Many of us are familiar with OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) and how they can guide our growth. But there’s a key part of the process that most teams avoid: monthly reviews.
To clarify, the monthly review is not a performance review for employees. Rather, it’s a moment to pause, reflect on what was accomplished in the past month, and gives teams the space to strategize and prioritize going into the next month.
Between daily stand-ups, one-on-ones, weekly wrap ups, and everything in between, adding another meeting onto everyone’s calendar can feel like too much.
Any decision to introduce a new recurring meeting should not be taken lightly. We’re talking tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars when calculating the number of hours spent in meetings.
If done well, monthly reviews save time, increase focus, and reduce the potential for teams to spend valuable time and energy on low-leverage or misaligned work.
The Significance of Team Monthly Reviews
OKRs serve as your team’s north star, highlighting the path of progress for our teams. But in the daily whirlwind of tasks and projects, it’s all too easy for teams to lose sight of the bigger picture. Even worse, as more time passed from the moment goals are set, less focus is paid to the highest-leverage actions. Time and attention are usurped by reactive, low-leverage tasks.
Team monthly reviews act as a compass, reorienting us toward our shared OKRs. They allow us to celebrate our collective progress, identify gaps, and align our efforts with our overarching objectives. Teams that review OKRs together and on a regular cadence stay highly aligned and focused.
The Anatomy of a Stellar Team Monthly Review
A fruitful team monthly review is much more than a routine check-in. It’s a moment for your team to reflect on your shared OKRs, learn from your collective experiences, and strategize for the journey ahead.
Monthly reviews also don’t need to be long, drawn-out meetings. They can be concise, clear, and even done asynchronously.
Consider incorporating these key components:
Team Achievements: Begin by acknowledging the progress your team has made toward your OKRs.
Challenges & Lessons Learned: Every journey encounters roadblocks. Tackle them head-on as a team and learn for the future.
Team Dynamics: Reflect on how your team members have collaborated and contributed to the OKRs.
Opportunities for Growth: Identify areas for improvement, with a focus on enhancing team synergy and OKR attainment.
Goal Setting: Having reflected, it’s time to plan the next steps for your team with OKRs in mind.
Overcoming the Challenges of Consistent Team Monthly Reviews
Consistency is often the trickiest part of team monthly reviews. Schedules conflict, structures may be lacking, and enthusiasm can wane. Luckily, these are all manageable challenges.
For CEOs and VPs, the key to long-term adoption is reassuring employees that establishing productive monthly reviews can take several months to get right, and that the process is not about discipline, but about carving a shared path forward.
Launching Team Monthly Reviews
Starting a new team habit can be daunting. Here are some tips to facilitate the process:
Adopt a Structured Approach: Define a clear agenda and roles for each review, with an emphasis on OKRs.
Balance is Key: While it’s crucial to celebrate team successes, also acknowledge areas for improvement concerning your OKRs.
Embrace the right tools: Leverage tools like Notion to track OKRs and streamline the review process.
Foster a Positive Environment: Encourage open, constructive feedback on your team’s OKR progress. Reiterate to team members that criticism should come with potential solutions.
Resources and Recommendations
To learn more about effective team management, OKRs, and conducting productive reviews, “Measure What Matters” by John Doerr is a fantastic resource that couples in-depth guides with interesting case studies from companies like IBM, Google, and YouTube.
There are lots of ways monthly reviews can fail, or just get abandoned over time. It takes consistency and clear reinforcement from leadership to leverage monthly reviews effectively.One of the core principles of OKRs is that — due to their quarterly timeline — teams have four opportunities to define ambitious goals that drive the company forward, while being far more actionable and specific than annual goals. In a similar vain, monthly reviews provide twelve focused moments per year to re-align teams, celebrate wins, and steer teams toward growth.
The path to big wins begins with small, consistent steps.