5 Best OKRs to Start Measuring the Impact of Strategic Portfolio Management

Meet business needs and optimize return on project investment with strategic portfolio management. Objectives and Key Results help you measure impact.

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) are everywhere you look, in businesses both big and small. Even tech giants like Google rely on OKRs to keep their goals on the right path and align their priorities. In fact, they’ve finetuned their methodology into a neat playbook.

If you're looking for a way to align your goals with strategic portfolio management best practices, then look no further.

What Are OKRs and Why Do They Matter?

  • Objectives are 'what we want to do'. They should inspire action, and remain attainable while still posing a challenge. Achieving an objective must result in some clear value to the business.
  • Key Results are specific, measurable metrics. As prize pupil Marissa Mayer would say, “It’s not a key result unless it has a number.” These can be 'done' or 'not done', or framed around a numerical target, set within an aspirational range. If you find yourself getting full marks across the board, you're making it too easy. Instead, aim to have a 60 to 80% completion rate on the OKRS that stretch you.

A study by the Dominican University of California showed that participants who not only wrote down goals, but also created actionable metrics and shared their rate of progress were nearly twice as likely to report success than those who just wrote down their goals.

You'll want to review and cycle your OKRs on a quarterly basis. This gives you time to work on several areas while maintaining momentum throughout the year. We suggest setting around 3-5 objectives, each with 2-4 key results. Write these as 'I will [Objective] as measured by [Key Result]'.

Here are some examples of OKRs that measure the impact of strategic portfolio management.

1. Align Portfolio With Strategic Goals

As measured by:

  • 85% of the elements in the portfolio contribute to at least one company level goal
  • Identify and review 100% of projects that are ‘underperforming’, and cut the ones that are not aligned
  • Meet X times with senior stakeholders

2. Promoting a Company Culture That Emphasizes Goals

As measured by:

  • Receiving X% return on project evaluation forms against company mission, vision and purpose.
  • Creating a value-based award system and allocating X rewards for projects.

3. Push the Boundaries of Innovation

As measured by:

  • Launching X new projects per month.
  • Conducting X studies with our educational partner.
  • Securing X articles in industry journals for innovations.

4. Build a Comprehensive View of Your Business

As measured by:

  • Implementing new project portfolio management tool into the digital workplace.
  • Growing from X number to Y number of active users on PPM tool.
  • Through training, reducing support requests for new PPM tool by X%.
  • Increasing average time spent using PPM tool to X hours/minutes.

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5. Optimize for Project Portfolio Success

As measured by:

  • Retaining X number of project leaders.
  • Conducting X number of retrospectives.
  • Improving time to completion for projects by X%.

These are just some of the best OKRs to get you started.

We had so many ideas for OKRs that measure the impact of your strategic portfolio management, we've written a whole ebook on the subject! It's packed with insights and a variety of additional examples. In short, it's got all the tools you need to progress on your OKR journey.

Download this free resource, here.