Alignment is one of the most powerful features of OKRs! By aligning your Objectives at an individual, team and organization level, strategically aligned OKRs rapidly get everyone on the same page, working towards results that matter.
Ally visually signifies alignment with - you guessed it - a line. You can see all the Key Results nested under an Objective on the Objective page, as well as the OKRs tab in the organization, team and individual views.
What this shows us is how Objectives and Key Results at the team and individual level contribute to larger Objectives further upstream and laterally. All OKRs are visible to everyone in the organization: so each individual knows where the goal posts are and what needs to be done to get there.
If you have been adding Key Results to your Objectives, as we showed you in a previous article, you will notice they are already aligned to the Objective. If you need to un-align them at any time, you can do so from the Key Result’s page. Find the Alignment box on the right hand side and select ‘Remove Alignment’.
However, if you need to align, say, Objective A with Objective B after the fact, you can do so by editing Objective A. Select the ‘align objective’ option and use the search functions to easily locate Objective B. This will link the progress of both Objectives and make Objective A a Key Result of Objective B.
Organically, organization level KRs become team level Objectives, and team level KRs can become individual Objectives; which maintains vertical alignment in the organization. In OKR methodology, we call this effect ‘Cascading’.
OKR Duality - an analogy
Have you noticed how an Objective can be a Key Result or an Objective depending on the view? This phenomenon is called OKR Duality and it works like an inheritance model.
To use a metaphor, if you create a top level Objective with nothing above it, it’s always an objective and never a Key Result. We’ll call this one Grandma. If you then add a Key Result to Grandma, then Grandma becomes a parent and the Key Result becomes her child. Let’s call this first Key Result “Mom”, because she too will have children.
If you add another Key Result to the Mom Key Result, then the Mom Key Result becomes a parent too. Now Mom is a parent as well as a child - in other words - Mom is both an Objective and a Key Result. She’s a Key Result to Grandma and an Objective to her child. Mom is both things and will have a different identity depending on your viewpoint. From the child’s perspective: she’s an objective. From Grandma’s perspective, she’s a Key Result.
What does this mean for your OKRs? Well, now that the Objectives are aligned, changes will roll up through the chain of alignment (or inheritance) to affect progress accordingly. This is incredibly handy for alerting the team to potential pinch points and risk areas downstream because they will be reflected in top level Objectives. The next section will walk you through how exactly this happens.
The roll-up of status and progress through the alignment chain makes it easy to see the impact a Key Result has on its parent Objective and other Objectives in the OKR hierarchy. If progress is tracked based on % completed, Ally will automatically update the status and progress of parent Objectives based on the progress of the Key Results.
The actual value of the progress of the Objective will be the average of the progress of its Key Results. The status will also be based on the statuses of each Key Result.
However, if the Objective is tracked by success metric, Ally will not attempt to convert percentages into your chosen success metric. The owner of the Objective can manually update the progress with a check in and enter a value.
Once all Key Results are completed, the Objective will be automatically be marked as completed and the average score of the Key Results will become the score of the Objective.
Now that you know how to align Objectives for success, keep your allies close, and your alignments even closer…