Following up on the article about OKRs, Epics & Stories, I have an exercise that I always use when explaining to the teams I coach why I think this is a good idea.

Exercise with OKRs

Cucumber Solution

For the whole Cucumber Solution we have 3 Objectives, like:

  • We have the fastest Cucumber process of doing transactions
  • Our solution has the most efficient calculation of Cucumber data
  • We provide the Cucumber report in the most seamless way

These are the big solution Objectives for the next OKRs Cycle.

Now, these Objectives have 3-5 Key Results each, clear Outcomes that help us track some progress towards the Objective.

From the framework OKRs – Epics – Stores, the OKRs part is defined. What happens next is that the team(s) now define how many Epics they need to reach any of the 3 Objectives. Remember that an Epic is a bigger functionality that cannot be delivered in 1 iteration. So it ends, it’s not a label, a category of activities.

For the fastest Cucumber process of doing transactions 5 Epics might be enough to reach some key results, for most efficient calculation of Cucumber data maybe 8 Epics will be needed and for Cucumber report in the most seamless way 4 Epics will be enough.

So, 3 Objectives and 17 Epics for the next period of time of our Cucumber Solution. You can split the 17 Epics into Stories from the beginning, or prepare only next 2-3 sprints and then split them Just in Time and Just Enough, nevertheless you commit on reaching the Objectives, not doing the Stories, Outcome not Output.

Conclusion

You will get better at this over time so you might reach the conclusion after 5 sprints that one Epic is not needed anymore because you discovered another way, better way, of doing some functionality. Or you may add another Epic that you did not think of in the beginning. Responding to change over following a plan, remember?

Your commitment doesn’t change, the Objectives, the Outcome, the What. The output of your sprints, the How, can and should get better with time, you will be more efficient, you will work smarter rather than harder, you will become more mature and, by using Objectives that drive your activities, you also have focus over this team development process.