May 10, 2022

Why Switch from Spreadsheets in Excel to OKR Software?

schedule 3 min
Why Switch from Spreadsheets in Excel to OKR Software?

“To win in the global marketplace, organizations need to be more nimble than ever before,” said John Doerr, Author of Measure What Matters.

Several organizations embark on their OKR journey with Excel, Google Sheets, PowerPoint, or Confluence. Though it is a simple way to get started without spending extra money, this working model is not professional or scalable. As you use any of the above software, you must create goals, manually update those goals, and then share them through Slack, email, or other communication channels. Using spreadsheets in Excel may work only during the initial phase.

Common challenges in managing OKRs using spreadsheets are:

  • Infeasibility to manage multiple spreadsheets across several teams.
  • Ensure strict participation and compliance of teams.
  • Process cumbersomeness and time consumed in managing it.
  • Cascading objectives and rolling up progress is always impossible.
  • Manual tracking is not used for the agile approach.

Why Spreadsheets Don’t Work

Multiple spreadsheets are impractical and gawky

As the OKR process is integrated throughout the organization, goals become more complex and interdependent. There’s more significant human effort spent on documenting OKRs, rather than OKRs providing focus and clarity. Using spreadsheets also makes tracking changes over time or comparing results across different periods difficult. This lack of historical data can make it hard to identify trends or spot issues early on.

Manual reporting is time-consuming

Spreadsheets are too time-consuming and prone to errors. Tracking progress on multiple objectives across people in a spreadsheet leads to confusion and frustration. Imagine going through thousands of rows in a spreadsheet to establish whether employees are progressing, which targets are on track, or lagging. Doesn’t that sound like an arduous task? Spreadsheets are great for numbers, but not when these numbers must relay a strategic purpose, deeper understanding, and workforce interdependence to people.

Spreadsheets limit collaboration

Spreadsheets in Excel or manual processes prevent teams from working together effectively on shared objectives. If someone makes changes to a spreadsheet, it can be difficult for others to see what was changed and why? This can lead to wasted time and effort. Why would you like your employees to try and figure out what was changed and, on the worse, think if the change(s) matters to them.

Lack of transparency

When an organization develops its top-level OKRs to guide the business over a period, goals must be cascaded to multiple employees and teams to make these objectives – a reality. Cascading goals through manual tracking is difficult, necessitating your employees to track and manage their goals individually. Doing so results in a lack of transparency, which is crucial to the overall success of OKRs.

Loss of agility

Spreadsheets defeat one of the most important benefits of the OKR framework: adopting agile strategy planning and execution. Using spreadsheets means there’s a lack of inherent understanding. Updates cannot be easily tracked, making it hard to visualize how your work ties into another person’s or team’s work. Ultimately, it is hard to see how broader business objectives are fulfilled.

Participation and compliance become difficult

Manual reporting on OKRs leads to managing them in different documents. Employees are thus forced to check and update, contrary to automating updates with their systems. Besides, these documents remain isolated from workflows, failing employees to make updates and have everything in one place, which happens in an OKR tool. This lack of participation and compliance results in zero transparency, averting team members from seeing where they are in reaching larger objectives.

Why Use OKR Software?

Focus and Engagement

Adoption and use of OKRs in business increase the focus and engagement of teams in an organization towards clearly defined goals. As individuals write down and submit their objectives and key results at the beginning of a period, they can easily stay focused on what they must achieve at the end of that period. They can even update progress on their key results in the OKR software. The tool enables them to maintain steady progress towards accomplishing their key results, leading to timely achievement of objectives. The best part about the OKR framework is that it also boosts employee engagement. In Unlock: OKR, the Communication, Feedback, and Recognition (CFR) feature enables peer-to-peer communication, more transparency, improved recognition, and hence, visibility to those who want to share their successes and innovation and receive feedback.

Transparency and Alignment

Organizations employ the best OKR software to grow transparent about organizational priorities and drive alignment. Alignment maps, one of the features of an OKR software, provide a clear picture of who’s responsible for achieving what and whose objectives and key results are interlinked. Leadership and teams can thus see how well-aligned the teams are towards the bigger organizational goals. Vertical alignment assures organizations that everybody is working in the same direction, and the bigger picture is present too.


OKR framework is an open-source framework that you can interpret differently. In a scaling environment, where a rising number of teams of different agile maturities are working together progressively, everybody should speak the same language. OKR software offers a centralized platform, setting the same meeting terminology, cadence, and team preparation and review activities. Also, facilitating cross-functional collaboration, the tool lays the groundwork for the successful scaling of OKRs.

Gain a More Holistic View of Organizational Performance

OKR software enables organizations to set goals that align well with their overall strategy. As organizations put their higher goals at the forefront of people’s daily work, employees’ personal OKRs begin to align with the bigger goals, and they feel more serious and accountable for achieving them. Besides, through this OKR tracking software, you can easily track individual and organizational performance.


One of the key reasons behind employing OKR software is its integration capabilities. This tool can be directly integrated with MS Teams, GChat, Slack, and many other tools, including Asana, HubSpot, Jira, SQL, and Gsheets. It thus guarantees your objectives always stay on the top of your mind. Your objectives also become more relevant and up to date without any constant follow-ups. In simple words, OKR integrations keep your daily tasks connected with your objectives, enabling you to stay on track with the objectives, which are well-aligned with the bigger organizational goals.

Turn Your OKR Software into a Strategic Operating System

An OKR software enables your organization to align its bigger goals with individual goals through alignment maps, enhancing employee engagement and quantifying performance in real-time. The tool offers you the needed flexibility and is user-friendly with its actionable dashboards, bringing more focus to individuals and teams. Tracking progress also becomes more accessible with the OKR tracking software, increasing transparency. OKR integrations keep your daily tasks connected with your objectives, enabling you to stay on track with the set objectives. Besides facilitating cross-functional collaboration, the tool lays the groundwork for the successful scaling of OKRs.

Spreadsheets create enough friction for your organization to fail at OKRs.