OKRs are a powerful way to set goals, but they can also become a significant time suck if you’re not careful. The biggest mistake when using this technique is writing your OKR on a spreadsheet.
This might seem like a good idea at first glance — after all, spreadsheets are easy to use, and you can share them with anyone. But they have some significant drawbacks that make them the wrong choice for goal tracking.
If you’re still tracking your OKRs on a spreadsheet, there’s no better time to change than right now to the OKR template.
Moving to OKR Template: Why Tracking OKR on a Spreadsheet is Bad
1. Managing Multiple Spreadsheets is Unwieldy and Impractical.
It’s hard to keep track of OKRs in one place. For example, if you want to see how many people are on track or when they’ll be done with their annual goals, it can be challenging because there is no way to visualize this information at a glance. You may need multiple sheets or tabs to keep track of the status of your team members because there’s no built-in way to visualize this information in one place.
2. Hard to Detect Areas That Need Attention
It isn’t easy to see what needs attention and where it needs attention first. If some work has fallen behind by several months, it’s tough to know what needs attention first without looking through several spreadsheets covering different periods and people. There may not even be any visual cues as to which areas are most urgent — all you’ll see is a bunch of numbers written that you have to interpret yourself.
3. Participation and Compliance are Nearly Impossible to Achieve
It’s hard to get people to participate or comply with this process when they feel like they don’t have a role in it or can’t see how their work fits into the bigger picture of its overall goals. If they aren’t engaged in the process, they won’t be motivated by it — which means they won’t take ownership of their development as employees or leaders in their own right.
4. It Takes Longer to Report OKRs Manually
Tracking OKRs manually can be very time-consuming and inefficient. It requires you to collect all the data points you need to report on, which can be very difficult if your company has multiple departments, divisions, or teams.
Manual reporting also makes it hard to see the big picture because it requires you to gather data from different sources and then compare them against one another. If your organization has more than a few dozen people on staff, this can become a real chore quickly.
5. Manual OKR Reports Make It Difficult To Cascade Objectives and Track Progress.
Tracking cascading objectives is cumbersome. If you have a hierarchy of objectives, as most companies do, it isn’t easy to track progress across all levels at once in spreadsheets. You have to update each level every time the goal changes manually, leading to inaccuracies and delays in reporting.
6. Spreadsheets Don’t Adapt Well to Change.
If your company grows or shifts its focus over time, your goals should change. Spreadsheets are hard to update because they rely on manual data entry, so it will take time to reflect these changes.
If you want to maximize your company’s performance and value, there is no better way than using the latest methodologies in management and leadership. Tracking business goals with the OKR template is a must for all organizations that want to stay top of their game.