Determine your rollout plan

At the completion of your rollout plan or deployment phase, you'll have Microsoft Viva Goals operating across your entire organization so you can connect the daily work of every team member to business outcomes.

As you navigate the OKR Maturity Model shown below and change management associated with a Viva Goals OKR rollout, we recommend that you ease your organization into OKRs through a user pilot.

Table that shows the O K R maturing process.

The benefits of a user pilot are two-fold: first, you quickly learn how the methodology works within your organizational culture and gain insight into the challenges and opportunities. Second, your pilot group acts as an example for the rest of the organization. The pilot group's success in achieving their objectives will serve as a motivator for more groups to get on board.

1. Select your pilot style

Leadership-only pilot group

One of the most popular ways to roll out an OKR program is from the top down. The benefit of going this route is that leadership is fully behind the program, and OKRs are well aligned. Here’s how it goes:

In the first quarter, OKRs are set by the executive team. Because OKRs are transparent in nature, the entire organization will have visibility into these goals. During this phase, invite only the executive team as active Viva Goals users. Invite the remaining users as observers for visibility.

Throughout that first quarter, a weekly cadence for check-ins is set as an example. Meeting agendas are structured around measurement of OKRs.

After a successful first quarter, team managers are trained. They develop their OKRs, which are aligned with the senior leadership team.

After another quarter or two, team managers expand their key results. At this point, individual team members become involved.

Ask participants to take the OKR Leadership Program learning path on demand so that every pilot participant feels empowered to educate, engage, and train their employees in OKR methodology and software.

Department-wide pilot group

Another popular rollout method is for one individual department or group, such as marketing, IT, or a product-engineering team, to run a top-to-bottom rollout that involves both team managers and individual employees. Here’s how it goes:

With formal or informal support from upper management, the group adopts a weekly cadence for check-ins for one to two quarters, experimenting with what works and making agile changes. Along the way, team managers report back to management regarding successes, challenges, and recommendations.

Once the individual department and management is comfortably in a rhythm, a training plan is formulated to roll out OKRs to the rest of the organization. This plan uses the lessons from the individual department to make the process as smooth as possible for the organization as a whole.

Ask participants to take the OKR Leadership Program learning path on-demand so that every pilot participant feels empowered to educate, engage, and train their employees in OKR methodology and software.

Another option: Big bang theory

The "crawl-walk-run" pilot approach is best for most companies, but mature companies that can efficiently and effectively lead the organization though change may choose to launch OKRs organization-wide all at once.

The advantage of this “big bang” approach is that companies are able to apply the momentum of the initial kickoff to realize the benefits of OKRs more quickly across the entire organization.

No matter which path you choose, it's important to find out what works best for your organization. Be patient, as it usually takes a few quarters to get comfortable with change. Soon you'll get into a solid rhythm, and your OKR program will grow, mature, and transform your organization in the process.

2. Set program goals

Your goals define the outcome you want and enable you to measure the success of your Viva Goals rollout.

You need full participation from stakeholders when you define your OKRs to help ensure they feel a sense of ownership and to align these measures of success to defined project tasks. OKRs should include a mix of technical and user-focused successes.

Before you begin crafting the OKRs for your OKR program with Viva Goals, take some time to reflect on the following questions:

  • Why are you implementing the program? Is it to provide better transparency across your organization? To increase employee engagement? To spearhead a new product launch? To provide focus to fend off a competitor? Being clear on why will help galvanize your employees and keep momentum going.

  • What does success look like for this program? A year from now, how will you know if you've achieved your goals?

  • How will you communicate about your OKR program and Viva Goals to your team? What is your communication plan at the beginning, during mid-cycle check-ins, and when it's time to close out OKRs and see where you landed—and what have you learned?

Here's an example of an OKR for rolling out an OKR program with Viva Goals:

Table shows O K R example.

3. Determine your OKR calendar and timing

Annual timing:

Most companies start with three to five high-level objectives for the year. For example, if it's November 2021, they'll set objectives for the year 2022. Some companies will go a step further and have a two or three-year plan to build toward.

Quarterly timing:

Most companies plan their OKRs quarterly in the following way:

  • Q1 (January / February / March)
  • Q2 (April / May / June)
  • Q3 (July / August / September)
  • Q4 (October / November / December)

Note

If your company uses a different quarterly schedule, you can change it under Admin > Time Periods.

Check-in cadence:

We recommend that team members check in and update their OKRs on a weekly basis. Viva Goals has built-in notifications through integrations and via email to ensure this regular cadence.

Note

The day and time of reminders can be changed under Admin > Notifications.

Some companies set their check-ins biweekly or even monthly, but we find that weekly is the best time frame.

4. Roll out OKRs to your entire organization

Once leadership and your pilot group is comfortable with how OKRs and Viva Goals are working, it's time to create your training plan to roll out OKRs to your entire organization.

It's important to segment your users by persona and OKR maturity when building their training strategy. Each persona has specific tasks they need to do and different training required to complete those tasks.

Focus on the why. Make sure employees know why the change is happening, what's in it for them, and why they're being asked to change.

Use real work scenarios. Use tasks or processes familiar to your audience to draw them into learning how to use Viva Goals.

Use multiple formats. Training for end users should take on multiple forms to accommodate different learning styles, geographical norms, and resource constraints.

Reinforce. Make the training stick with reinforcement options like on-demand training, lunch and learn sessions, and new employee training options.

For a full rundown on how to successfully drive OKR and Viva Goals adoption in your organization, read the Viva Goals Adoption Guide.

Note

Your ultimate goal is to find the OKR process that works best for your organization. Viva Goals is designed to be flexible and meet your organization's unique needs. Your strategy and level of buy-in for OKRs will evolve as your team adjusts to the process. Give yourself one to two quarters to get into a good rhythm and watch your employee experience and business outcomes grow stronger.