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OKR Meetings: What They Are and How to Best Run Them

Setting OKRs is your first step toward accomplishing your goals. Learn what OKR Meetings are and how to run them best.

By Fellow.app  •   May 4, 2022  •   6 min read

In project management, objectives and key results (OKRs) can help your team clearly define its goals and figure out how to get there. They’re especially great for helping your team reach those pesky goals that seem just out of reach. 

Using OKRs in your workflow requires consistency, action plans, and regular check-ins. OKR meetings can hit all these marks while keeping your team on track. Below, you’ll learn all about OKR meetings and how to make them a seamless part of your team’s workweek.

What are OKR meetings?

An OKR meeting is a quick face-to-face or virtual check-in (about 15 to 30 minutes) where you and your team discuss progress toward key results. Your team members will share their biggest achievements this week, and you’ll set priorities for next week. You’ll also make plans to achieve your key results.

In your OKR meetings, you should assess whether your team is achieving your key results within a reasonable timeframe. During your meeting, you might realize you need to adjust some objectives to make them more realistic. You can speak with your team members to get helpful peer feedback about changes you should make. 

Level up your OKR meetings

Level up your OKR meetings by preparing a collaborative meeting agenda ahead of time. Try a tool like Fellow!

Who could benefit from OKR meetings?

You don’t have to be Google, Netflix, or Intel – all real-life examples of OKR use – to benefit from OKR meetings. Any organization can use OKRs to fuel growth and collaboration among its teams. As long as you have ambitious goals for your team, the OKR methodology can be a great way to reach them.

Achieving OKRs merely starts with setting objectives and deciding on key outcomes. Lining up action steps is how you’ll actually drive – and measure – progress. Regularly holding OKR meetings is the easiest way to put consistent action behind what would otherwise just be lofty goals.

How to run OKR meetings

Let’s say you’ve clearly defined a goal and set OKRs to help get you there. Now, you need to get your team members on the same page and keep pushing them all in the right direction. That’s where OKR meetings come in. Below, you’ll find steps for running a productive meeting and starting each week on the right track.

1Prepare for the meeting ahead of time

OKR meetings are among the shorter meetings you’ll hold during the week, so to make the most of your meeting time, prepare ahead. Start by deciding where you’ll hold your OKR meeting, such as a conference room or your office. You’ll then need to give your meeting a formal structure through a meeting agenda that you share with your team.

To best use your time spent in meetings, review your OKRs beforehand and jot down some notes. What points do you want to raise? What questions do you want to ask? Is your team making its way through key results within a reasonable time frame?

Asking yourself these questions – and writing down their answers – can help you jumpstart great conversations during your meeting. Write some thoughts under your OKRs so you remember to share them with your team. All this prep can save valuable time during the meeting so you can stick to key points, such as challenges and future action plans.

2Discuss current OKR status with the team

Understanding where your team stands in the OKR cycle can help you decide how to proceed. Start your meeting by asking your team members: Is everyone on track with their key results, or have they fallen behind? How much progress did your team make last week? Brushing up on your team’s progress can help you decide whether you need to tweak a goal, find additional resources, or entirely change the approach. 

If a key result is complete, celebrate this project milestone and remove the OKR from your list. If your team has a plan in place for an OKR but has fallen behind, mark that objective as “behind.” If your team hasn’t made any progress and there isn’t a plan for how to refocus, mark that objective as “at risk.” Clearly labeling objectives and key results can give your team a simple view of their progress and any problems that need attention.

3Review what you learned the previous week

Sometimes, part of moving forward is looking back. You and your team can almost always improve based on what you’ve already done and what has or hasn’t resulted. During your OKR meeting, you and your team should take some time to reflect on what you’ve learned since your last meeting.

Which actions led to success, and how can you lean on them again? What changes can your team make to maximize its productivity? Which challenges might block your team’s progress? How well are your team members working to achieve results? These are just some of the questions you can ask to reflect on the past week. You can use the answers to frame your approach for the upcoming week.

4Set new priority plans and action items for next week

Use what you learned from talking about last week to prioritize OKRs this week and achieve team alignment. Assigning action to each of your team members can help them remember the ins and outs of your plan.

Amanda Goetz, the founder of House of Wise, says coordination is a key part of executing action plans. “A great example is if you’ve ever been in a meeting, and you’re talking about a campaign or a project, and everybody’s throwing out ideas, and everybody feels really good about the meeting but then everybody leaves and has no direction,” she says. “They don’t know who’s doing what or who’s responsible.”

Action items are a huge part of achieving OKRs. Creating a plan of attack tells your team where they should focus and what they should try to achieve before your next meeting.

After the OKR meeting

Once you’ve wrapped up your meeting, there are a few steps you can take to further set up your team for success. Below are some steps you can take to put a neat little bow on things.

1Document lessons learned

Hopefully, you were taking notes about what your team learned over the past week and how they can improve. At the end of your meeting, type this all up alongside some solutions and share everything with your team. You’re basically creating a cheat sheet for your team to use if they face similar challenges moving forward.

2Share new ideas that come up

Don’t let good ideas go to waste! If a team member shares a great idea or solution, write it down. New ideas can lead to super effective plans for current or future challenges. Encourage your team members to share their ideas during the meeting when you’re ready to record their contributions. Then, send everything out afterward. This way, everyone can look back at all the ideas – they might help everyone make progress.

3Follow up with your team

Throughout the week, you should make it a point to follow up with your team members about their progress. But it’s not like you have to formally check in with your team. You can simply stop by their desks for a minute or two (or ping them on Slack for great virtual team communication). Ask how the team member’s work is coming along and whether they have any questions or concerns.

The main goal here is to give your team a chance to share any roadblocks before they become huge problems. This way, you don’t have to wait until the next meeting to discuss solutions your team needed the previous week.

Free OKR meeting agenda template

Running on productivity

If you have ambitious goals and you’re using OKRs to accomplish them, regular OKR meetings can make the most of your process. With Fellow, your whole team can easily record, define, and track OKRs – and prepare for OKR meetings. You can use Fellow to collaborate on meeting agendas, assign meeting action items, and easily go over OKRs during meetings. It’s the best way to get everyone on the same page for a productive week of crushing your OKRs.

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