On Learnings from Over 4 Years of Implementing OKRs


Lavanya Gopinath headshot
Lavanya Gopinath

Director of Operations at Chargebee

Episode notes

In 2019, Lavanya was seeing a need to align priorities between teams and make them more visible and transparent.  This led her down the journey of making the decision to implement a company-wide OKR system. On this Journey, she learned many lessons along the way and shared the most important ones with me today.

What you will learn

  • What led to the decision to implement an OKR system at ChargeBee.
  • Reducing the number of priorities teams were focusing on and mapping all these out.
  • Getting company buy-in on implementing OKRs by having the leadership team paint the vision of what it is and why it’s important.
  • Learnings, experimentation, and refinements made since the program has been implemented.

Show notes

[00:02:54] About Lavanya’s origin story and how she came to stewarding objectives and key results (OKRs) at the billing and revenue management platform Chargebee. 
[00:04:49] How and why OKRs play a pivotal operational role at Chargebee.  
[00:06:12] About prioritizing goals in a way that quickly aligns leadership and teams. 
[00:06:59] The Chargebee journey has not been without stumbling blocks. 
[00:08:24] Defining key results: What to communicate about and when. 
[00:09:29] About the Why: Strategies for motivating teams to adopt OKR processes. 
[00:12:19] How Chargebee articulated cultural values and objectives designed to resonate across the enterprise. 
[00:13:39] About Chargebee’s key objectives: growth, value-add, an empathetic ethic, and fast learning cycles. 
[00:14:49] How outside OKR coaches helped define and respond to challenges. 
[00:16:49] Learning Curve Lessons: The process takes time, and people need prodding.  
[00:18:00] About experimentation and failing fast, which are part of the OKR journey. 
[00:20:43] How Chargebee layers OKR and operations into quarter-end close-outs.  
[00:23:27] Rules of the Road: How to set your OKR process up for success. 
[00:23:35] The role of internal OKR champions deployed across all business functions. 
[00:25:54] How OKR champions are identified and recruited. 
[00:27:57] About the cadence of Chargebee’s quarterly and annual OKR milestones. 
[00:29:49] What occurs during monthly OKR reviews and how the tracking works
[00:32:39] Rolling out recognition at the functional level. 
[00:33:29] Special ways of honoring (and reinforcing) individual contributors. 
[00:34:50] About blending OKR methodology with other performance metrics. [00:37:14] How OKRs differ by function and in a cross-functional context. 
[00:38:19] What comes next in Chargebee’s evolving OKR journey. 
[00:40:26] Quick-fire questions. 
[00:43:07] Operational issues that are top of mind for Lavanya.

Relevant links

About our guest:

Lavanya Gopinath headshot
Lavanya Gopinath

Director of Operations

Lavanya Gopinath, the Director of Operations at Chargebee, has 20 years of experience in creating, delivering, and managing software, teams, and functions. She possesses end-to-end expertise in all areas of the product lifecycle for enterprise, consumer, and mobile applications in both B2B and B2C domains.

Additional resources