We have bold missions for how residents benefit from public services fit for the internet-era and we manage our work in small chunks so that we’re able to course-correct and we do that in a spirit consistent with our values.
Goal for the week
Develop a clear process for how we’re going to develop our objectives so that managers can lead.
What we did
Matt Ballantine saved this week. His podcast on OKRs came at just the right time to give me the focus I needed. We’re using OKRs a bit differently with our missions doing the heavy work of setting the aspirational goal, but the lessons are still transferable. It was useful to hear that Google aim to meet 60% of their objectives whilst other companies aim at nearer 80%. It gives us confidence not to aim for 100%.
I wanted to develop a formula for writing objectives which was as simple as a user story and, like a good user story, helped provoke a conversation about whether we’d understood the need, whether the activity fitted the need and the goal fitted the activity.
I wouldn’t claim to have achieved something with the simplicity and elegance of a user story. But I had three opportunities to test the formula. A small group of us used it to test a way of expressing an objective for the Space Bank project. It provoked exactly the right sort of conversation and following that, I made a tweak to distinguish between how our residents and the council will benefit.
The second opportunity was working with the leaders of our infrastructure team. Lindsay and Mal found the distinction in the ‘so that’ useful. It was particularly good to hear them say that they wanted to capture the benefits to residents as well as to the council and its staff. They also had a head-start on OKRs because they’ve thought really carefully about planning their work. They’re hoping we, as DMT, will help them decide what not to do so they can work at pace, better.
I also had a good session with Tony in print. I’m really keen that MOKRs works as well for services orientated towards BAU as it does for project teams, so was pleased to have the chance. We identified 8 areas for potential objectives and Tony will now use the template to work with some of his team to frame these as objectives.
I’ll be designing the workshop for team leads to come together and scrutinise the objectives. We’ll need to avoid the trap of covering ‘everything’ or doing so little in detail that some teams are short-changed.
I hope to provide more direct support to teams as I did for infrastructure and print.
And, if there’s time, I’d like to produce a prototype of the tool we’ll use to communicate our objectives to colleagues in other services. This may even slot in with the presentation I’m giving to housing senior management on Friday.