ve learned many things about what can make planning efficient and effective. Broadly, I think addressing three key parts of your planning can have a dramatic impact on quality and speed:

Define the planning output.

Choosing different planning outputs—like quarterly or annual objective and key results, big rocks, or a resource matrices—and planning schemas–tracking things like dependencies and shared projects change the way you think about and practically approach your planning.

Optimize the process.

Beyond the structure of planning itself, the actual process can be a large source of pain and wasted time. Automating and systematizing your planning schedule and steps can save time and improve the quality of your plans.

Integrate to drive execution.

Often, plans don’t become the reality, and sometimes, this happens without you even realizing. A key step that many teams fail to implement is connecting their defined plans into their daily execution so that progress can be tracked against goals. This helps your teams see when they are getting off track or taking on work outside of their agreed upon scope of work.
If you’ve made it this far in the handbook, it might not surprise you that planning is one of Coda’s most common and popular use cases. Many of our customers, particularly those who use Coda for other parts of running their engineering teams, eventually end up using Coda for planning. Given how broad and important planning is, I’ve dedicated an entirely separate handbook just to the subject of planning and OKRs in Coda.
In the , I address the fundamental problems teams commonly face in their planning processes, as well as practical solutions and examples of how you can run an effective planning process in Coda. I cover why a flexible tool like Coda is perfect to support the multitudinous, team-specific planning processes. And, because quarterly OKR planning is the most common planning method among our customers, I also explain in detail how to set up Coda for your OKR process and how to customize that process to your needs.

Engineering-specific planning needs.

The is written with all functions in mind, not just engineering, but there are a few engineering-specific patterns I think are worth calling out before you dive deeper:

Integrate natively with common engineering execution environments.

If your teams already have good habits of breaking down their OKRs into Jira tasks and then updating those tasks regularly, you can update OKR scores automatically based on progress in Jira using the in Coda. This will save the team manual effort of updating OKRs as you work through the quarter.
And if you use Linear, GitLab, Clickup, or something else, chances are we have a Pack to connect to that as well.

Automatically remind your team to make progress updates through the quarter.

My own engineering team prefers getting updates and reminders in Slack rather than through a doc or separate tool, so I have integrated OKR reminders (e.g. about updating a KR) into our OKRs doc using the Slack Pack.
And again, if you use Teams, prefer email, or communicate another way, we likely have a Pack that will work for you.

Ready to read the planning handbook?

We’ve only just scratched the surface, so when you’re ready, take a look at the full handbook!

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