A common misconception about OKRs is that you can do them in a spreadsheet — because, at first glance, you can. After all, at the company level, it is not that difficult to keep track of a few Objectives with several Key Results each.
And then, you go one level lower and add department-level OKRs to the list. And then the teams. And then individuals. And eventually, it gets to the point where it takes you an hour to go through everyone’s OKRs and understand how well your team is doing. Coincidentally, creating detailed C-level reports becomes a full-day task.
With an OKR Dashboard, this would take less than a minute. And in this article, we will cover:
- What is an OKR Dashboard
- What a perfect OKR Dashboard should provide
- OKR Dashboard structure
- How to set up an OKR Dashboard
If this is the first time you have heard about OKRs, check out our OKR guide and learn the basic rules of this framework. Then you will have a better understanding of what is going on with the Dashboards below and why they are built this way.
What is OKR Dashboard
An OKR dashboard is a tool used to track and visualize progress toward achieving OKRs (Objectives and Key Results). It includes a set of metrics and shows them in various formats: charts, graphs, or tables to help users understand and analyze the data.
There are two main tasks that an OKR Dashboard accomplishes:
- It provides a bird’s eye view of your team’s or company’s goals and the progress made toward them. With this data, you can identify potential problems and blockers, track performance over time, and make data-driven decisions to improve results.
- It allows you to generate executive reports with minimum effort, leveraging gathered and organized data.
An OKR dashboard can also provide transparency and accountability within a team or organization. By displaying progress towards goals in a public, accessible format, team members can hold each other accountable for their performance and work collaboratively towards achieving shared objectives.
Finally, an OKR dashboard can be used to monitor and evaluate performance at various levels, from individual team members to the entire organization. This allows teams to identify areas of strength and weakness and make strategic decisions to optimize performance and achieve their goals.
What a Perfect OKR Dashboard Should Provide
To make OKR management and reporting easy, an OKR Dashboard should provide:
- Real-time data. You should be able to see the relevant data, not forecasts or suppositions. Ideally, you should have information on all tasks related to the OKRs and the progress made toward completing them. The more data, the better.
- Customization. You want to be able to quickly switch between teams and periods to have a full picture. Of course, you could always create multiple static Dashboards, but that tends to overcomplicate many things.
- OKR Visualization. Numbers are great, but having a graph or a chart to showcase performance over time is always welcome. In addition to providing a helpful visual aid, it tends to impress corporate executives and can serve as a foundation for your report.
- OKR Reporting. Reporting is one of the most time-consuming tasks in modern management, and a proper OKR Dashboard can greatly streamline it. For example, it can export the gathered data as a PDF or support a public API for a third-party visualization tool.
OKR Dashboard Structure
There are many ways to build an OKR Dashboard, depending on your needs and available data. However, an ideal OKR Dashboard, in our opinion, should contain:
- Owner of the Dashboard.
- Time frame of the listed OKRs.
- List of OKRs, and their owners;
- Status for each of the listed OKRs;
- Total number of OKRs per team\user;
- Total number of OKRs with different statuses;
- Weekly check-in results and comments on them;
- Confidence levels and forecasts;
- Visual aids on the progress made towards OKRs;
- Charts plotting group performance across different periods;
- Links to relevant Jira epics and tasks;
This list is by no means exhaustive — if you can come up with more data points, put them on the board. You can never have enough data. And here’s how exactly we are going to organize it.
How to Set Up an OKR Dashboard
There are three main kinds of OKR Dashboards, as they differ in the goals they attempt to achieve and the data they need. At Oboard, we call them a Starting Dashboard, a Tracking Dashboard, and a Reporting Dashboard.
- Starting OKR Dashboard. An extremely simple Dashboard meant for collaborative brainstorming of your company’s OKRs. You can’t do OKR tracking or management with it since it doesn’t have the necessary data or tools, but it is lightweight, easy to use, and serves as a great proof of concept.
- OKR Tracking Dashboard. A complicated and complex data processing machine that combines all the data you have on your OKRs and tasks. It often comes with a manual on how to use it and not break anything, but when set up properly — it can greatly streamline your OKR tracking and management process.
- OKR Reporting Dashboard. A customizable reporting template that grabs data gathered from the Tracking Dashboard and presents it in a manner that your manager or executive can easily understand. Tends to include visual aids and charts and requires more advanced tools than the other two.
Starting OKR Dashboard Template
This is the one you begin with, and it is supposed to be extremely simple. Therefore, you only need the first four data points from our list:
- Owner of the Dashboard.
- Time frame of the listed OKRs.
- List of Objectives and Key Results that belong to the Dashboard owner;
- Status for each of the listed OKRs.
You can write such a Dashboard yourself or copy a Starting OKR Dashboard Template by WhatMatters.com. It is very easy to understand and share with your collaborators as you come up with Strategic OKRs for your company.
