While OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) are a popular performance management tool that can be effective for driving progress towards long-term outcomes, they may not be the best fit for the innovation and experimentation phase of delivery. This phase involves exploring new ideas, testing hypotheses, and learning from failures, which may not always align with the specific and measurable targets of OKRs.
OKRs are built around the idea of setting specific, measurable objectives and tracking progress towards them. While this can be effective in many cases, it may not be the best approach for innovation and experimentation, which requires a more flexible and adaptive approach. In this phase, goals and objectives may change frequently as new insights are gained, making it difficult to define and track specific key results. Additionally, OKRs may incentivise teams to focus on long-term goals rather than short-term innovation, leading to a potential loss of focus on what is important for now.
Instead of OKRs, a more appropriate approach in the innovation and experimentation phase may be to use more flexible and qualitative measures to track progress and success. The Lean startup model, for example, includes built-in goal setting through the use of hypotheses and experimentation. This approach encourages teams to focus on learning and continuous improvement, rather than achieving specific targets. Metrics such as customer feedback, user engagement, and speed of experimentation may be more useful in measuring progress and success in this phase.
In summary, while OKRs may work well in more established and stable phases of delivery, they may not be the best fit for the innovation and experimentation phase, which requires a more flexible, adaptive approach focused on learning and continuous improvement. Instead, the built-in goal setting in the Lean startup model may be more appropriate for this phase, emphasising the importance of experimentation, learning, and adaptation.