There are articles about creating objectives, managing objectives, use cases for Objectives, and permissions for Objectives (as an admin). This article is going to give you some examples of how you can use various Objectives settings to make your OKR experience more collaborative.
Why might objectives be collaborative?
Many company-wide and department objectives require a collective effort. Some companies want managers to own department/group objectives and assign key results to various team members. Some companies veer towards creating individual objectives and aligning those objectives to department objectives, as opposed to creating a bunch of key results. At the end of the day and regardless of how you get there, objectives at your company are likely a culmination of many people's hard work- oftentimes work contributing towards the same few objectives.
Although the use cases vary, the underlying goal with "collaborative objectives" is to accurately display the teamwork happening behind the scenes. Let's talk about the different ways to make objectives collaborative in 15Five.
The below settings are available for account admins to enable/disable. If you do not see any of the below options, the setting is likely disabled for you. Feel free to reach out to your account admin(s) for more information.
Create an objective for a group
When creating an objective, you have the option to create the objective for a person, a group, or the whole company. If you are creating an objective that will be worked on by various members of a group, choose 'a group' and find the group that applies. Although the objective still needs one specific owner, by selecting the type "group" you are specifying that the objective is a group effort. Typically, the objective owner will be the manager of the group. We also commonly see senior team members owning these department/group objectives.
When reporting on Objectives, you can filter by type>>>select any group and you will see all objectives that have been created for that group.
Align one objective with another
Aligning objectives is an essential part of the OKR methodology and collaborative objectives. If you've heard terms such as "parent" or "child" objective, you have heard about aligning objectives. In 15Five you have the option to align any objective with another objective. You can also choose whether the objective should impact the progress of the parent objective or not. Usually, individual objectives will align with department/group objectives, and department/group objectives will align with company-wide objectives. There are likely multiple child objectives per company-wide objective. When objectives are aligned, others in the company can easily see what their objectives mean for the bigger company picture, and leaders can easily see what things are being done to accomplish the company goals.
Collaborative Objectives in 15Five= enabling teams to stay aligned and work together to drive company initiatives forward.
Add tags to an objective
If you're an account admin, you can enable and create tags for Objectives. Tags are a great way to organize objectives that may or may not already be related via alignment and/or team structure. Tagging objectives creates an overarching framework, divided up by topics or "tags". Adding another layer of organization to Objectives, they are ideal for companies that want to be able to easily see who is working on OKRs that are related to specific, shared themes.
Some ideas for tags are: Company-wide initiatives or themes (Culture, People, Revenue), Priority levels (P1, P2, P3), Stretch or Aspirational, and Company-wide KPIs (Decrease churn, Performance, PLG).
Assign key results to other people
This might be the most common way to show that an objective requires a collective effort. Regardless of who owns an objective, various people can own key results.
Why is this common? Teams use assigned key results to hold each team member accountable for their contributions to the department/squad/team objective. It is easy to track each team member's progress when they each have their own key result.
Teammates use assigned key results to show that some coworkers are helping them with a project. Staying in the loop on progress is much easier when you remember who you asked to help with which task.
When you own a key result, the key result will appear on each of your 15Fives for you to update. Depending on the settings for your company and for the specific objective, you may only be able to update the key result and not the entire objective.
Allow everyone working on an objective to have editing access
For companies or teams who love transparency and equal ownership of objectives, the 'Who can edit and update this objective?' setting is ideal.
Editing access is not granted to all who are contributing to an objective by default. So if someone owns a key result, yes- that person can update the progress of their key result. However, they aren't able to edit the objective as a whole, the starting or target value of their key result, the title of a key result, etc, unless they're specifically granted editing access to the objective.
If the 'Who can edit and update this objective?' setting is enabled by an account admin, objective owners can allow editing access of their objective to anyone in the company. The option to allow editing will appear when anyone is creating an objective. The option also appears when editing an objective.
Why does this matter?
If changes need to be made to any field of an objective, other than overall or key result progress, the objective owner (and possibly their manager/hierarchy/admin) is the only person who can edit. If someone owns multiple objectives and each of those objectives has multiple key result owners, that's a lot of management. To lessen the editing burden, objective owners can allow others to edit certain objectives. All changes to an objective are logged in the 'Objective activity feed'. As the objective owner, you can check the feed regularly to make sure no one pulls a doozy. 🤪
For example, let's say I'm leading a Refresh Project for the iOS app. I own an objective called "Refresh that iOS" and there are six key results owned by three different people. Assuming this setting is enabled, I would grant all key result owners full editing access to the objective when creating or editing the objective. After all, our company values transparency and equity, especially in Objectives. Now, each key result owner can make any needed changes without coming and asking me for help. And I can easily see what changes have been made by keeping my eye on the activity feed!