[Tutorial] Quick guide to using the SugarOKR platform

Team SugarOKR
Team SugarOKR

Hello there!

This guide gives a quick overview of some key features and concepts of SugarOKR, as well as how to use the platform. On top of this guide, we highly recommend you also check out our guide to getting started with OKRs that will teach you how to correctly implement, plan, and win with OKRs (>90% of companies fail to reap the full rewards that OKRs provide due to improper planning at the start).

If you still have any questions, drop us an email at [email protected] and we’ll be more than happy to help you out. All the best!

 

Topics:

  1. Understanding Roles & Permissions
  2. Understanding OKR levels
  3. Inviting Users
  4. Creating OKRs
  5. Updating OKRs
  6. Reviewing OKRs
  7. Getting Help & Support

 


 

Understanding Roles & Permissions

In SugarOKR, users manage their OKRs in teams where they play either of two roles:

 

1. Team Leader

Team Leaders are the ones who manage the team and ensure all the team OKRs are progressing well. They have permission rights that are restricted only to the teams they are leading. They can create, edit and delete all their team OKRs, assign OKRs to their own Team Members, and add new members to their teams. Each team can only have one Team Leader.

2. Team Member

Team Members own the Objectives and Key Results that drive the team’s overall success. They can only create, edit and delete OKRs they directly own. They cannot assign OKRs to anyone else (but themselves), nor add new members to their teams.

 

Administrator

Administrators are users (Team Leaders or Team Members) that have been layered on with full permission rights to manage anything at a company-level. They can create new teams and departments, assign OKRs to anyone, and update anyone’s OKRs.

Note: Administrators are the only ones who can create and manage Company OKRs.

The matrix below provides a further breakdown of all roles & permissions. You can also find this matrix in the Admin tab of the platform.

 

Roles and Permissions matrix

The SugarOKR Roles & Permissions

 

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Understanding OKR Levels

In SugarOKR there are 3 main OKR levels you should be thinking about:

 

1. Company-level

Company OKRs are top-level OKRs that the CEO or senior managers should plan out first before anything else. Company OKRs are vision-driven and should represent the largest goals that the company wants to move towards. 

Once they are set, these OKRs should serve as a guidepost for the rest of the teams when planning their team-level OKRs. Team OKRs should ideally “link” and align to these top-level Company OKRs, though this doesn’t always have to be the case.

Note: Only Administrators can create Company OKRs

 

2. Department-level

Departments are the larger function that teams reside in. For example, the Marketing Department could comprise the Content Team, Ads Team, Social Media Team, etc. This is usually more relevant to larger organizations. Smaller organizations can do away with departments in SugarOKR if it’s not necessary (it is an optional field). 

Departments do not have their own unique OKRs per se, but rather, they inherit all the OKRs of their underlying teams. You can see the consolidated performance / progress of all teams within a department in the dashboard or departments tab in the side menu. New departments can be created in the Admin tab.

Note: Only Administrators can create new departments

 

3. Team-level

Team-level OKRs are the lifeblood of the organization. This is where all the action is. You can create new teams in the Admin tab or under “My Teams”. 

When creating teams, make sure to create a meaningful team name that everyone else in the organization can identify with. Every team needs to have a team leader (usually the team manager) who will own the progress of the team’s OKRs. Once again, you can assign teams to relevant departments if you wish.

Note: Only Administrators can create new teams

 

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Inviting Users

You can invite new users to join SugarOKR in two ways:

1. When you’re creating a team

2. In the Admin tab (under “Users”)

 

In SugarOKR, every user needs to be part of at least one team. Therefore, we highly recommend structuring out, and creating all your teams first. You can add users to those teams during (or after) that.

Once you’ve invited users, they will receive an email invitation to join SugarOKR. Periodic email reminders will be sent to them (as well as to the person who invited them) if they have yet to accept the invitation.

If the invitation was an error, you can stop everyone from getting these email reminders by removing them from the account altogether in the Admin tab (under “Users”). Note that only Administrators can remove (delete) users from the account.

Sweet tip: Before mass inviting users, the champion leading the OKR implementation as well as senior leaders should first get together to discuss and agree on the structure of the teams, as well as their members. This is to prevent duplicate or irrelevant “shell” teams which could make everything messy and cause confusion.

 

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Creating OKRs

There are three parts to creating OKRs: (1) Creating the Objective; (2) Adding Key Results to the Objective; (3) Customizing the Key Result’s unit measurements. In SugarOKR you can to do everything seamlessly in one single view.

 

1. Creating Objectives

Creating an OKR starts with the creation of the Objective. Remember that Objectives are big “qualitative” goals. Write an Objective that is motivating.

