On June 21st 2023, Microsoft announced the availability of goal setting in Project for the web, bringing us closer to combining the OKR (Objective and Key Results) framework with Project Management principles. This integration allows us to deliver strategic goals with projects and achieve our objectives more efficiently and effectively.

This article provides insights into these methodologies, reviewing the newly released Goals functionality for Project for the web and exploring the possibilities and next steps.

What are OKRs?

OKR, stands for Objective and Key Results, this is a framework that aligns the purpose of a company throughout the organisation, ensuring efforts are focused on what truly matters. It originated from the Management By Objectives system (MBO) created by Peter Drucker in the 1950s, enhanced by Andy Grove (CEO of Intel) in the 1970s, and popularized by John Doerr (Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, Zynga, among others) in the big technology players.

OKR methodology gained popularity during and after the COVID-19 pandemic due to its effectiveness in fostering alignment, collaboration, and transparency among remote teams. OKRs provide clarity and visibility, enabling teams to stay connected, track progress, and work towards shared goals.

An objective describes what you want to accomplish (at the company, team, or individual level), while key results define how you will achieve it.

OKR in a phrase could be: “We will OBJECTIVE as measured by KEY RESULT.” An example for the marketing department could be:

  • Objective: Enhance marketing efforts to generate leads and increase website traffic, measured by:
    • Key Result 1: Generate 5,000 leads through various marketing channels.
    • Key Result 2: Drive 200k visitors to the website through targeted campaigns.
    • Key Result 3: Convert 3,000 MQLs into SQLs through effective lead nurturing strategies.

Whilst OKRs define the milestones to reach the objective (key results), they do not cover how to deliver these key results. This is where the Project Management framework integrates and completes the picture.

Project management, according to the Project Management Institute (PMI), involves using specific knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to deliver something of value to people through projects. Projects are temporary efforts to create value through unique products, services, and processes.

So, why not use the Project Management methodology to deliver the Rey Results needed to accomplish our Objectives?

By combining both frameworks, we have:

We will OBJECTIVE as measured by KEY RESULT via PROJECT

Goals with Project for the Web

You’re probably wondering, how can we implement this theory?

Well, Microsoft offers solutions for both collaborative project management (Project for the web) and OKR management (Microsoft Viva Goals). With the new Goals functionality in Project for the web, we can seamlessly combine the key results aspect into the project.

The new Goals feature in Microsoft Project allows us to set and track goals for a project, linking tasks to these goals to ensure alignment with the desired results. Goal start/end dates, priority, and additional details can be defined.

Once the goal is set, it can be visualised in different views, providing different perspectives on the goal (task distribution in Board View, responsible parties in People view, list of goal tasks in Grid View, and progress and remaining tasks in Chart View).

For more detailed explanations, visit the Microsoft Project Blog.

As seen, OKR and Project Management are beginning to merge.

By combining both methodologies, we can align strategic goals with their delivery, providing focus and ensuring the execution of the most important business priorities.

With the Goals functionality in Project for the web, defining project goals as key results of the OKR set, we can manage and control the project plan to deliver the Key Results necessary to achieve our Objectives.

Looking ahead, Microsoft Viva Goals integration with Project for the web is on the future roadmap. Once released, it will allow for the creation and alignment of strategic goals from Viva Goals with execution in Project for the web, allowing for a joined up holistic overview at the organisation level.

If you would like to learn more about OKRs, PPM tools, or discuss how Wellingtone can help improve your PPM capability, please contact us.

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By: Francisco Torrejón

Francisco Torrejón

Published: 23 June 2023

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