This brief tutorial will guide you through creating OKRs in Ally. Remember that planning out your OKRs beforehand is not only a best practice in general: but it is the lifeblood of the OKR process. To learn more about best practices for writing OKRs, click here.
Creating the Objective
You can create an Objective from:
The Individual, Team and Organization pages
The list page
A Template - 'Sample OKRs'
First, navigate to the individual, team, or organization that the Objective is for. Go ahead and click on the New Objective '+' button.
In the dialog box that pops up, the main things to specify are the following:
1. A short, but descriptive name for the objective
2. Ally contextually fills in the following Details, but you can edit them if you need to:
Type: Specify the type as individual, team, or organization level corresponding to where the Objective fits in the organization
Owner: This is the user who owns this Objective - best practice suggests that every OKR have a clear owner even if it is a team or organization objective
Time Period: The quarter or time period this Objective belongs to
3. Outcome: Add the outcome for the objective. The objective is set to go to 100% complete by default. Alternatively, you can choose to measure the outcome with a metric by setting the start, the target, and the unit. Right now, Ally supports two types of units - % and numeric.
4. Progress: Progress indicates the different modes that’ll help you measure the outcome. You can measure progress manually, or have progress update automatically. Automatic updates can be via rollup from key results, or from a data source which can be any of Ally's rich integrations. Learn more about the different progress modes here.
5. Alignment: Set the alignment to show why accomplishing this objective matters. Progress from this objective will automatically roll up to its parents.
These can always be edited later - be sure to check out the advanced options below; for now, go ahead and save your Objective when you’re done.
Note: The key results dialog box will look a little different if you have chosen to configure your OKRs by selecting the 'Objectives are always aspirational, key results are always measurable' option. You will notice that the Create Objective view will just have the Progress section. This is because when you've configured your Objectives to be aspirational and Key Results to be measurable, the progress of the objectives will either be updated by roll up from the progress of key results or manually. Learn more about OKR Model Configuration Rules.
Creating Key Results
Key Results contribute to achieving the objective; if all the KRs are accomplished, then the objective must be achieved, so choose them accordingly. Find the objective you just made and select ‘Add Key Result’. This will allow you to edit inline.
You can also hover over it and click on the Add Key Result button from the 'More options' which appears to bring up a more detailed dialog box.
The dialog box that opens up will look familiar. One key difference you will notice is that it’s already aligned with the parent Objective.
Note: The key results dialog box will look a little different if you have chosen to configure your OKRs by selecting the 'Objectives are always aspirational, key results are always measurable' option. Learn more about OKR Model Configuration Rules.
Ally makes it easy to jumpstart the OKR process by providing templates for common Objectives across different verticals in an organization. To create an Objective from a template, select ‘See Sample OKRs’ and choose from our extensive library of presets ranging from Sales and Marketing Objectives to People and Product Management.
From here, you can tweak the template Objectives - or any other Objective - to your company’s specifications by using the handy Edit functions available on the Objectives page. You can also hover your cursor over the Objective to find the Edit option.
Now go forth and let your OKRs multiply - but not by too much, eh?
Advanced options when creating OKRs
There are several advanced options when creating OKRs. For example, you can expand the 'Progress' section and specify how to track the Objective’s progress to the goal. You can choose from either
Measured as a goal towards 100% completion: Ally will show the progress in terms of percent completed to the goal.
Add a metric: This gives you more control to set a custom KPI. You will have to define the name of the metric, the target, and starting point yourself.
Ally also allows you to automatically update the progress of your Objectives by integrating with tools like Jira, Smartsheets, or VSTS. To read more about these integrations, view our detailed articles here.
Many of these options are available under 'More Options' in each section. Some examples under the 'Details' section:
Tags and Description: Add tags to group similar OKRs together and enter a short description of the objective if necessary. Learn more about tags here.
Private objectives and key results: Control who can see your OKRs. Available with an Enterprise subscription. Learn more here.
Objective Delegation: Designate another individual to keep this objective up to date. Available with an Enterprise subscription. Learn more here.
Q: How to change the owner of an OKR?
A: The owner of the OKR can be changed from the OKR list view, quick view or the full view page. Click on the owner field to assign the OKR to a new owner.
1. If you'd like more than a single person to own an OKR, you can assign multiple owners.
2. If there is just one owner or multiple owners assigned to an OKR and you would want a user within the organisation to check-in and update the progress of the OKR, you can use the ‘check-in responsibility’ feature. The 'check-in' owner can only check-in manually or set up an auto integration.
3. With Ally's Delegation option, you can assign another individual to check in on OKRs that are not owned by them. A delegate gets permissions to edit all aspects of an OKR and also work on behalf of the OKR owner on a specific objective. They'd not be able to change ownership though.
Q: Can I enter my OKRs in languages other than English?
A: You can enter your goals into Ally in any language that you're comfortable with by simply typing them in your preferred language.
Q: Can I edit or delete a OKR?
A: If you need to change an OKR or remove one made in error, you may find those options in the menu drop down in the top right corner of the screen. Select edit or delete to make the necessary changes.
Note: An objective may not be edited or deleted if it is Postponed or Closed. In those cases the objective would need to be reopened in order to edit or delete.
Q: How do I print my OKRs?
A: On the desired OKR page, expand the ellipsis (3 dots) icon and choose Print OKRs. Ally also give you the ability to export a .csv file from the Explorer.
Note: You will not see the print option when multiple time periods are selected.
Q: How can I copy one or more Objectives?
A: You can save time making Objectives with the Clone function.
To copy or duplicate a single objective:
1. Hover over the Objective and select ‘Clone’ from the dropdown on the far right. You can also do this from the Objective page by selecting Actions -> Clone.
2. A dialogue box will appear allowing you to edit the time period, owner, and the option to copy the objective and key results, or simply the objective.
By default, the cloned Objective with all its key results will appear in the same time period as the original. Please note that progress will not be copied over.
To copy or duplicate multiple objectives:
1. From your dashboard, choose the Objectives you wish to copy by selecting the checkboxes to the left of the Objectives.
Note: Only open Objectives can be cloned in bulk; objectives that have already been closed must be cloned on an individual basis.
2. Click the "Clone" button in the blue bar that appears above the list of objectives. You can then choose the options from the dialogue box.
Note: The cloning process takes place on the back end of our software, so it will take a short time for the system to produce a clone. The bigger the number of objectives chosen to clone, the longer it will take. Please be patient and do not make multiple attempts to clone the same objective.
Q: Why am I not able to add an integration connection to my objective?
When the OKR model configuration for your account is set as 'Objectives are always aspirational, key results are always measurable', there is no option to update your progress "Automatically from a data source".
This is because according to the configuration, the objectives are aspirational goals hence the progress of an objective must roll up from its key results.
The integrations can be used to track the % complete progress as well, so why can't the integrations be used with such objectives?
In the given configuration, setting a metric-driven objective is not recommended. The metrics should be under the objective and ideally a balanced set of more than one, while the objective is an inspirational call to action. That's why there is no option to directly integrate with the objective.
But what about the objectives that do not have any key results or have only projects aligned to them?
You can override individual items to contribute. However, each objective is recommended to have two to three key results that are the actual measures.