Power BI goals for OKR


OKRs are here. You might already know this, if not you are very likely to hear about them soon.

What are OKRs?

  • An OKRs is a two-part statement, consisting of an Objective and Key Results, written to define company-wide quarterly goals at every level.
  • Objectives outline key strategic aims and what should be achieved.
  • Objectives are qualitative and describe the desired outcome.
  • Objectives should be inspirational and incite teams to action.
  • Objectives are measurable through Key Results, which define how the Objective is reached.
  • Key Results should quantify the Objective and have measurable metrics to track completion.

Why OKRs?

  • OKRs create organization-wide alignment and transparency, and ensure efforts at all levels are directed towards the same goals.
  • Implementing OKRs can facilitate behavioral changes towards collaboration, ownership and trackable accountability, and significantly increase the rates of timely goal achievement.

At this point it is also useful to call out the differences between OKRs and KPIs

  • OKRs provide the missing link between ambition and reality. They help you break out of the status quo and take you into new, often unknown, territory.
  • A KPI, on the other hand, measures the success, the output, quantity, or quality of an ongoing process or activity. They measure processes or activities already in place.
  • Very often, a KPI that needs improvement will be a starting point for creating an OKR, and it can become a Key Result of an Objective.

Power BI for OKR management

Now, let us dive into how Power BI can support OKR management.

Microsoft says, Goals is a data-driven, collaborative, and adaptable way to measure key business metrics and goals built directly on top of Power BI. Goals enables you to easily curate business metrics that matter most and aggregate them in a unified view. From there, you can measure progress against your goals, proactively share updates with your team, and dive deeper into their data when something needs further analysis. You can easily monitor the health of your business, bringing in data across multiple Power BI workspaces and create gorgeous scorecards to drive impact.

You start by creating a Scorecard. A scorecard brings together all the different goals and/or subgoals you are tracking. Here’s what a typical scorecard might look like:

Assign owners to a goal to drive alignment and accountability. Status of a goal tells you if something is on track or behind. In the scorecard view, you can track the latest progress using the built in sparkline and see when the goal is due. You can dig deeper into the data and add notes to proactively keep the team up to date with your progress.

In my OKRs example, I have two goals (Objectives) for my OKRs and I am tracking them over a 3 month period.

Goal 1: is about my blog — M365 beyond the basics: Goal statement: employees learn something new and are delighted with the knowledge they get from the blog, so they love coming back for more and actively recommend the blog to colleagues.

Goal 2: is about creating a writing habit to write everyday: Goal statement: Make writing a habit.

Each of these goals, have subgoals which are Key Results to track lead measures that help achieve the main objectives.

Key Results for Goal 1:

Key Results for Goal 2:

Goal detailsThe goals details pane provides the entire history for the goal from the start date, including check-ins, status changes, and relevant notes. To access the details pane, simply navigate to a scorecard, and select the goal name.

Check-insCheck-ins are how you update the status of the goal. Through the check-in experience within scorecards you add or update the following:

  • Goal value(s) (if goal value is not connected a Power BI report).

  • Status, can be set manually or set up based on rules.

  • Notes on a data point.

Create your scorecard

It is easier to author goals and a scorecard than it is to create Power BI reports.

Start from a blank scorecard, add a Goal and start defining the data right there in the scorecard. Type in a name and select a person (or group) as the owner. Choose whether the targets and values are data driven. If you want to define targets directly in the scorecard simply type them in, but they can be connect to data from a Power BI app or report. You can also connect goals targets to reports from multiple different workspaces, enabling and truly consolidate all your business data into a single unified view.

Example of a data-driven goal: I have a Power BI report that reports on number of user feedback and the net promoter score for the blog. This is a data visual in a larger Power BI report that I have connected this goal to. So the target I have set for myself is to double the current value, the current value comes from the Power BI report visual.

View and edit your scorecard In Teams

Like Power BI reports, scorecards can also be tabbed into Teams and you can edit and check in directly from inside Teams. Add a tab, select the Power BI app and then select the scorecard from the workspace, all inside the Power BI app inside Teams.

Final thoughts

Power BI goals is a good choice for a tool to manage both personal and organization wide OKR management, and a great choice if your data and reports are already based in Power BI. It could be the ideal choice considering the larger ecosystem of Teams, Power Automate, PowerApps, SharePoint and the rest of Office365 if you already use them.

What I see is missing and would like to see the product evolve with is rollup of subgoals data to main goals, automatically cascade data driven goals across all the different levels of the organization and more integration to data in the rest of the Microsoft 365 suite of tools.

Power BI Goals requires a pro license for every user that uses or consumes the information on the scorecards or a Workspace with a premium license and users themselves can edit and access the information the scorecards with their current default licenses. For all the licensing details visit the Power BI blog from Microsoft or speak to your account Manager at Microsoft.

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