I'm a software developer and I don't have deep knowledge of the best practices around Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), so I base my question mostly on how they are used in my company.

Every quarter we have an OKR week where we add personal OKRs based on what we plan to finish this quarter. My OKRs are mostly epics from issue tracker, so there's a little bit of duplication that bothers me. But that's a small thing.

What really bothers me is that I get a waterfallish vibe from the whole idea of planning things for 3 months in advance (and then the first line of real code makes this plan outdated). It might work well for stable, old companies but for us as a startup it doesn't seem to provide much value as things tend to change very fast (ironically, this time it happened the next day after OKRs for a quarter have been finished).

I'd like to know if I'm correct in my attitude or may be I'm just missing something?

  • 1
    So... Is your question "This is Waterfall, am I right?" or "Do OKRs have any value in a fast-changing environment?" or something else? – Sarov Oct 31 '17 at 13:24
  • Both of the questions you quoted – SiberianGuy Oct 31 '17 at 17:08
  • Three-month OKRs (with business objectives) at the product level might make sense. An epic would represent the realization of one of those objectives. I have a harder time seeing values in individual OKRs at all, certainly not at that time scale. OKRs relate by definition to the business, and in a collaborative software environment, individual developers just don't relate that directly to the business. – yitznewton Nov 6 '17 at 22:26

My understanding of OKRs is that they are designed to focus on making people clear on the expected outcomes, not necessarily how you get there (i.e. completing a specific epic).

For example:

Objective: Increase monthly recurring revenue

  • Reduce churn by 3%
  • Migrate 5% of freemium customer base to tier 1 subscription product
  • Reach net average 1,000 additional subscription users per month


So perhaps the epic you're required to complete helps solve 1 or all 3 of those key results, it's not a key result in itself.

It's fine to have an individual objective of completing that epic in a set period of time, perhaps OKRs just aren't the right framework or process for that on an individual level.

Good luck!

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