Dec 2, 2019

Using Mind Maps for Visualizing Тeam Goals in OKR Framework

Team Goal Setting, Communication, and Tracking - Implementation of the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) Methodology via Mind Maps

Upon closer acquaintance with the OKR methodology, it becomes clear that the most important aspects are the clarity and coherence of objectives and key results. The specific implementation method of the methodology (such as choosing software tools) is not as crucial as ensuring that the objectives and key results are appropriate and effectively communicated among team members. Software should simply facilitate easy browsing, tracking, and assessment of achievements. The abundance of software tools in this field is somewhat surprising, as there is little that can be automated here. Introducing additional software tools may even exacerbate the situation, as each tool requires additional attentional shifts, and our resources for this are limited.
In certain cases (particularly when the entire organization is located in one office), the entire methodology can be implemented on paper without the need for software.

Given all of the above, it is reasonable to consider mind maps as a suitable tool for implementing OKR. To clearly demonstrate how this can be done, I took the OKR examples listed in the most well known book on this subject area: John Doerr - Measure That Matters and demonstrated how these examples would appear on mind maps to assess the effectiveness of this approach in maintaining the OKR system for various use cases.

The attached mind map also contains recommended web resources and books from there.

Below is the full-size image of the mind map, and here is the mind map itself, hosted using online mindmapping tool (unlike competitors, this tool is free and have no limitation on number of mind maps, although its visualization features leaves much to be desired).

I would like to highlight a few moments that seem the most important for me. Separate mind map branches were created for examples of "Paired KRs", as well as for "Weak vs. Average vs. Strong KRs" -  these examples are very useful for understanding the entire OKR methodology. Also, was considered a case from the book ("Operation Crush"), when the objective is formed from key results from two different higher order goals. The problem here is that not every mindmapping tool allows to merge such branches. To designate this merger, I decided to continue only one branch, and just mark the second one as merged with it - it seems as a quite a functional option for such cases - the corresponding equivalent branches (thru their labels) can be easily found by searching text on the mind map.

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