February 24, 2022

The Evolving Role of the PMO: Aligning OKRs and Project Management

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The Evolving Role of the PMO: Aligning OKRs and Project Management

Do you think project managers can always depend on experience, delegation, and spreadsheet tracking? If yes, note that organizations in this era of digitalization have become quite complex, implying you cannot just rely on the above factors. As businesses grow, projects grow more extensive and cannot be effectively tackled and executed without adequate management support. The project management, in turn, draws its strength and support from the OKR framework. 

In this blog, we talk about the viability of the OKR system in project management. But let’s begin with the basics.

What is an OKR System?

An Objectives and Key Results (OKR) system pertains to goal-setting and goal-getting. The framework enables big complex enterprises to define their objectives and track key results; OKR methodology is based on two concepts: “What I want to get done” and “How I want to get it done.” While an objective refers to an overall goal that a company is working towards, key results are the tasks, processes, and practices that must be completed to achieve the set objective or goal.

The best part about the OKR framework is its scalability feature, implying it can quickly grow within an expanding organizational structure and adapt to new needs as a company does. This flexibility is valuable to project managers, who must always pivot within a short duration.

Before you find out how to use OKRs as a project management tool, it is worth learning the differences between the two. 

Key Differences Between OKRs and Project Management

Basis of Distinction OKRs Project Management
Meaning  An OKR refers to what you aim to achieve, including tasks and projects combined to deliver the key results. Project management refers to diverse tasks. It uses several tools and systems for the effective organization of the project.
Purpose OKRs offer you a North Star but don’t tell you how to get there.  Projects are the best bet to make progress. They are hypotheses and likely move the needle.
Metrics OKR metrics are all about how you measure the key deliverables. You know the OKR is on track and when your objective is completed successfully through these metrics. Project management metrics consider various aspects of the project, including task timelines, hours worked, and budget spent. 
People OKRs give employees a clear direction and help them stay motivated to accomplish organizational goals. Project management helps individuals to manage their daily tasks and track progress.
Outcomes and Examples OKR focuses on the key result that brings in the desired value. 

Quarterly OKR Example for an SEO Executive 

Objective: Improve the SEO of the website content to improve its visibility in SERPs

Key Result 1:  2500 website page views to be increased from 1200

Key Result 2:  10 new blog posts with five or more backlinks to be published

Key Result 3: 4% website bounce rate to be reduced from 10%

Project management focuses on task completion as a metric to determine your project’s success.

Example: Publish 10 new blog posts with five or more backlinks in the quarter

How OKRs and Project Management Align

Now that you have learned the key differences between OKRs and project management, you should know how to align the two as an evolving and new-age project manager. Leveraging objectives and key results, business and project managers can foresee changes in the market and evaluate risks. They thus get a clear direction and decide on what changes should be made in current projects or which projects should be postponed or halted.

Objective execution using the art of project management allows you to collect the information and obtain metrics required to ascertain if objectives can be accomplished in a short period. The aim here is to implement the OKR cycle again. Business analysts, product owners, and project managers can effectively organize and plan product releases, iterations, and sprints to boost product development through objectives.

How OKRs and Project Management Align

How OKR System and Project Management Go Hand-in-Hand?

When combined with project management, OKRs deliver results that impeccably align with your organization’s strategic goals. To use OKRs properly and extract maximum out of their efforts, leaders must take the time to learn the intricacies of the OKR framework, creating and implementing OKRs that address the highest priorities within their organization. To see how OKRs benefit project management, contact our OKR experts.