Relayr is an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) company that offers complete B2B IoT solutions to companies shifting from CAPEX to OPEX-based services. From its offices in Chicago, Berlin, Munich and Katowice, the company works closely with manufacturers, operators, and service companies for industrial equipment, supporting them in their digital transformation.
Relayr adopted OKRs in early 2021 as a way to create and standardize a shared goal-setting framework across the whole company. Guided by a group of OKR consultants, they started with a small pilot project within the Engineering department before rolling it out to the rest of the company later the same year.
As the team was still working remotely due to Covid-19, the pilot project used Miro, an online whiteboard tool and collaboration platform, to track their OKRs. But it quickly grew too difficult to manage.
“Before adopting the OKR for Jira app, we went through a tedious process of consolidating everything into one place. We tried using Miro boards and a master Excel sheet. But those documents quickly became outdated as more OKRs and teams were added. It was also very difficult to provide updates, report the status of our OKRs or grade them.”Philip von Heydebreck, Senior Strategy Manager at Relayr
Employees were also using various tools—from Miro boards to spreadsheets—to keep track of their OKRs. There was an attempt to build a master spreadsheet containing all the OKRs that the company was working on. But there was some pushback as employees disliked having to use yet another platform. Updating the spreadsheet was also a time consuming process.
The pilot finished successfully, but the team knew that when the time came to roll out the OKRs to the rest of the company, they needed a better way to manage their OKRs. They needed a different tool—one that was scalable, easy to use, and to adopt.
Relayr surveyed a variety of OKR tools, from standalone programs to Jira apps. They were looking for a solution that could stand as a single source of truth for their OKRs and be quickly adopted by the company.
While a couple of tools met most of those requirements, they ultimately chose OKR for Jira, liking its simple but effective UX, and its compatibility with Jira. Relayr was already heavily invested in the Atlassian ecosystem, so choosing a Jira-based app meant that they didn’t need to roll out a brand-new tool. With OKR for Jira, the company could build on what they already had – and it also made the onboarding process much easier and quicker.
Phil, Senior Strategy Manager at Relayr and the process owner of Relayr’s OKRs, also praised the support from the Digital Toucan team. “Weronika [Digital Toucan’s Product Lead] was very proactive from the start, which was a nice surprise! She walked us through how to use the app and held several onboarding webinars with our OKR champions. There is documentation online, but having someone showing you all the different features available is very helpful. We could also ask her questions directly rather than digging around for answers online.”
Digital Toucan solved issues promptly and even implemented a custom field just for Relayr. Several teams wanted to set their OKRs’ deadlines without changing the selected end date for the cycle, but could not do so in the app. So, the Digital Toucan team created a custom field to accommodate the request, customizing the app for Relayr’s needs.
“The full roll-out would not have been possible without the OKR for Jira app. We would have had a lot more pushback from the teams or failed entirely. But the app made adopting OKRs easier and created transparency across the company that didn’t exist before. Now, updating and tracking our progress is simple rather than a chore.”Philip von Heydebreck, Senior Strategy Manager at Relayr
The OKR for Jira app greatly simplified Relayr’s OKR management process. Today, they have fully adopted the OKR framework with its support.
The company now has only one source of information on the OKRs, which is readily available for any employee to see. Updating the status of an OKR requires just a simple click to be reflected in everyone’s Jira board and the reviewing process has never been easier. And with the app’s ability to send OKR update reminders straight to people’s inboxes, Phil has kept OKRs fresh in everyone’s minds.
Reviews also take up a lot less time. During the pilot project, the team required several meetings a month, some running almost three hours, to plan and coordinate the team’s OKRs. But with the app’s support, they can run everything by themselves and significantly streamline the process. Now, they have fewer, more dedicated, and much shorter OKR meetings each cycle.
The app also lets Relayr spend less time preparing for review meetings. Previously, managers had to locate the most recent data for each team’s OKRs, compile the information, and put them into decks to present to management. Now, all they need to do is open OKR for Jira and use that to present. After all, everything that a company would need to review – from status updates to identifying which OKRs are in danger of falling behind – is right on the app.