What is a check-in rhythm?
Regular check-ins are a key part of an effective OKR implementation. OKRs are closely aligned, and therefore will reflect inaccuracies if they aren't updated on a regular basis. That’s why it’s helpful to send gentle reminders to your team to check-in on their OKRs. Setting a cadence to remind teams and users to make check-ins is referred to as the check-in rhythm.
Notifications remind your team to check-in regularly. By default, Ally sends a notification to all team members every Monday at 9:00 AM in the user’s time zone, but the notifications can be customized to fit your business needs.
Setting a check-in rhythm
In this section you can set:
Frequency (every one, two, or three weeks, or monthly)
Days on which notifications are sent
Time at which notifications are sent
Disable notifications for OKRs that have had check-ins in the past X days (select number of days)
Admins or managers of a team can control whether the sub-teams reporting to their team can set their own check-in rhythm or should follow the parent team's cadence. They can decide if the cadence they are setting should be cascaded down to the reporting teams, or is confined just to their team.
For instance, the Chief of Staff sets a cadence to notify the users belonging to her team every Monday at 9AM PST. She can choose to set the same rhythm across departments in the organization, wherein all the users of Marketing, Product, Sales, Engineering, and Customer Success teams will receive a notification for check-ins every Monday at 9AM PST.
The Org Admin can control whether the teams reporting to her can set their own check-in rhythm or should follow the parent team's cadence. The aforementioned situation is a classic example of the sub-teams adhering to the parent team's cadence.
The two options that determine the cadence and cascading of the cadence are:
1. Allow teams to change their rhythm anytime
2. When saving, apply this schedule to teams
Note: These options are check boxes that need to be ticked, as you see fit.
Let's consider the following scenarios to better understand the usage of these configurations to set a check-in rhythm.
1. The department head, say Chief of Staff, is setting a cadence for the People Operations department to receive notifications every month on the first Friday at 9AM PST. The Chief of Staff wants the sub-teams reporting into her to continue having a cadence of their own (preferably, a weekly cadence). Therefore, she will not cascade this cadence down to the reporting teams, and will let each team set their own check-in rhythm.
2. The Head of Marketing is setting a bi-weekly cadence for the Marketing team to receive notifications on every Monday once every two weeks at 9AM PST. The Head of Marketing wants his reporting teams (say, Product Marketing, Demand Generation, and Customer Marketing) to have their own cadence, but highly recommends starting them with the same cadence as the marketing team. In this case, the cadence will cascade down the teams, however, the teams can change this schedule at any given point in time.
3. The VP of Sales wants her team to have a weekly check-in cadence, and is setting a rhythm to receive notifications every Wednesday at 9AM PST. She wants all the sub-teams reporting into her to follow the same cadence, and does not want them to have a cadence of their own, to ensure everyone is caught upto speed every week, and is on the same page. Therefore, she will set a cadence, cascade it cadence down to all her reporting teams, and not let them change this rhythm.
Team Owners and Team Admins can create a custom cadence for reminders for their departments and teams in Admin -> Team Settings. These cadences can differ from the organization-level cadence.
If teams have to follow the parent team's check-in rhythm, the team owners and/or team admins will not be able to change the schedule.
Once the updates have been scheduled, you will receive the notification in one of the following ways:
If a Slack or MS Teams integration has been enabled, the notifications will be sent through one of those platforms.
If the iOS or Android App have been installed, you will receive a push notification.
If no integrations have been setup, Ally will send a reminder as an email.
Check-ins for single and multiple owners
If there is just one owner or multiple owners assigned to an OKR and you would want a user within the organization to check-in and update the progress of the OKR, you can use the ‘check-in responsibility’ feature. The check-in owner will be able to check-in on the OKR (manual check-in) as well as set-up a data link on the OKR (to auto-check-in). This user will be receiving the check-in reminders. In the case of multiple owners, this will prevent all of the owners from receiving reminders, only the user set as 'check-in responsible owner' will receive the reminders.
Steps to assign responsibility for check-ins:
Log in to Ally.io and click on the ‘+’ button on the top panel to create a new OKR
Once you enter the objective/ Key Result and want to share it with another individual, choose owners from the ‘Owner’ option. Here you can assign multiple owners for the OKR
Once you assign an owner, select the user who will be responsible for making check-ins from the ‘Who is responsible for making check-ins?’ drop-down
Once you make the selection, the user will start receiving the check-in reminders
By default, the owner (the first owner in the case of multiple owners) is set as the person responsible for check-in and users need not explicitly choose unless necessary
Learn more about check-ins and the continuous feedback system here.