How to build a transparent OKR model to monday.com – case Sharper Shape
Sharper Shape, a Finnish-born but now global company, is a provider of automated drone and helicopter-based inspection services and software for electrical networks. They have been using the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) framework for managing the company and implementing the company's strategic goals for a couple of years. However, the software they used to track OKRs changed so that it no longer served the purposes of Sharper Shape. Gapps came to the rescue with monday.com.
Cooperation in brief
|Starting point||Keys to success||Result|
|Transferring the OKR model to new software.||
Active communication throughout the project and quick responses to questions and needs.
|A transparent and easy-to-use OKR process that supports the business.|
Starting point: OKR model is a tool for management only
In the OKR model, a company's strategy is divided into common objectives, key results, and tasks that can be cascaded down to the team and individual levels. At Sharper Shape, the OKR process and the software used for tracking and reporting underwent changes that made it no longer usable in the way it needed. Also, the process had become solely a management tool as only they had access to the system. Anyone familiar with the OKR model knows that transparency is essential for OKRs to move along smoothly. So it was time to find a new home for the OKR process.
Luckily the new home was close by. Sharper Shape has been using monday.com internally for various other processes so the employees wished that OKRs would be moved there as well. This made perfect sense. Using familiar software for OKRs would increase transparency within the company.
The goal: an improved OKR process
The switch to a different program meant that Sharper Shape could tweak the process, making it even better than it was. So Sharper Shape envisioned what an ideal OKR process would be like. Experts from Gapps translated this vision into a development plan.
"It was great that Gapps listened to our needs and built a feasible plan for creating the OKR process on monday.com based on our wishes. Truly listening to the customer is valuable in a good partner," says Tiina Hynninen, Chief of Staff at Sharper Shape. "We quickly found common ground with Gapps. In our first discussions with them, we felt heard and rapidly established a shared understanding. Our timeline was tight, and Gapps was able to respond to it really quickly," Tiina describes the start of the project.
Sami Lehtonen, Sharper Shape's Senior Product Manager, echoes Tiina's sentiments:
"Gapps showed desire and enthusiasm to find a way to build the OKR process in monday.com. We quickly reached an agreement on the content and how the project would progress."
The OKR process was built in monday.com piece by piece
We began the project by examining Sharper Shape's current practices, how the OKR process was built, and engaging in discussions about their needs and desires regarding the OKR process. We wanted to understand specifically what they would like to improve in the existing process.
After the groundwork, the technical implementation began. At the very beginning of the project, we made some adjustments to the original direction based on Sharper Shape's refined requirements.
"The change in direction was managed by Gapps in a swift and agile manner. This shows that the project was well-resourced on their part."
We built the process piece by piece and as each element started taking shape, we showed Sharper Shape how the OKRs would look visually on monday.com and how they would be used there. Getting feedback throughout was an essential part of each phase.
"In general, we always got what we wanted, allowing us to smoothly progress in the project," Tiina explains.
Sharper Shape has been using monday.com for various purposes for a couple of years, including digital production management, project management, and deliveries. The fact that monday.com was an integral part of many different processes made it natural to house the OKR process there as well.
Improving transparency was another reason. Sharper Shape wanted OKRs to be visible to everyone. So teams were given the ability to link, refer to, and copy them as their own goals.
"Monday enables a lot. It would be difficult to imagine managing processes without it. One good feature of monday is that it adapts to changing situations," describes Sami.
It comes as no surprise that we here at Gapps agree.
"Monday.com is well-suited for managing various processes, no matter how traditional or complex they are. Especially for the OKR process, monday is a natural tool. In addition to transparency, it allows for better communication, as discussions can take place under individual objectives," says Krista Nykänen, Project Manager at Gapps.
Should you build it yourself or use a partner?
Monday.com can be implemented independently, allowing users to build the desired functionalities themselves. In this case, it is a good idea to have someone in the organization who is familiar with the program to support self-building and act as the main user.
However, building a new business process even in a familiar program can be time-consuming and require expertise. To get the best possible result, using a partner who can see beyond your accustomed usage and construct the best possible process is beneficial.
There’s also the resource argument. The project with Sharper Shape lasted approximately a month, with a couple of weeks dedicated to technical development. Very few internal software experts can allocate a couple of weeks of working hours for development work alongside everything else they have to do.
In fact, limited resources were the primary reason for Sharper Shape to rely on the expertise of an external partner.
"Our capacity was at its limit. We had an extremely tight schedule for the transition and many other projects alongside it. We couldn't assign anyone to work on the project internally. It was clearer to get help from external experts," Tiina explains.
Another reason was to gain insights from an external sparring partner.
"As Gapps also uses OKRs themselves, they were able to provide guidance and exchange ideas with us about how our OKR process could look."
Ideally, the transition of an important management process from one tool to another is carried out in a controlled manner with a partner. It is beneficial to leverage the partner's expertise, at the very least in a consultative role, to determine the best way to construct the process in the new system.
The entire project can also be entrusted to the partner, as Sharper Shape did. In this case, the partner takes responsibility for identifying the existing process and areas for development, building the new process technically, and training users on the new way of working.
Both approaches can work well. It ultimately depends on the organization's resources and expertise on which course of action is the right way.
Outcome: a transparent and user-friendly OKR process that supports the business
Sharper Shape's OKR process has now been in use on monday.com for a couple of months. The project was completed even slightly ahead of schedule.
The greatest benefit has been that implementing OKRs across the company has become much easier. Individuals who own OKRs can easily fill in and update their progress in the system themselves. Even employees who had never used monday.com before were able to update their statuses in the program within minutes. Teams have used ready-made templates to set team-specific OKRs and link them to company goals.
“Working with Gapps has been a perfect service. I'm really satisfied.”
Tiina Hynninen, Chief of Staff, Sharper Shape
Active communication is the key to success
For the success of projects, the most crucial task is proactive and open communication. That's why having weekly meetings and maintaining an open line of communication between us and Sharper Shape was crucial.
"I liked the fact that we established regular meetings and a forum for communication. We received immediate answers to our questions. Progress was monitored regularly, and we knew that we were on the same page with Gapps, moving towards our goals," Tiina summarizes the successful communication during the project.
Of course, the expertise of the professionals also plays a role in the outcome.
"It was very gratifying to have experts from Gapps who knew what they were doing, were collaborative, capable, and even pleasant!"
Sharper Shape is an internationally operating provider of automated drone and helicopter-based inspection services for power grids. Sharper Shape's core expertise lies in sensor systems and software solutions developed for automating inspections. These solutions enable the safe, fast, and cost-effective inspection of power lines, which were previously carried out manually and were expensive.
By creating a digital twin called Living Digital Twin of the power line network, Sharper Shape's technology allows for the efficient identification and prioritization of network maintenance tasks, as well as the planning of vegetation management around the network. In the field of condition assessment services for the energy sector, the company represents the absolute cutting edge, as no other company offers both data collection and processing on the same scale.