Why choose OKRs for your engineering team
OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) are a collaborative management methodology for setting challenging, ambitious goals with measurable results. They’re helpful to the whole organization because they drive alignment, enhance focus, and inherently promote transparency.
Learn more about what OKRs are and how to use them.
When it comes to engineering, your team can benefit greatly from the OKR framework. Engineering OKRs improve the effectiveness and integrity of your product, service, or the engineering team itself by breaking down silos and streamlining data management processes.
By positioning “why” statements at the core, OKRs help center goals around the wants and needs of the customer since engineering teams are responsible for implementing features and making product improvements to solve their specific problems.
How OKRs solve engineering team challenges
As a product or service scales, it becomes more complex. Complexity can lead to complications and the siloing of critical information needed to do the job.
OKRs align engineers by making data accessible and promoting visibility of desired outcomes.
Another challenge engineering teams face is typical for output-oriented teams — measuring impact. To help solve this problem, use function-specific OKRs. Doing this makes each function’s data transparent and accessible through OKRs, creating department-wide awareness of who is doing what and how the team’s performance looks in real-time.
With data management’s time drain reduced by OKRs, engineers can focus on executing the tasks that drive impact.
While OKRs don’t traditionally focus on the day-to-day responsibilities, they help engineers uncover the impact of each task or output beyond face value.
This impact is demonstrated in key result progress — connecting the “why” to the “what” is the superpower OKRs bring to engineering teams.
Setting OKRs for the engineering team
The size of your organization will have a direct impact on the type of engineering OKRs you create. Startups may be better suited to focus on developing the product or service while enterprises can focus on optimizing processes, services, or products because of their maturity.
For most engineering teams, top-down OKRs are more common. Because engineering talent is strongly connected to product output, engineering leaders at the VP or C-level largely assume the role of crafting OKRs and providing the vision for the teams. Combined with the right OKR platform, OKRs ensure maximum efficiency in your engineering team process.
In contrast to common OKR advice, task-based key results are well-suited to engineering teams. As long as the key results are connected to a clear outcome-focused objective, task-based engineering OKRs can still connect outputs to impact.
Engineering OKR focus areas
Engineering teams can focus their high output development process through function-specific OKRs:
- Quality assurance
- Engineering/Developer Community
Check out all our engineering OKR examples below.
Engineering OKR examples
Engineering OKRs for product
- Objective: Improve the quality of our product
- Key result 1: Reduce the average number of new bug reports from 72 per month to 60 per month
- Key result 2: Increase the crash-free ratio from 96% to 99% for the new release
- Key result 3: Reduce average QA rejections per-feature from 1.7 to 1.0
- Key result 4: Increase code coverage from 35% to 50%
Engineering OKRs for performance
- Objective: Accelerate the development team speed
- Key result 1: Increase sprint velocity from 42 to 60 points
- Key result 2: Reduce the average number of bugs per feature from 1.7 to 1
- Key result 3: Reduce average code review time by 30%
- Key result 4: Reduce "design-blocked" flag to <2% of planned features
- Objective: Increase the automation of the deployment
- Key result 1: Set up and implement automatic CI and CD with CloudBees
- Key result 2: 100% of logged errors reported to Sentry
- Key result 3: Reduce Travis build times <5m for all projects
- Key result 4: Reduce "design-blocked" flag to <2% of planned features
- Objective: Improve the quality of the development process
- Key result 1: 100% of projects use standard style and linting rules
- Key result 2: 100% of pull requests are reviewed and explicitly approved
- Key result 3: Research and implement single code-style for all the engineering teams
- Key result 4: Set up automatic CI and CD with Jenkins
- Objective: Refactor old reporting CRM module
- Key result 1: Create the refactoring plan
- Key result 2: 80% of components ported from AngularJS to React
- Key result 3: 100% of reporting routes (/api) migrated to new paths
- Key result 4: Reduce the response time for old APIs from 890 ms to 300 ms (on average)
Engineering OKRs for quality assurance
- Objective: Drive quality for features in our new release
- Key result 1: Proactively find >20 bugs
- Key result 2: Implement the new QA automation tool and run new process on 50% of code base
- Key result 3: Reduce critical bugs reported from 5 to 2
- Objective: Maintain an agile process
- Key result 1: Implement workflow graph for 75% of existing processes
- Key result 2: Certify 100% of team members on migrated database
- Key result 3: Create 25 knowledge base articles
Engineering OKRs for education
- Objective: Continuously improve and grow as a team
- Key result 1: Competency matrix covers all existing roles (3)
- Key result 2: "A player" job descriptions cover existing and planned roles (4)
- Key result 3: 10K views of blog articles sharing our recent performance testing and insights
- Key result 4: Speak on the local JS meetup
- Objective: Boost team members career development
- Key result 1: Increase the promotion rate by 20% this year
- Key result 2: Career roadmaps exist for 5 most popular positions
- Key result 3: Increase the 1-on-1s satisfaction for the "career development" question from 7.3 to 9.0
- Objective: Launch internal education camp
- Key result 1: Conduct 6 interview with tech leads to figure out the most critical educational needs
- Key result 2: Roadmap outlines monthly educational events/activities (12)
- Key result 3: Conduct the first EduCamp for engineering team on the security topic
- Key result 4: Achieve 9.0 satisfaction and effectiveness score of the first module
Engineering OKRs for security
- Objective: Achieve SOC 2 compliance
- Key result 1: Document process to resolve security issues
- Key result 2: Successfully train 5 Engineers on security compliance
- Key result 3: Complete Pen testing with fewer than 3 vulnerabilities found
- Objective: Increase data security
- Key result 1: Decrease data breach incidents from 2 to 0
- Key result 2: Increase data recovery rate from 93% to 100%
- Key result 3: Decrease backup time by 75%
Engineering OKRs for UX/UI
- Objective: Create a Feature Prototype by Q1 start
- Key result 1: Prepare checklist of necessary elements
- Key result 2: Confirm our design toolbox is up-to-date
- Key result 3: 100% completion on weekly feedback and reports
- Key result 4: Maintain a process log for changes and development
- Objective: Improve design team performance
- Key result 1: Host 10 total training sessions for all members
- Key result 2: Reduce design time by 5%
- Key result 3: Document a public record of design bottlenecks
OKRs for engineering/developer community
- Objective: Become a socially responsible organization
- Key result 1: 10K views of blog articles on educational engineering
- Key result 2: 5 of our team members volunteer in the local tree-planting event
- Key result 3: Hire 2 juniors for the summer internship
- Objective: Contribute to the open-source community
- Key result 1: Open-source our Image processing library and receive 100 stars on Github
- Key result 2: Merge 10 pull-requests to the public repositories
- Key result 3: Release and achieve 5,000 views on our guide on security testing
How Quantive simplifies OKRs for engineering teams
Quantive is your bridge between strategy and execution. Founded on the objectives and key results (OKR) methodology, our Strategy Execution Platform is where businesses plan successful strategy, focus and align teams to it, and stay on the leading edge of progress.
As your company looks to achieve the best possible results, you need a modern approach to run your business and change your business. The Modern Operating Model brings strategy, teams, and data together to help make decisions faster, optimize operations, and drive better business outcomes.
Whether you’re a large enterprise facing competitive disruption or a small business leading the innovative charge, Quantive helps get you where you want to go.
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