However, once you are done with strategy and reach the more “tactical” level of departments and teams, you should switch to something more powerful.
OKR Tracking Dashboard Template
If the Starting Dashboard is minimalistic and lean, a Tracking Dashboard is the polar opposite. After all, it is the main OKR management tool in the company.
And before you ask, yes — you technically can build a Tracking Dashboard in Google Sheets. Coming up with all the functions needed won’t be easy, but thankfully Tomek Dabrowski has already risen to this challenge, and you can copy his Tracking OKR Dashboard Example.
That said, doing tactical-level OKRs in Google Sheets is a bad idea. We’ll elaborate on our reasons in the next section, but the short version is that they don’t work with large amounts of data the way we need them to. You could get away with it for a quarter or maybe two, but at some point, the processes will start falling apart — and the larger your company is, the faster you’ll get there. So before you even begin, you should consider starting work with a proper OKR management tool — like our OKR Board for Jira or OKR Board for Salesforce.
Why OKR Tracking Dashboards in Google Sheets Are a Bad Idea
Dabrowski’s Dashboard doesn’t have all the features we need in a Tracking Dashboard — nor does it provide you with many of the advantages we talked about earlier. That isn’t Tomek’s fault, he did his best, but Google Sheets simply aren’t optimized for real-time data tracking and representing it the way we need.
For example, since the OKR sheets still need to be filled in manually, you don’t get real-time data. Instead, you get “whenever Jim from Engineering remembers that he has an OKR” data, which is considerably less helpful. Especially if our hypothetical Jim already uses Jira for his task management and OKR Dashboard adds redundancy to his workflow. Remember, we are trying to do less busy work, not more.
And then there is the human factor. With Google Sheets, you do not get to foolproof your Dashboard. Either all the changes and logs in it should be added by a team leader (further increasing their workload and pulling them off important tasks), or everyone can change anything at any moment. Jim was in a hurry, typed in the wrong cell, and now the progress bar is stuck at “7/12/2023” percent? You better pray that the backups are relatively recent.
There are also issues with customization and visualization — while both are technically possible in Google Sheets, they require way more functions than is reasonably viable. Dabrowski’s template, for example, barely touches on either — the pages are static, and instead of a chart, you get the last two confidence level values. Still useful, but less so.
Overall, Dabrowski’s template is something we call an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). If you absolutely have to track OKRs, and all you have is Google Sheets, it can carry you for a quarter or two. On larger timescales and in larger teams, however, the number of tasks and data points expands geometrically, and the template’s shortcomings become apparent earlier.
OKR Reporting Dashboard Example (by Oboard)
Our own OKR Board for Jira (and Salesforce) provides features of both tracking and reporting Dashboards. It was built from the ground up to solve all the problems with OKR management, and ease of use has always been one of our priorities.
For example, we solved the real-time data issue by directly linking OKRs with Jira tasks and epics. Our OKR Dashboard constantly calls upon your Jira Board and pulls the progress data from your tasks the second they update, giving you a company-wide overview at-a-glance.
Here’s what it looks like:
You can use the filters on top of the page to customize the teams and periods you want to see at any given time. And then you can see the summary of everything that is going on with your company with our OKR Dashboard’s Performance Report:
But wait, there’s more — you can also represent the performance of any team on a chronological chart using the Home page widget!
And finally, as a metaphorical coup de grace — our Dashboard has built-in reporting tools that allow you to go beyond screenshots. Just install OKR Board for Confluence and turn your Confluence pages into miniature OKR Dashboards that you can share with executives in a single click.
To get to this point, you must have a correctly set up OKR Board with linked tasks and epics, and your entire team has to log their Jira work consistently. However, you want all that anyway — and once you figure it out, your reports start to write themselves.
Custom OKR Dashboards
Power up your Dashboards even further with Custom OKR Dashboards in Oboard! Select only the data points you need and then wrap it up in a sleek, easy-to-understand visualization that will be a perfect addition to your report. Ideal for OKR check-ins, quarterly reports, or corporate dashboards that provide a bird’s eye view of your progress toward a strategic goal.
To learn more about Custom OKR Dashboards, check out our Custom Dashboards Guide for a detailed breakdown.
OKR Dashboards Let You Work Smarter
OKRs may seem like a lot of work — especially if you are not used to tracking and marking your progress and are new to objective-based management. And yes, there are more reports and meetings than with more loose management frameworks. However, we hope that you can now turn this situation around and use OKR Dashboards to streamline and simplify your daily workflow.
We also have other useful OKR tools. For example, cross-department OKR roadmaps that help you align progress on company-wide objectives across multiple teams with dozens of people.
So if you want to motivate your employees, focus them on the same goal, and make their jobs easier, sign up for a demo with Oboard and start your trial right now. Or pick one of the templates above and start with them — just remember that you will need a proper tool down the line anyway. And if you need more information on OKRs or help with implementing them, our OKR consulting services are available!