On OKR Implementation in Service Business


Szymon Paroszkiewicz headshot
Szymon Paroszkiewicz

CEO and Founder at Green Parrot and Develtio

Episode notes

Host Jenny Herald’s guest on this episode of Dreams with Deadlines describes himself as the Chief Cheerleading Officer and OKR Shepherd for his successful digital marketing, interactive and creative agency.

As founder of both Green Parrot and Develtio, a spin-off software company that transforms traditional services into digital products, Szymon Paroszkiewicz has woven OKR initiatives into his company’s culture – with great results! He’s sharing insights about what it looks like to implement new systems and processes within a services-oriented workplace culture.

What you will learn

  • How to juggle objectives in a fluid, client-centric environment
  • Why prioritizing KPI results is less important than staying nimble and true to your company’s big-picture OKR goals
  • What it takes to overcome internal resistance and secure buy-in at every level of the enterprise.
  • The importance of making room for failure along the way, iterating OKRs that work for your specific corporate culture and needs.
  • Where you’re likely to see OKR value-add – saving time, optimizing resources, fostering communication, and boosting revenue.

Show notes

  • [00:02:30] Origin Story: How Szymon became an OKR convert and ultimately an evangelist at his ad agency and spin-off software company.
  • [00:04:10] Going Large: How Szymon initially went with a wholesale, up-and-down enterprise approach to introducing OKRs – with mixed (if promising) results.
  • [00:05:15] A Bespoke Strategy: Why internal OKR goal-setting and incremental adjustments are easier for teams to implement than going strictly by the book.
  • [00:08:36] Juggling Key Results: Because the digital marketing world is so dynamic, it’s critical to keep priorities and adaptations fluid based on shifting metrics and solutions.
  • [00:11:48] Customer Satisfaction: What it looks like to map OKRs as client-centered service providers, including: 
    • Staying focused on OKRs as an internal measure of progress and results.
    • Using KPIs, like sales revenue, unique users, or amount of features delivered on time as the measures for project success. 
  • [00:14:25] Team Sport: Why it was important to adapt OKR strategies that worked at the board and managerial level in ways that served the development and success of individual contributors by keeping the process team-oriented.
  • [00:16:00] Chasing Success: How Szymon positions KPIs like revenue relative to influencing OKRs as a byproduct rather than a hyper-focus dominating overall OKRs. 
  • [00:18:35] Thumbs Up: Although the process can be time-consuming and requires resources, Szymon believes OKRs offer consulting businesses tremendous upsides.
  • [00:20:35] Overcoming Resistance: How modeling commitment and flexibility through various iterations in OKR implementation eventually secures buy-in across teams.
  • [00:22:49] Long-Term Champions: A look at the shift in dynamics as early adopters sometimes lose interest and early resisters come to enthusiastically embrace the metrics, enhanced communication and other benefits iterative OKRs confer. 
  • [00:25:15] Quality Control and What It Looks Like to Measure for Success:
    • Celebrating wins (something Szymon wants to do more frequently)
    • Reevaluating metrics based on how easily they were met
    • Analyzing objectives that failed for clarity and, where necessary, restating
    • Building on what’s working and optimizing through iteration
    • Hosting company-wide post-mortems to provide transparency on OKR progress
  • [00:27:30] Before & After OKRs – and Their Net Business Impacts:
    • Overall savings through reduction in wasted time, resources and energy
    • Fewer, but more focused and effective initiatives at all levels of the company
    • A clear roadmap that provides employees – especially newer hires – access to the objectives and processes that support corporate success
    • Communication and transparency to support the execution of goals
  • [00:30:38] Celebrating Success: About how OKRs have supported the recent integration of a new CRM system – and scores of other value-adds up and down the organization.
  • [00:32:47] Quick-Fire Questions for Szymon:
    • What’s Your Dream With a Deadline? To create systems that support a holistic life personally and on a professional level to create platforms to help manage the accelerating impacts of AI on the digital marketing and ad space.
    • What’s Next for Your OKR Program? Not overthinking or unnecessarily tinkering with initiatives that are in place and working; perhaps adding monitoring tools.
    • Advice For Someone Just Starting Out? Making mistakes with OKRs is part of the process and a good thing. So don’t stress or over-worry the process!
    • A Book that Has Shaped the Way You Think?
    • Can You Share Some of the Mistakes You’ve Made? 
      • Getting a slow start on building proprietary software products and platforms. (But the ball is rolling now …)
      • Being a marketing company that was not doing a good job marketing itself! (But new promotional strategies have now been rolled out…)

Relevant links

About our guest:

Szymon Paroszkiewicz headshot
Szymon Paroszkiewicz

CEO and Founder

Szymon Paroszkiewicz is the Founder & Innovation Director at Green Parrot Digital Marketing, an interactive creative agency that develops and deploys digital marketing strategies. He is also CEO at Develtio, a spin-off software company based in Poland that transforms traditional services into digital products and solutions.

Additional resources