Uptech case study

Uptech is a Ukrainian product development studio. They have 70+ people, divided by 9 departments: Sales, Production, Operations, R&D, and more. Each of the units has its sub-teams, goals, and processes. The company strongly relies on its mission and needs to align all the teams with a strategy to achieve it.

They faced the challenges of poor goals' achievement, weak responsibility zones, and lack of accountability of the team's progress when the team was growing rapidly.

Uptech & Plai success story

Plai Plan

Pro Monthly

Size

74 people

Location

Ukraine

Industry

Software Development & Consulting services

Story

With the mission-oriented approach, OKRs methodology fits Uptech perfectly.

Starting from 2019, they began tracking OKRs in spreadsheets. Soon, they realized that simply putting all the goals into the spreadsheets is not work. Teams often forget about OKRs. What is more, manual updating and formatting spreadsheets are often time-consuming and frustrating.

*How Uptech tracked OKRs with spreadsheets at the beginning

Uptech needs

They get started with Plai - a performance management tool. Plai was designed for small and medium-sized teams and has a powerful free plan. Such flexibility allowed Uptech to test the tool and use it for free before their team would grow.

Set up an OKR process and help the team follow it regularly

Educate team on OKRs methodology and create a culture of regular feedback, OKRs, and praises

Decide on the right goals

Find a tool to support this process

Designing a process

Adapting the canonical OKR framework, Uptech found the rules that work best for them:

• 1 strategic (1-year) and 6 tactical (2-month) OKR cycles

• Once a year - strategic session to plan annual cycle (high-level goals)

• Every 2 months - check-ins for planning tactical cycles (smaller goals)

• Bi-weekly check-ins to update the team on OKRs progress and discuss questions/ blockers

• Retrospective/lessons learned and start over

Educating the team

One of the issues Uptech faced was the low engagement of the team in the OKR process. At this stage, it is crucial to teach team leaders how to handle the OKR process and help them recognize its value.

Uptech conducted OKR Talk with funny illustrations to explain this process to the team. The Talk covered the OKR formula with scores, examples of common OKR mistakes, questions to discuss during check-ins, and each team member's value in the result. And some memes, of course.

Choosing right goals

• The best practice is to make department leads responsible for setting OKRs. This is also a good way to engage them. If leaders suggest goals, they are more willing to take ownership over them.

Brainstorm goals together. During strategic sessions, department leads share data about the issues and opportunities in their units. Altogether, they brainstorm goals that will help to achieve positive outcomes for all the departments.

Asking employees. Uptech updated eNPS with questions that help to understand areas of improvement for the next OKRs period. All goals are transparent, and department leads announce when the next OKR session is coming. So, any employee can always see what OKRs they chose and influence them when they have something to contribute.

Selection of a tool

After realizing that spreadsheets are not a scalable way for tracking OKRs, Uptech was looking for an OKR tool. Most of the software were designed for large companies and overwhelmed with features. Moreover, they were costly: only annual packages and high fees for each user.

They get started with Plai - a performance management tool. Plai was designed for small and medium-sized teams and has a powerful free plan. Such flexibility allowed Uptech to test the tool and use it for free before their team would grow.

During use, Uptech found some pros and cons in Plai:

Pros

Easy onboarding: all teams switched from the spreadsheets to Plai in 1 week

Asynchronous real-time goal setting

Visibility of the team activity within the feed

Ability to use 1:1s, PDPs, praise to make the OKR process even stronger

Tips and templates for using OKRs, 1:1s that develop good habits in the team

Cons

Plai didn't have a mobile version initially, so they requested this feature, and Plai released it promptly.

Lacked a way to keep each other informed on the progress of the goals. That is why they requested the Slack integration feature. Plai released it as well in ~1 month.

Results

They get started with Plai - a performance management tool. Plai was designed for small and medium-sized teams and has a powerful free plan. Such flexibility allowed Uptech to test the tool and use it for free before their team would grow.

100% of employees familiar with business goals

9/9 Uptech departments use OKRs regularly

Average OKRs score increased by 20%

59% of employees have PDPs, contributing to business goals

67% of managers conduct 1:1s regularly

Hope this guide was useful for you and will help you to make OKRs work for your team!
If you have any questions - feel free to contact us.

Useful materials

They get started with Plai - a performance management tool. Plai was designed for small and medium-sized teams and has a powerful free plan. Such flexibility allowed Uptech to test the tool and use it for free before their team would grow.