One of the challenges I had when first joining Microsoft was that the plans for the division always felt very high level and vague. As a new individual contributor (IC) I am expected to create clarity from these plans (along with manager and extended team) while delivering meaningful changes at speed and with coherence. It really struck me how difficult it can be to define success when the measurements are so far removed from the people executing the work.
So many things in our team feels like an experiment, that sounds negative but it is a really good thing. This year we are trying to apply OKR management strategy for goal setting.
The acronym OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results, the purpose of OKRs are to connect company, divisions, and team to measurable results allowing all team members and leaders to work together in one, consistent direction.
OKR structure is relatively simple, you begin by creating 3-5 key Objectives on company, division and team levels. Objectives should be aspirational, qualitative, and executable by the team.
Under each Objective we define 3-5 measurable results. Key results should be quantifiable, achievable, lead to objective grading and be fairly difficult, but not impossible, to achieve . OKR results can be based on growth, performance, or engagement. Often they are numerical, but they can also show if something is complete or unfinished.
As an IC I found this process to be really helpful in bringing me personal clarity, I get to know exactly how my objectives integrate into the group and division goals.