“Milestones? What do you mean? I’ve heard about Scrum and OKR, but now, Milestones, I have no idea what it is. ”
– Person before becoming Roads reader

Maybe you are thinking like the person above, but don’t worry, I will explain exactly how using well-defined Milestones can facilitate the alignment and clarity between the OKRs and the operational.

In case you know what Milestones are, great! I hope that this text will positively impact you so that you can define milestones better and better.

Their emergence and application came due to the fact that OKRs are in three-month cycles (according to John Doerr’s book, Measure What Matters How Google, Bono Vox and the Gates Foundation rocked the world with OKRs) and Scrum was in shorter cycles of 2 to 4 weeks (according to the book Scrum: the art of doing twice the work in half the time, by Jeff Sutherland). To get the most out of these methodologies it was necessary to create a middle ground, and from there the Milestones emerged. They are larger deliveries than the Scrum tasks that will be performed in a period of 2 or more Sprints and are perfectly aligned with the company’s OKRs in a given quarter.

The image below illustrates this well, take a look:

roads schedule

Note that each delivery (Milestone) is executed in 2 sprints (this is not a rule, you can execute more than 1 milestone per sprint, this is according to the company’s needs and the ability of your team to perform tasks.). These deliveries are aligned both with the sprint cycles and, mainly, also with the company’s Key Objectives and Results in 1Q 2020.

Creating well-defined Milestones

Well, now that you have understood how Milestones work and saw that they are the link between OKR and SCRUM, I will show you how to create them and how their clarity can facilitate the creation of tasks that will be performed by members of the team. Here at Roads, we use this methodology, which, using OKRs, we see milestones that are aligned and will be broken down into small tasks.

1st step: Interpreting the company’s Key Objectives and Results

Tasks are not created out of thin air, the focus is needed, that is, where we want to be in the next 3 months. Starting from this idea and having in hand the objectives and metrics that need to be achieved, we think: what must be delivered to positively impact these metrics.

Let’s illustrate an example:

What is my company’s main OKR this quarter?

OKR: Having 30 thousand customers per month in my store.

Which Milestones (deliveries) do I need to perform to reach these 30 thousand customers?

Milestones: Understand the behavior of my 1000 best customers.

This Milestone above is very complex and it is not possible to execute it in just 1 sprint.

2nd Step: Dismembering Milestone into smaller tasks

With the milestone in hand, you need to understand what tasks are needed to deliver all of this:

Tasks:

  • Study about RFM;
  • Analyze the frequency of purchases throughout the year;
  • Analyze changes in the average ticket with the campaigns;
  • Identify common points among all the 1000 best customers.

All of the above tasks are part of a well-defined Milestone that will positively impact that company’s goal in the quarter.

Faster and faster deliveries

With all the above gear working perfectly, your team’s “little engine” starts to produce more and more, as there is greater clarity in the tasks to be performed. Each member understands that the task being performed by him is part of a Milestone that will contribute to achieving the company’s Key Objectives and Results (OKR).

This increase in productivity is due to the following fact: focus! In a company, it is essential that all the energy and time used by its employees is aimed at the same target, in our words, OKRs.

Based on our experiences of more than 3 years using these new forms of management, which were mentioned above, we realized that little by little all this is being incorporated into the corporate culture and becoming a habit for the teams. In agile companies, this process is a little easier than traditional companies, which are not as agile and at first such change can be uncomfortable. We at Roads have already applied these methodologies in the 2 company profiles and the results were very satisfactory.

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