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How to create amazing OKR with an OKR canvas

Create amazing OKR with an OKR canvas.

Why do I need an OKR Canvas?

The process of guiding a team or stakeholders through the crafting of OKRs can be a daunting prospect, even if you are familiar with the OKR methodology. If you are a Product Owner, Scrum Master, Agile Coach or working in an agile team, and you are not confident with the OKR framework, then the OKR canvas will help you without the need to be an OKR expert.

A canvas, such as the Business Model Canvas, or a tool such as the Balanced scorecard, is a great practice to support collaboration and alignment, facilitating conversations toward the objective and goal of the session. The key activity of goal setting, deriving product strategy, business goals, KPI, or agreeing on a key result is a tough initiative, even in a small team, so use this OKR template to help you achieve those measurable goals and achieve your objective.

Get your FREE OKR canvas

Download it here

Who is an OKR Canvas for?

Maybe you’re beginning your OKR journey, you’re on the road and found it hard to do this as a team, or your goal is to introduce your stakeholders to the OKR method. Perhaps you are a Product Owner and your objective is to involve the whole team in creating strategy and discovering the right key metrics or business goals to validate and measure the outcome. It will work for you all.

It should work in any organisational context from startups to small and large organisations, in fact, we use it in some very large organisations and the progress of the teams has been fantastic. It will work for management teams, for creating strategic OKR, and for helping generate a vision and ambitious goals. We have not tried it for personal OKRs and we don’t think it would work, but do try and provide us with your feedback.

What does the OKR canvas look like?

We’ve found that a spreadsheet or google doc is not a good example of a tool for enabling collaboration, as our objective was to encourage collaboration, we built our OKR canvas in Miro.

It’s constructed of facilitation boards, where the rich conversation and collaboration occurs, and data boards where you document the outcome of the collaboration activity.

We provide this as a downloadable PDF and a .rtb Miro backup file which you can load to your own Miro account.

There are some pictures of the board below and a video presentation in the next section.

Image from the 1ovmany OKR Canvas showing the Value proposition crafting board
Image from the 1ovmany OKR Canvas showing the 4 quadrants for focus and relative priority
Image from the 1ovmany OKR Canvas showing the OKR crafting board

How do I use the 1ovmany OKR canvas?

The objective of the canvas exercise is to support strategic thinking, it’s key that you don’t try to do that in a single sitting. We humans need time to absorb new information, assimilate and evolve our thinking, especially when constructing a smart goal. It will take a few sessions with the team to get to complete the activity so book 2-4 sessions with the team.

The canvas comes with a detailed facilitation guide (the link is in the email once you download it), and in the video below I will explain how each of the key sections of the canvas is to be used so you can feel confident when you use it for real.

Get your FREE OKR canvas

Download it here
The process of guiding a team through the crafting of OKR can be a daunting prospect. If you are a Product Owner, Scrum Master, Agile Coach or similar, and you are not confident with the OKR process, an OKR canvas can help you.
Mike Horwath
OKR Coach & Trainer

The stages in the canvas creation.

1
Stage one: The value proposition

The first challenge we identified for using OKRs in many organisations is that of the purpose of a team, or the value they expect to deliver. The objective of their product strategy was not clear. We also found a basic understanding of the customer segment served.

So first we need to understand our purpose for being so when we create an objective it’s aligned to our purpose. Second, we need to define the core customer segment that each purpose serves to validate the key results that create customer/business value.

2
Stage two: Challenges, blockers and aspirations.

In this part, we look to the team to elucidate what they are aspiring to achieve for the organisation during the next OKR period, as well as what challenges they see themselves facing (things they can overcome) and the potential blockers preventing their success(things they are powerless against). We also want to surface any key stakeholder considerations that are going to be important in the coming period.

These items together should give a good intuitive picture of what the team thinks it should be dealing with over the coming OKR period.

3
Stage three: Prioritise our activity

Take the data and insights from Stage two and force prioritisation. This section is about ensuring focus.

4
Stage four: Create your OKRs

By now the team should be approaching a convergence on a set of OKRs that it will commit to for the coming period. The completed canvas should allow you to tell the story of your OKRs, justifying the investment they represent, and demonstrating a balanced portfolio of outcomes and implied work (remember that a healthy balance will trade-off innovation and experimentation, operational and technical debt repayment, and delivery of ongoing features and product improvements).

Summary

We hope you find the OKR canvas a useful device for facilitating OKR crafting sessions. Please try it out and feel free to give us your feedback. We’d love to hear how you found using it and if there is room for improvement.

Need help with your OKRs?
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Want to find out more about OKRs?

OKR Impacts & gotchas
This article is the first in our series of three that tells you what you need to consider if you want to make a success of implementing OKRs. 
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Challenges you may meet at both senior and junior levels of leadership and some approaches to dealing with them.

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OKR Services 

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OKR Canvas
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Mike Horwath

Mike is a co-founder of 1ovmany where he leads the company in the area of business strategy and transformation, notably in the realms of OKRs, product, and organisational purpose and design as well as agile software delivery.

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