A Typology of OKRs for the PMO

How do OKRs factor into the PMO? In this blog, we dive into the five key types of OKRs fit for your Project Portfolio Management.

You may wonder why OKRs are necessary for Project Management Office (PMO) management. After all, isn't it easier to simply write and follow a project plan?

Well, not quite.

As projects progress and change throughout their lifecycle, you'll find that your plan will fast become out of date. And while this plan is still necessary, there's a clear difference between creating a roadmap and following a tangible framework that holds you to account.

With a set of OKRs, you can benefit from a living mechanism that:

  • Breaks down milestones
  • Boosts employee focus and productivity
  • Aligns your teams and business goals

Of course, one can't be without the other. Your strategic roadmap and OKRs must work together and inform your overall strategy.

Vitally, OKRs form the bridge between intended actions in the plan and the granular tasks within the projects.

With that in mind, let's dive into the "typology" of OKRs within the Project Management Office.

A Typology of OKRs for PMO Management

We'll begin this by saying that OKRs for individual, classic projects don't make much sense.

Non-exploratory projects will already have Objectives (O) and Key Results (KR). These are the business case of the project and the milestones and deliverables of the project, respectively.
But where OKRs really shine is in the management of a portfolio of projects within the PMO.

So, without further ado, here's a breakdown of five types of OKRs that could be useful. We've offered a couple of examples for each to help you along.

1. Overall Project Performance OKRs

These OKRs aim to improve the overall execution of projects. They typically deal with the classic components of project management, such as budget, schedules, and resources.

Examples:

O: Develop adoption of project management methodologies

KR: 70% of projects in our portfolio/PMO follow one of the pre-defined project templates

KR: 85% of projects pass their gates according to plan

O: Improve resource utilization

KR: 90% of our resources are used at 90% capacity

KR: Idle time on projects due to lack of resources <5%

O: Improve budget alignment

KR: 80% of projects completed within budget

KR: 90% of projects have budget variation <10% of the total assigned budget

2. PMO Performance OKRs

These OKRs aim to improve the overall functioning of the PMO, ensuring support is provided to both the projects and executives.

Examples:

O: Improve reporting turnaround time

KR: Monthly portfolio reports prepared in less than 8 hours

KR: 85% of requests for additional information responded to within 24 hours

O: Accelerate onboarding of new Project Managers (PM)

KR: 90% of newly hired Project Managers (with less than 5 years' experience) to complete PM training within 3 months of their arrival

KR: 95% of new hires in the Project Management area to complete company PM onboarding training within 3 weeks of their arrival

O: Improve overall Team Health

KR: 90% of team members report a 4+ satisfaction rate with their working conditions

KR: 90% of meetings considered "useful" by team members

3. Portfolio Management OKRs

These OKRs aim to improve the performance of the portfolio and its alignment with your company's overall strategy.

Examples:

O: Improve alignment of the portfolio on the overall company strategy

KR: 85% of projects in portfolio contribute to at least one company Objective

KR: 70% of projects in the portfolio contribute more than 10% to one company Objective

O: Maximize Value-to-Customer Across the Portfolio

KR: Facilitating the new user testing group process

KR: X % response rate on customer surveys

KR: Implementing X customer-oriented KPIs

If you'd like to learn more about OKRs in Portfolio Management - and in particular Strategic Portfolio Management - we recommend downloading our in-depth eBook.

4. Product Management OKRs

These OKRs center around your product performance and end-user needs.

Examples:

O: Better understand our end users

KR: Carry out an in-depth survey of 50 users, with at least 7 for each of our 4 personas

KR: Run NPS campaign in-tool with 75% response rate

KR: Analyze data from 90% of Q1 help desk requests

O: Improve performance of our product

KR: Reduce bug-related support tickets by 10%

KR: Increase response time of app to less than 2 seconds

Want to learn more about OKRs in Product management? Read these articles:

  • https://www.romanpichler.com/blog/okrs-in-product-management/
  • https://ganotnoa.com/4-fundamental-mistakes-you-are-making-with-product-okrs/

5. Innovation OKRs

The following OKRs relate to how businesses can foster innovation within their teams.

Examples:

O: Create a safe space for our people to innovate

KR: Implement an ideation platform open to all employees

KR: Launch an ideation campaign around how to connect and engage multidisciplinary teams across our locations

KR: 70% of employees worldwide have connected to the ideation platform within 3 months of launching

KR: Each function proposes 10 new ideas on the platform by year-end

O: Map our innovation portfolio and performance

KR: List all current and prospective innovation projects throughout the organisation by the end of the quarter

KR: Build a map of the blocks that prevent us from exploring innovative ideas by year-end

KR: Review capital allocation to innovation projects and determine whether capital is trapped in non-progressing projects

Generate OKRs Fit for the PMO

Objectives and Key Results are the glue that holds your project plans together. But they can also be highly effective for the running of your project portfolio within the PMO, too.

From measuring overall project performance to supporting innovation, there are plenty of OKR types that can be of use.

If you're ready to level up your OKR game or streamline the management of your project portfolio management, why not adopt a tool that'll enhance the process? Take a look at how Planisware Orchestra could better align your project management.