5 Signs it’s Time to Ditch Your OKR Spreadsheets

The best business leaders know that success is only possible for those who actively work toward it. While it’s important to set long-term goals for where you want to be, it’s even more important to understand how you will get there. This is where goal planning and tracking come into play.

Goal-setting can quickly become overwhelming when business leaders are faced with the sheer volume of goals and various data points that need to be measured to monitor progress. While Excel spreadsheets are a popular choice for goal tracking, they can quickly become unwieldy and difficult to manage. There are several benefits of using software to keep up with your goals. From real-time tracking and visualization to improved collaboration and communication, these tools can help you streamline your goal-setting process and make it easier to achieve your objectives.

What is OKR Software?

OKR software is a tool that helps businesses and organizations set, track, and achieve their goals. OKR stands for “Objectives and Key Results” and refers to a methodology that involves establishing clear and measurable objectives and key results to track progress towards those objectives. OKR software is designed to help teams implement this methodology, providing features that help them stay on track and measure progress as they scale. In addition, OKR software often includes tools for collaboration and communication, making it easier for teams to work together and stay organized. Whether you’re a small business owner looking to streamline your goal-setting process or a large organization trying to stay agile and responsive, OKR software can help you achieve better results and improve performance.

If you’re not sure how to get started with OKRs, check out our free guide with OKR templates.

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The five signs

Let’s dive into it. There are five tell-tale warning signs that your lack of intuitive software systems is affecting your ability to scale and it might be time to upgrade your tracking systems.

1) You’re spending too much time on data entry and formatting

One of the biggest downsides of using spreadsheets to track OKR data is the amount of time it takes to enter, format, and maintain the information. Excel’s VBA formatting is helpful for quick data updates, but the bottom line is that spreadsheets just don’t cut it when you’re looking at multiple data points and sources across various departments and teams.

OKR software allows you to automate data updates rather than doing it manually, eliminating the need for “busy work” and maintenance tasks that come with goal management so you can focus on hitting your targets. If you find that you’re spending more time on these tasks than on actually analyzing and using the data to drive decision-making, it might be time to consider using software designed specifically for OKR implementation.

2) You’re experiencing difficulty with data accuracy

Inconsistencies seem inevitable when juggling multiple metrics across various OKRs and KPIs, especially if the system that you’re using is not intuitive enough to catch errors. Spreadsheets can be prone to errors when multiple people are entering data or if you’re copying and pasting from other sources. If you’re noticing discrepancies in your OKR data, it could signify that it’s time to switch to a more reliable platform.

On the other hand, you may not even realize that your data is inaccurate in the first place, leading to miscommunication and false reporting that can drastically affect your numbers before you have a chance to course-correct.

3) You lack real-time visibility into progress

Spreadsheets are static, meaning you have to manually update them to see the latest data. This can make it challenging to get a real-time understanding of how your OKRs are progressing, which can hinder your ability to make timely and data-informed decisions. OKR software, on the other hand, offers real-time tracking and visualization tools that make it easier to see how your team is progressing. If a team member is out of the office or unreachable for any reason, you can still check their numbers and be sure that the data is currently accurate.

4) Your team struggles with communication and collaboration

Spreadsheets can be a solitary experience, especially if you’re the only one updating and maintaining them. This can make it difficult to get a holistic view of OKR progress and can hinder collaboration and communication within your team. OKR software, on the other hand, often includes features like team dashboards and comment threads that can help facilitate collaboration and keep everyone on the same page.

Certain software also have built-in tools designed specifically to improve communication. For example, Align’s “meetings” interface, Huddles 2.0, allows users to schedule and run various types of meetings, including 1:1s, all-hands meetings, quarterly target reviews, and more. Having distinct templates for each type of meeting helps ensure that your meetings are productive and efficient for collaboration.

5) You’re not hitting your goals

Several business leaders who use OKR software report a significant improvement in hitting targets after they started using software. For most who don’t hit their goals, it can be difficult to put your finger on the reason why. Leaders often try adjusting their targets, assigning different team members to tasks, and redoing their budget to no avail – when the reason they aren’t succeeding could ultimately be that the team is misaligned. Using software to manage your business helps ensure that no boxes are left unchecked in your strategic execution process and that your team has everything they need to hit their targets.

As your organization grows and your OKR process becomes more sophisticated, the spreadsheet approach may become unwieldy. Every business looks to scale up, but as you do, it’s natural for your systems and operations to become outdated. Graduating to newer, more advanced systems is a good thing and a sign of purposeful growth. If you find that you’re struggling to keep track of all of your OKRs and the various dependencies and interrelationships between them, it might be time to consider using a tool that can help you manage the complexity.

Final Thoughts

Overall, spreadsheets can quickly and easily become a burden or hindrance to your progress. More businesses are migrating their operations to the cloud in the 2020s for reasons including cybersecurity, functionality and convenience, affordability, and more. While it may take some time and effort to make the transition, the benefits are likely to be well worth it.

If you’re ready to get started with OKR software, check out our guide to help determine which software might be best for your business. For a firsthand look at Align’s OKR software, book your demo today.

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