This MVP failed.

We built Wowzers internally, intending to sell it commercially.
For over twelve months, Wowzers powered Wowzers' operations and those of its parent company and sister brands.

But it wasn't to be. The Wowzers project was axed in August 2023 owing to budget constraints. The tooling continues to be maintained and used internally but will not be developed further - at least for now. We'd like to thank our beta users and everyone who contributed.

We've left our website right as it was, should you be interested in learning more about Wowzers and the underlying technology behind it.

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Making ORKRs work for startups and Small Businesses

See how Kanvas, based on the world-renowned Business Model Canvas, helps you capture your business plan in minutes.

Written by Nick Brock
August 08, 2023

OKRs, a.k.a Objectives & Key Results, used by the likes of Amazon, Google, Intel and many others, are undoubtedly one of the most structured and accountable goal-setting frameworks out there.

For those unfamiliar with the term OKR, it stands for Objective and Key Results, where Objectives describe what you want to achieve, and Key Results are the milestones on the journey to achieving them.

There’s a bit more to them than that. If you’re new to OKRs or need a refresher, read this:

But OKRs are not without their criticism, and one of those most frequently levelled at the framework is that they’re not suited for startups and SMEs.

Problems with OKRs for startups and SMEs.

There are four problems with implementing OKRs in startups and SMEs.

#1 The cadence is too long.

The recommended OKR cadence is quarterly, an eternity in startup land. You may have even have pivoted within that timeframe. Measuring goals in months, not quarters might be more suitable for startups and SMEs.

#2 The structure suits mature corporates.

OKRs are typically divided into company, department, team and individual objectives. While your company might only constitute a team! Of course, you can skip the levels that are not relevant, but it gives you an indication of the size and type of company that OKRs were designed for.

#3 CFRs are resource intensive.

OKRs require you to conduct regular CFRs (Conversion, Feedback, Recognition) meetings with your team. An admirable goal, but quite the commitment, and one that can be achieved through other means. Better to move to the CFR framework when you have HR resource. In the meantime, aim to have similar conversations with your team every 8 weeks.

#4 OKRs take time to master.

Up to 4 cycles (12 months). That’s quite the learning curve. And if it’s one thing all startups and small businesses are short of, it’s time.

Why OKRs in Wowzers?

So you’re probably confused about why you’ll find OKRs in Wowzers. A tool designed with startup/growth-phase businesses in mind.

That’s because OKRs provide the ideal goal-setting structure. That is, the goal, AKA the objective, and the milestone, AKA the Key Result.

And as we’ll explore in the next section, we’ve made some tweaks to our OKR tool in Wowzers to reduce the learning curve and make it less bureaucratic.

The goal and milestone structure that underpins OKRs aids you in achieving your goals. Milestones (Key Results) break down your goal (Objective) into steps. You can only progress to the next milestone once you have reached the one prior. And you can only deliver your goal once all milestones have been completed.

You plan around milestones (Key Results), brainstorming the projects and tasks required to achieve each one rather than the goal (Objective) as a whole.

That’s the problem with traditional goals. You have a big goal at one end and all the projects and tasks you need to complete to achieve your goal at the other. It’s very disjointed. Milestones, aka Key Results, plug that gap.

And you can still apply SMART goal-setting techniques when writing your main goals (objectives) for OKRs too!

What have we done differently?

Wowzers still allows you to run OKRs by the book. That is quarterly cadence, organisational structures (company, department, team etc.) and mandatory Key Results. Perfect for more mature companies or those with experience with OKRs.

But for smaller companies, startups, and those just getting started with OKRs, we have a “Lite” version which offers greater flexibility. Our OKR-Lite tool lets you:

#1 Set objectives and key results at your own pace.

Specify any duration you wish, whether 3 weeks or 3 quarters. (The latter is just an example to prove a point but is NOT a recommended cadence).

#2 Structure your OKRs to suit your business circumstances.

That might be an OKR-like structure with Company, Department, Team and Individual OKRs. Or you may only choose to have one or two levels, to represent Team and Individual OKRs. You can even structure your OKRs around major projects! We give you total flexibility. And we’re not judging.

#3 Assign anything to anybody.

Objective, Key Result, even a collection of Objectives! (e.g. all company-level Objectives). It’s not by the book, but it is flexible. And you can choose not to assign anything to anyone, either. The Choice is yours.

#4 Stay on track.

All initiatives assigned to a Key Result are managed in Wowzers workflow boards, while their progress can be tracked from the OKR tool.

You can choose to have progress towards Key Results updated automatically based on the percentage of completed workflow cards. Or you can manually adjust progress towards Key Results with a slider.

Furthermore, you can also keep track of any Objective or Key Result assigned to you from the OKR tab on the Tods board. (Coming soon).

#5 Transition to OKRs when ready.

AKA ORKs by the book. Quarterly timescales and compulsory Key Results. (We’ll be adding CFR management in future).

Switch to stricter OKR implementation when you feel you and your organisation is ready. But if you never want to transition, that’s fine too.

Anything else I should know?

Try Wowzers. Free for two users.
Everyone in your Wowzers growthspace has access to your OKR board so that all Objectives and Key Results are fully transparent.

Want to set and track OKRs in Wowzers? Sign up for Wowzers.

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