 

Creating Objectives in SugarOKR

Creating Objectives

 

Decide then if this is a company-level or team-level OKR. Company-level OKRs are stand-alone (not part of any team) and can only be set by an Administrator. If it’s a team-level OKR, select the relevant team from the drop-down list. You need to be either a Team Leader or Team Member of the team in order to select it.

Next, select who will be the owner of this Objective. This person will be responsible for ensuring all the underlying Key Results are on track. Note that Team Members can only assign OKRs to themselves.

Finally, indicate which time period (window) this Objective will be active for. SugarOKR currently works on a quarterly time frame (with Q1 running on Jan 01 – Mar 31). This is the recommended default.

Sweet tip: We highly recommend you start by creating new Objectives for the following quarter rather than creating them smack in the middle of the ongoing quarter. This is to give you more breathing space to plan, communicate, and make any last minute changes. You can see a recommended OKR planning timeline here.

 

2. Creating Key Results

Once your Objective has been created, start creating the Key Results that will help you hit that Objective. Key Results are specific, measurable, and time-bound metrics. They typically have a number attached to them.

 

Creating Key Results in SugarOKR

Creating Key Results

 

Just like Objectives, each Key Result needs to have an owner who will be directly responsible for hitting the metric goal. 

Sweet tip: In any given quarter, we recommend each team to have 3-5 Objectives, with each Objective comprising 3-5 Key Results. This range is where teams are most optimized and efficient. Whatever the case, use good judgement and remember that “less is more”.

 

3. Customizing Key Result Unit Measurements

By default, the progress of all Key Results within an Objective are measured as percentages (%) that go from 0-100%. They also have the same weightage as each other. However, you can customize all this to make it more relevant to your goal. Just click on the edit icon beside the % metric and you’ll enter the KR Goal Setup page.

 

Customizing your Key Result Unit Measurement

Customizing Key Result measurements

 

  • Unit Measurement & Start/End Values

Here, you can define your Key Result’s unit measurement (other than the default percentage %) so that it’s more relevant to your goal (e.g. $, leads, customers, articles, visitors, etc.). You can also adjust its starting and ending values. 

For example, if your goal is to write 20 content articles for the quarter, and you’ve already completed 5, your unit measurement could be “articles”, the start value will be “5” and the end value will “20” (representing 0% and 100% respectively).

 

  • Weightage of Key Results

You can also adjust the weightage of a Key Result. If you feel a particular Key Result is bigger or more important than the others (within the same parent Objective), you can increase its weightage (up to 4x) with respect to the rest. Similarly, if it’s a smaller, less important one, you can decrease its weightage.

For example, if an Objective has 3 Key Results, the weightage (by default) of each Key Result is split equally amongst all 3. This means each Key Result will contribute up to 33.33% of the overall Objective progress (100% divided by 3 Key Results). In other words, if you complete 1 Key Result fully (100%) and did not even start on the other 2 (0%), then the overall Objective progress will be 33.33% (OKR score of 0.3).

However, if you decide that one of the Key Results is say 3 times bigger or more important than the other 2, you can select “Increase by 3x”. The Objective will now split the weightage amongst 5 “parts” (1 Key Result that represents 3 parts, and the other 2 Key Results that represent 1 part each), with each part representing 20% (100% divided by a total of 5 parts). 

So the Key Result with the increased weightage will now contribute up to 60% of the overall Objective progress (20% multiplied by 3x). If you complete this Key Result fully (100%) and did not even start on the other 2 (0%), then the overall Objective progress will be 60% (OKR score of 0.6).

 

Linking Objectives

If you feel an Objective directly impacts another Objective, you can align the two by “linking” them together. The first Objective (child) then becomes a “Key Result” of the new Objective (parent), while still being the Objective to its original Key Results.

This also means progress % of the child Objective will impact the overall progress of the parent Objective.

Note that you can only link an Objective to one other (parent) Objective.

To start linking, go to the Objective details page and click “Click to link”. It will show you a list of Objectives you can link to. You cannot link to Objectives from previous quarters.

Once you have linked the Objective to another, you can see the relationship between them in the “Alignment” section at the bottom right of the page.

Note: Company Objectives can only link to other Company Objectives (since they are top-level goals). Team level Objectives can link to any Objective (team/company).

 

Linking Objectives together

Linking Objectives via the Objective page

 

Alignment section of the Objective

Seeing how the Objective links with other Objectives

 

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Updating OKRs

Updating the progress of OKRs should ideally be done on a weekly basis. You can update OKRs in the “My OKRs” page, the main Objective view page, or the Key Results view page itself. In the Key Results view page, besides using the progress bar slider, you can manually key in the exact value of the Key Result metric.

