Plato Elevate Winter Summit has been announced (Dec 7th-8th)

🔥

Back to resources

Setting the Right OKRs With Your Team

Goal Setting
Collaboration

12 August, 2020

Melby Mathew
Melby Mathew

Engineering manager at LinkedIn

Melby Mathew, Engineering Manager at LinkedIn, explains why the collaborative goal-setting yields the best results and how that helped his team improve their performance beyond expected.

Problem

As a SEO team, we were set an objective to increase our page indexing in Google to 7 percent. While that came as an overall objective from management we were tasked to come up with our own OKRs that would help us achieve that objective. At that point, we were trending at minus 4 percent that meant that our indexing was going down and that we had to grow 11 percent in order to reach the targeted 7 percent.

Actions taken

I called up a meeting inviting everyone on the SEO team, including PMs, engineers, project managers, etc. We were all gathered together in a large conference room when I divided the group into very small teams mixing people with different competencies. I handed each team a pile of sticky notes and encouraged them to think through the problem and come up with whatever silly ideas they had.

I facilitated the session encouraging input from all the teams and having all ideas written on sticky notes. Then, we would place sticky notes in a quadrant that was divided by the level of effort it would take and the impact it would create. Before placing any note in quadrant people would have to explain why that idea would, for example, require small effort and have high impact, and everyone got to vote on that.

Obviously, we decided to first consider ideas that would require small effort and have high impact, and then we would discuss in greater detail each of them. We would pick up five sprint stories for the upcoming quarter aiming to accomplish an 11 percent increase. Then, we developed stories and tasks, rolled our sleeves up and at the end of the quarter, we managed to reach 13 percent which meant that we made a total increase of 17 percent.

Lessons learned

  • Involve your team in goal-setting as much as you can rather than pushing it top-down and the participatory approach will doubtlessly have a positive impact on the ownership and engagement. Also, invite everyone on the team to share their input, not only PMs. The collaboration will reinforce a sense of a common goal that everyone will try to achieve by working together.
  • Some ideas that were proposed were more technical than the others. Some were not technical at all. But having people across different competencies together, spurred some novel ideas that engineers would have to dissect and see if they were feasible at all. Collaborative brainstorming was particularly rewarding to engineers who felt that they are working on the ideas they conceptualized instead of receiving requirements from product and just nodding their heads. Having a sense of ownership made them more invested in the process and the whole process was faster and more engaging.

Discover Plato

Scale your coaching effort for your engineering and product teams
Develop yourself to become a stronger engineering / product leader


Related stories

Specialization vs. Wearing Many Hats

23 November

William Bajzek, Director of Engineering at Sapphire Digital, compares and contrasts a team structure that utilized siloed skill sets and one where everybody’s duties overlap at the edges.

Internal Communication
Collaboration
William Bajzek

William Bajzek

Director of Engineering at Sapphire Digital

Mergers and Acquisitions: Collaboration tools hold a key to bringing cultures together

23 November

Neelima Annam, Sr Director Information Technology at Outmatch, shares how something as minor as collaboration tools can be a BIG issue during mergers and acquisitions.

Acquisition / Integration
Internal Communication
Collaboration
Neelima Annam

Neelima Annam

Sr. Director Information Technology at Outmatch HCM

How to Build Rapport With an Introverted Manager

17 November

Piyush Dubey, Senior Software Engineer at Microsoft, shares his journey of climbing up the career ladder through awkward times dealing with an introverted manager.

Managing Expectations
Internal Communication
Collaboration
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Juniors
Piyush Dubey

Piyush Dubey

Senior Software Engineer at Microsoft

The Benefits of Stakeholder Communication

17 November

Piyush Dubey, Senior Software Engineer at Microsoft, shares how to understand the stakeholder communication process better and why it is essential.

Meetings
Internal Communication
Collaboration
Ownership
Stakeholders
Piyush Dubey

Piyush Dubey

Senior Software Engineer at Microsoft

How to Work With People Who Are Different Than You

11 November

Rajesh Agarwal, VP & Head of Engineering at Syncro, shares how effectively he collaborated with a newly-joined team as a diverse candidate.

Acquisition / Integration
Leadership
Collaboration
Cultural Differences
Rajesh Agarwal

Rajesh Agarwal

VP and Head of Engineering at Syncro

You're a great engineer.
Become a great engineering leader.

Plato (platohq.com) is the world's biggest mentorship platform for engineering managers & product managers. We've curated a community of mentors who are the tech industry's best engineering & product leaders from companies like Facebook, Lyft, Slack, Airbnb, Gusto, and more.