5 mins

Internal OKR Champions: 13 Reasons Why SaaS Companies Need Them?

OKR champions can create the flywheel in an OKR rollout, much like the torque that AARRR (Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, Revenue)  metrics (also known as Pirate Metrics) bring to SaaS companies.

As you read this, the first thought coming to your mind might be, “Who exactly is an OKR champion and what does he/she really do?”

Role of an OKR Champion

The internal OKR Champion is someone nominated by the sponsor of an OKR Roll out (aka the CEO), to introduce the concept of OKRs to the organization and work closely with teams to adopt them.  Such Champions are generally certified and come with a wealth of OKR implementation knowledge. Ask a Googler about OKRs, and most often you will hear ‘That’s just how we do business around here’.  Amen!

Now, that is what happens when OKRs become a part of the company culture and alignment. Why are we suddenly talking about this example? because OKR champions help you do exactly that, build a culture of OKRs and alignment and when it’s part of the culture, there are no surprise elements popping up with Goal Focus.

Historically, the challenge with any Strategy and Goal Management frameworks is the problem of starting it, following it, and then conveniently forgetting it, even worse arm twisting it to suit company culture, market dynamics and cut copy paste methodologies. Due to this problem, management teams, business leaders, and most importantly company employees lose faith and interest in any new frameworks and methodologies.

Now coming to OKRs - they are definitely anything but a ‘Set and Forget’ framework. If you think it's a one-time process change, we highly recommend you don’t opt for OKRs. It requires focus, discipline, sponsorship, and commitment to launch and see it through!

Enter OKR Champions!

OKR Champions help companies reset the thinking process and approach towards Goal Management and Strategy Execution! They work with you to help you understand questions such as:

  • Why OKRs?
  • How do OKRs work?

They make sure you don’t Set and Forget. Still don’t believe us and see the value in having an OKR Champion in your company?

Alright! In that case,

Here are 13 reasons why your SaaS company needs an OKR Champion:

1. Leading the OKR Adoption Program

Your OKR Champion leads the OKR adoption program (Simple!)  Getting started is always difficult. You are forced to think about questions such as:

  • How do we get started with OKRs?
  • How do we write OKRs? 
  • Are we approaching our OKRs correctly?

Your OKR champion will answer starter queries like the ones above and many others.

2. The In-house Expert

OKR champions serve as in-house subject matter experts for OKRs (read books, articles, attend webinars, liaise with OKR consultants).

3. The Best Go-To Person

When teams need a bouncing board to check on the ‘Quality’ of the OKRs crafted, they can always rely on their OKR champions. 

4. OKR Champions Follow-up with their Teams

Champions define the repeatable process for collecting, sharing, and leveraging OKRs. They track the progress against success criteria. 

5. Easier Team Progress Tracking

Your Champion tracks progress against the program plan. If you don’t have a person tracking this progress, your teams might just lose track of the program amidst all their daily task lists. 

6. Bridge the Gap Between Companies and Software

A champion acts as the expert on the OKR Software and keeps them going to track and manage OKR adoption. Forget all the ticket raising and back and forth communication with the software providers. Your OKR champion acts as the Point of Contact (POC) between the company and the software providers to make sure everything on the software is green signaled. This is because he/she knows the ins and outs of the entire OKR software.

7. A Personal Cheerleader and Motivator

The Champion is like the cheerleader, keeping teams on track, and cheering them on. It's very easy to highlight missed tasks and progress not made. Nonetheless, you always need a cheerleader to celebrate even the smallest wins and encourage progress. Who better than your champions to carry on this tradition?

8. OKR Champions = Navigators

OKR champions are like navigators! Booyah! They tell you exactly how the OKR rollout is going and keep your SaaS company Strategy Maps on course.  

9. Leadership Reviews Made Fun

Champions make leadership reviews interesting, and data-driven. An OKR report on progress can give a 10-second picture of the health of your business. 

10. Crafting OKRs for HR initiatives

Champions provide input to executives on potential OKRs linkages to people practices. E.g.: to conversations and appreciation programs.

11. Creating an Amicable Work Environment

They ensure the initial alignment of OKRs. Much of the secret sauce in OKRs is about bi-directional alignment. Champions see this through very effectively. They make sure that teams know how their KRs fit well and work cohesively with other teams/functions.

12. Better Manage OKR Program Budgets

This, of course, is a very critical aspect. Even if the budget is not just in terms of the amount invested onto platforms, coaching, etc., the fact that the number of times teams spent on crafting OKRs, managing check-ins, and updating progress is also viewed as a productivity cost. Champions try to make all these steps in the process as productive as possible to make sure every minute is worth the penny.

13. Efficiently Training New Members

OKR champions lead in-house OKRs training programs, as new teams come on board.

In short, OKR champions win the hearts and minds of teams!

Want to know more about what goes into creating solid Internal OKR Champions?

Talk to us to know more about getting a certification to make an Internal OKR Champion.