Projects are undertakings that are meant to achieve your key results (see What are OKRs). They connect the strategic to the tactical by helping you keep track of your execution and making sure there are no bottlenecks. To put them in the context of OKRs:
Objectives are the goals you want achieved. They are meaningful, specific, action-oriented, and aspirational.
Key Results are the measurements that tell you the objective was achieved. They are measurable, time-bound, aggressive, yet realistic. They are typically of the form: From [X] to [Y] by [WHEN]. When all Key Results are met, the Objective is necessarily and sufficiently achieved.
Projects are the activities or deliverables you undertake to get to the key results. They help you keep track of execution, with the assumption that once execution is completed, the key results will improve. Projects are how you plan to achieve the key results.
Let's take an example; Imagine a fictional organization that is developing a video gaming platform. They might have aspirations of taking over the North American video gaming market. OKRs and Projects for such an organization might look like this:
Objective: Become the best gaming platform in North America.
- Key Result: Achieve 150M Monthly Active Users
- Key Result: Exceed 90% User Retention
- Project: Ship new Android Gaming Client
- Project: Deliver retention playbook
- Project: Deliver high speed gaming backbone network
You can see that the projects are not results themselves, but the work the company needs to do in order to get to the key results, or maximize their chances of achieving them. By showing key results and projects in a single view like this, an organization can have a conversation both about its strategy and the execution needed to get the strategic results.
How to structure Objectives, Key Results, and Projects
In Ally, Projects can exist at the Organization, Team, or Individual level. Like key results, projects can also be created under objectives and other key results in Ally, depending on which outcome they help to achieve. You can create a project by clicking on 'Add project' under the appropriate objective or key result.
The recommended structure is to have an Objective, with the Key Results and Projects under it. This way, you can see the outcomes needed to meet the objective (the key results) as well as the output needed to achieve those outcomes (the projects). Projects are always placed after all the objectives and key results at each level of the hierarchy. For example:
Project progress and status
Progress in Ally is measured either as percentage complete or a KPI metric (10 out of 15 sales calls made, for example). Progress for projects works the same as key results (Roll Up Process of Key Results).
Ally compared the progress of an item with its expected progress and computes a Status as outlined here (OKR Status Indicators). Status for projects is also computed in the same manner as OKRs.
Project owners can do manual check-ins to provide the progress values (or) connect to a data integration to automatically update progress.
You can choose to have a project without any tasks in Ally and just check in manually to update the project progress.
If you would like to see the individual tasks in your project, Ally supports popular project management systems like JIRA and Asana, with many more on the way. When you connect to these systems, progress of the project is automatically computed based on the number of tasks completed vs outstanding. You can edit a project to add an integration after creating it without one. When that happens, project progress will be recomputed based on the tasks, however your previous history of checkins will be maintained. You can read about our integrations here:
Is my key result really a project?
Most key results that are not KPI metric based are probably projects. The main questions to ask are
- Is this key result really an outcome for the business, or is it an output on the way to an outcome?
- Can I follow the parent objective with "as measured by" and complete it with this key result in a convincing manner?
One good indicators that a key result may really be a project is if it is percentage completion based and does not have any children. Another is if the language is very delivery-oriented, look for words like "Ship ...", "Deliver ...", "Implement...".
What pricing plans are projects supported on?
Projects in Ally are available across all our pricing plans. The JIRA On Premise integration for Projects is only available for Enterprise Customers (JIRA Cloud is available across all plans). If you would like to have this enabled for your organization please have an account admin reach out to [email protected] with the request.