What is Viva Goals?

Microsoft Viva Goals is a goal-setting and management solution that allows teams to align their work to your organisation’s strategic priorities to drive results and improve your business.

Through the application of “Objectives and Key Results” (OKRs), Viva Goals enables both individuals and businesses to effectively structure and monitor their objectives. By immersing all stakeholders in the company’s overarching mission and primary focal points, Viva Goals cultivates a dynamic environment wherein employees are invested in shared objectives, nurturing a culture of purposeful engagement and collaborative pursuit of collective accomplishments.

Microsoft now offers users the ability to integrate Project data in Viva Goals. This also means that you can now combine the OKR (Objective and Key Results) framework with project management principles. This article explores the new functionality and provides a user case as an example.

A previous article we wrote on the Goal setting feature in Project for the Web provided methodological insights and discusses the definition of Goals in PftW. We found the new functionality useful, considering it to be a first step in initiating strategic thinking within the project context, however it is not fully equipped for OKRs. It lacks crucial requirements such as a two-layer hierarchy for defining Objectives and Key Results, as well as tracking functionality and the reviewing cycle.

Viva Goals, the Microsoft OKR solution, addresses all these concerns. However, it wasn’t possible to define a detailed action plan to execute the Key Results. The Initiative elements don’t provide sufficient detail and functionality.

But now, with the newly released connection, it’s possible to integrate project data into the OKR set. Let’s explore this through an example.

Analysis of Goals Project Integration in Viva Goals

The first thing we need is to define an Objective and its Key Results, for example:

How to define an Objective and Key Results in Microsoft Viva Goals

We define this set in Viva Goals. However, achieving the necessary results to succeed, especially with a stretch OKR, is unlikely without an action plan. To resolve this, we can define a project in Project for the web that will bring the Key Results as benefits of its execution.

We call it “Summer Plan” and it includes detailed necessary steps and actions to achieve the results

An example plan in Microsoft Project for the Web
An example plan in Microsoft Project for the Web | Wellingtone

We also define the benefits of executing the project in the business case and the Goals to achieve the Key Results:

Now we have the OKR defined as well as a detailed Project plan, but they aren’t connected and are defined in different platforms. This makes tracking and reporting more difficult. However, it’s now possible to connect both.

We want to nest the Initiative (project) and its Tasks under a Key Result. To enable this, we need to configure it in the Admin settings of Viva Goals.

Now, to assign the Tasks that contribute to each Key Result, we define Buckets in the Project Board. This allows us to select them during the integration process.

With both the Project and OKRs ready, we can import the Tasks we want to track for Key Result completion. We add a child item under the Key Result, adding the Initiative:

This opens the New Initiative Dialog Box, where we name it “Article Milestones-Summer Plan.” We click “add task” to break down the Initiative and select “Automatically from data source” and choose the “Project for the web” option:

This opens the Import dialog, where we choose the project and tasks we want to integrate under the Key Result. We select the correct environment, the project, and the previously defined bucket, and then click “Next“:

Connect to Project for the web | Wellingtone

It returns to the New Initiative dialog box, showing the selected configuration. If everything is correct, we save it and complete the process:

Finally, we can see how the Key Result has Initiative nested with tasks automatically updated from.

Key result has initiative with tasks automatically updated from Project for the web

If we click on the Initiative, we can see the progress according to the status of the Project Plan:

Progress on Initative in Project Plan on Project for the web

What this means for your PMO

PMO teams often find themselves collating and bringing data together and completing lots of manual work to identify valuable insights and information for project teams and leaders to make informed decisions.

Just like with the advent of PPM tooling, this evolution continues to bring automation into the PMO world and with it sometimes confusion about who needs to do what with data.

Some clear tips for your PMO to start to lever these new tool sets:

  1. Accept that your internal PMO Customers will probably want to implement these things as it makes their lives easier
  2. Take the time to learn and understand what this is and identify how it can help your team
  3. Look at the possibilities for the day-to-day and monthly cadence where this kind of tool can help you
  4. Update your SOPs to reflect the use of the new tools, check your status reports to see if you are duplicating information, and remember that when implementing something new, just enough is sometimes just enough.

Conclusion

With the new Project for the web connector in Viva Goals, we can now integrate Project data and task details within our OKR set, enabling automatic updates of the OKRs based on the project’s status. This allows us to focus on business priorities, eliminating the need for manual updates.

Viva Goals then becomes the single source of truth for tracking the progress of the OKRs and the strategic projects aligned with them. This means we can merge the strategic layer of OKRs with the tactical layer of project management, bringing the best of both worlds together.

For more details you can visit Task history, goal-setting and more in Microsoft Project

If you would like to learn more about OKRs, PPM tools, or discuss how Wellingtone can help improve your PPM capabilities, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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Monthly Newsletter

By: Francisco Torrejón

Francisco Torrejón

Published: 29 August 2023

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