In my previous posts I have talked about the tips for implementing and introducing OKRs into your organization. This time, I would like to introduce the role of the OKR Champion and to stress out the importance of this particular role for a successful implementation. 

If you are introducing OKRs into your company for the first time, it is highly recommended that you appoint an OKR Champion (or OKR Master) from inside your company, in spite of the fact that you might be working with an OKR coach. The OKR Champion can be your HR Manager, the CEO or the COO. It should be somebody with an overview across the teams and business units of your organization, somebody with a deep knowledge of the processes and teams and of course, a huge OKR fan and evangelist. 

The role of the OKR Champion is crucial especially during the initial implementation period of the OKR framework, since you will probably find that a lot of people in your organization might feel reluctant to change and might not get along with the process willingly. Therefore you will need somebody from inside your organization to watch over the smooth running of the process and to make sure that everybody is following it. 

The Champion´s primary role is to maintain the OKR framework and integrate it into the culture of the company (be it a large corporation or a startup). 

The OKR Champion should focus on 3 main points:

  1. Perform as a Coach (explain how OKRs work, the schedule of the meetings and the cadence)
  2. Set an example (the Champion should serve as an example to follow, for others to see what a perfect OKR process and implementation looks like)
  3. Be the process watchdog (ensures the smooth running of the process and the schedule)

C-level management and managers in general will still be the principal driving force behind the OKR implementation and will be responsible for the content and the metrics. But there are some important tasks that should be carried out by the OKR Champion (or an OKR Master as some companies call them), such as:

  • Ensure the smooth running of the planning process that includes: setting up workshops at all levels with the right group of participants, scheduling the planning process itself, setting reminders for submitting the quarterly OKRs and fixing the OKRs when needed
  • Conduct the quarterly OKR Workshops at the company level. 
  • Efficiently assign resources: help negotiating resources where there is overlap or there are interdepencies between areas or departments
  • Help identify key strategic and operational objectives. 
  • Be the contact person for all matters relating to Objectives and Key Results.
  • To ensure transparency and overview of the strategic goals. Communicate regularly the vision, mission and strategy and how OKRs relate to them.
  • OKR quality control: ensuring that Objectives are clear and measurable and the expected values and metrics are well defined.
  • Integration of the OKR tools into the daily work: maintaining the OKRs on the intranet, ensuring the alignment and transparency, providing tools and training…
  • Onboarding of new employees: transfer the know-how and the OKRs expectations. 

The OKR Champion should not be responsible for the content of the OKRs. It is the managers’ responsibility to set the right objectives and the metrics for measuring the results previously agreed with her/his team. However, the Champion’s crucial role will be giving support, offering help and ensuring the smooth running of the process and the cadence as well as the OKR cycle.