Quarterly Planning that Doesn't Suck

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Quarterly Planning that Doesn't Suck

Brex's simple + transparent OKR process
Quarterly planning has been painful at every place I’ve worked... and I’ve experienced many different processes during my time at Square, Remind, Coinbase and now Brex. It’s also been further complexified with remote work, making coordination and alignment more challenging (and significantly more important!).
So, back in May, we set out to create a new planning process at Brex for our Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). The resulting outcome significantly exceeded our expectations. Overall, Q3’20 was the most efficient and transparent planning I’ve experienced, and it was also our most productive quarter ever: we shipped big new features like Instant Payouts and Spend Policies, overhauled onboarding to allow any business to sign up for Brex, and improved Cash NPS by >50%.
This document is one output from that Q3 planning overhaul. We built this template to solve two problems:

Problem 1: Transparency

In most companies, there’s little transparency across teams. At Coinbase and Square, we solved this shortcoming by adding more meetings for all PMs, EMs and/or GMs to spend time discussing priorities and “aligning”. Depending on the size of the company, this process can range from annoying to excruciatingly painful.

Problem 2: Priority alignment

Once quarterly planning has started, it’s very challenging to see how priorities align across teams and company-level Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). For instance, previously at Brex, we had a company-level OKR doc, a spreadsheet with all team-level Key Results (KRs), and 20+ additional docs with team OKRs. To add to the confusion, each department also had a separate sheet for their specific roll ups.
It was nearly impossible to see how the team-level KRs and priorities within each doc align with each other and roll up to company-level needs. If priorities changed on one team, it was similarly challenging to cascade that information across orgs.

Solution: Brex’s Quarterly planning doc

This document enabled 25+ different teams to work together asynchronously. And as mentioned above, the resulting quarter was one of our best yet!
We’d like to share a template version of our Q3’20 doc. Hopefully this help you and your teams in Q4 and beyond 🚀
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