 

Updating via Objectives page

Updating Key Result progress bars at the Objectives page

 

Key Results details page

Updating Key Result progress bars at the Key Results page

 

Note that you cannot update the progress of an Objective manually. The progress of an Objective is determined entirely by the progress of its underlying Key Results. So when you update the progress of a Key Result, it’s parent Objective’s progress bar automatically updates (based on its weightage).

Sweet tip: Everyone should get into the culture and habit of updating their OKRs on a weekly basis. Team leaders should incorporate this in weekly team meetings / one-on-ones. When done consistently, it could take less than a minute each time for someone to update his/her OKRs. (The exception is if you are in charge of updating multiple people’s OKRs.)

 

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Reviewing OKRs

OKRs work best when there is full transparency within the organization. In other words, everyone should be able to see everyone’s OKRs and there should be no “secret OKRs”. Other than the teams/departments tabs on the sidebar menu, there are 3 other places you can check out to get a good overview of how everyone’s doing.

Before that, let’s first understand how progress statuses in SugarOKR are determined.

 

Progress Status

In SugarOKR, for every Objective and Key Result, there are 5 possible types of statuses: (1) Not Started; (2) At Risk; (3) Behind; (4) On Track; and (5) Back Burner.

The status is determined by comparing the OKR’s actual progress vs the expected progress. The expected progress is essentially how far the current quarter has progressed in % of days passed.

For example, if there are 92 days in the current quarter, and 62 days have already passed, the expected progress % is 67% (62 days / 92 days).

Hovering over a progress bar will automatically show where the expected progress is (white dotted line in the progress bar).

Expected OKR progress marker

The Expected Progress shows where you should be in the quarter

 

The statuses are colour-coded and automatically updated based on the following logic:

 

1. Not Started
All OKRs start here and remain at this status so long as progress is at 0%

2. At Risk
If the [Expected Progress] – [Actual Progress] is > 25%

3. Behind
If the [Expected Progress] – [Actual Progress] is <= 25% AND > 0%

4. On Track
If the [Actual Progress] is >= [Expected Progress] OR >= 70%

We encourage teams to create ambitious OKRs (stretch goals), and hit a completion target of 70-80%. So any progress that hits 70% is considered “On Track” in SugarOKR.

5. Back Burner
If you think an Objective or Key Result is no longer relevant to the Objective and you don’t want to delete it altogether, you can manually mark this as “Back Burner”. This is to help other people be aware of your decision and not wonder why some OKRs have mysteriously disappeared.

Once a Key Result is put to the Back Burner, the parent Objective’s progress and score will no longer be affected by it.

Putting an Objective to the Back Burner will also automatically put all its underlying Key Results to the Back Burner too.

 

Note: Overall user or team progress found in other sections are also determined via the same formulae.

 

1. Dashboard Reports

In SugarOKR, the dashboard allows anyone to get a quick snapshot on the progress of all active OKRs for the quarter. In one single view, you can see the consolidated progress of all OKRs at a company, team and individual (user) level. You can also see which teams are leading the pack with the furthest progress, as well as teams that are falling way behind.

 

Dashboard Reports to see everyone's progress

The SugarOKR Dashboard

 

Further down below, you can also see an OKR report table that allows you to slice and dice all OKRs by status, department, team, score, etc.

Sweet tip: Senior manager / leaders should monitor this dashboard weekly to determine which teams and individuals are falling behind, and take action before it’s too late.

 

2. Performance History

As time goes by, it will be helpful (especially for the senior management) to look back and see how everyone’s progress (team or individual) has been over the quarters.

 

OKR Progress History Chart

The OKR Progress History Chart

 

In this section of the dashboard, you can easily compare up to 5 entities across departments, teams and individuals. The unit of measure here is normalized to percentage (%).

 

3. Visualization Tree

The Visualization tab in SugarOKR allows you to see all OKRs across all teams within the entire organization in a single view (grouped by teams).

If you had linked OKRs together, expanding on the Objectives will show how they link up and align to each other. You can easily see what everyone is working on for the quarter, as well as understand how their work impacts other teams and the top-level (Company) OKRs.

The tree starts from the company OKRs (top-level OKRs), and breaks down further into the various team-level OKRs. Just click to expand to see how they align.

Progress bars are colour coded based on their status.

 

Visualize all OKRs in your organization with this view

The Visualization Tree

 

Sweet tip: Put the Visualization Tree up on a big screen in the office for everyone to see and stay updated with progress at any point in time. You can also reference this during company standups, townhalls, meetings, etc.

 

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Getting Help & Support

If you still have any questions or encounter problems using the platform, please send an email to [email protected] and we’ll address them right away.

Team SugarOKR
Team SugarOKR
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