Excerpt: With COVID in place, teamwork became difficult. Hence OKRs with cross-functional teams came into place. With this, improve results by enabling dynamic teams to collaborate efficiently even when they are not in the same room. In this article, we will hear some insights of big companies employing this.

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Companies that form cross-functional teams are more likely to stay relevant, innovate, and grow profitably than those that don't. OKRs are a great way to keep cross-functional teams aligned, motivated, and on track, especially in today's remote work environment.

A scalable approach to OKRs, involving knowledge in the concept, technology to illustrate alignment, risks, and progress, and coaching to guide and promote quarterly organisational improvement, is required to realise their full advantage.

OKRs and cross-functional teams

OKRs provide a standard structure and quarterly process for teams to articulate and align their goals, focus their efforts on quantifiable outcomes, and iteratively learn from data. These capabilities hold each contributor accountable for providing the outcomes that drive a company's strategic priorities from anywhere, at any time for cross-functional teams.

Why use OKRs with Cross-Functional Teams? Because OKRs are:

  • Help cross-functional teams outperform functional teams

OKRs help teams work together more effectively. For WorkDay, with OKRs cross-functional teams do better than siloed teams. Their Senior VP, People & Performance Evangelist mentioned that OKRs have helped their teams to focus their efforts and align around the things that matter the most, allowing them to maintain a sense of accountability in what they pledge to and how they now practise it in their daily operations. OKRs have also helped their teams work more effectively, as a team.

  • Align stakeholders and keep them in sync on facts and accountability

OKRs are aligned horizontally and vertically across an organization. For Malwarebytes, OKRs give breadth, focus, and transparency that enables agreement in an otherwise difficult area to align. With cross-functional teams, OKRs are really beneficial. 

  • Reveal dependencies between cross-functional teams.

It's normal for teams to do redundant or cross-purpose work when they're operating in silos. For Zuora, the transparency of OKRs brought awareness to those dependencies. Rather than a hierarchical structure, the organization is conceived of as a series of teams where everyone is part of one or two or more teams. With this, their teams remain semi-autonomous in terms of achieving their objectives, while simultaneously acknowledging that there are many interdependencies. Particularly when they expand as a company.

  • Boost autonomy and empower execution for members of cross-functional teams.

OKRs help cross-functional teams define their goals and determine how success is measured. Working groups, pods, and squads can be more self-directed, aligned, and accountable if they are self-directed, aligned, and accountable. For Cisco, OKRs provide a platform for their teams to have dialogues they wouldn't have had otherwise.

  • Create a shared consciousness for cross-functional teams

Employees must be able to progress and make sound decisions on their own. Interdependent colleagues can be more productive asynchronously when there is clarity on desired results and transparency on promises, actions, and decisions. For IBM, everyone must be aware of the priorities of other leaders and teams. It is very important that OKRs are visible and transparent, so you don't have to rely on meetings and one-on-one talks to figure out what matters.

OKRs with proper technology infrastructure, expertise, and coaching help to realize their full potential and best possible outcomes.

Drive results with agility

In ‘normal’ times, a lack of cross-functional collaboration costs businesses money in terms of return on investment and revenue growth. In COVID times, when there’s an economic downturn, cross-functional competition, particularly in terms of digital transformation, might be harmful.

Many firms set OKRs for a line of business, a product, or a product family through cross-functional teams. PMs, revenue leads, CX leads, and Dev team leads may all be members of these groups. They need a scalable and straightforward management structure to stay focused and thrive; they need a powerful alignment that keeps stakeholders in sync on the facts and accountable to one another – they need OKRs. OKRs are a force multiplier for any firm when they are supported by a platform and the consulting and coaching required to show results in the first quarter.

Frequently asked question

Q1: Is there a difference between OKRs and KPIs?

OKR is the acronym for objective and key results—more specifically, an objective is tied to key results. OKR is a strategic framework, whereas KPIs are measurements that exist within a framework. OKR is a simplistic, black-and-white approach that uses specific metrics to track the achievement of a goal.


Q2: What are the 5 performance objectives?

The five key business performance objectives for any organization include quality, speed, dependability, flexibility, and cost. When it comes to business performance objectives you're likely aware that efficiency and productivity are crucial.


Q3: Who chooses the objective in the OKR design process?

First, the executive team needs to choose the objective. Here, they think about what the company must do in the following year. They choose an annual objective that inspires the company to move in a really specific direction.