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    September 23, 2022

    Rally User Groups: OKRs and Timelines

    Learn how our super users get the most out of their teams using Rally

    The best thing about our users is that they have insights into how to use Rally. Everyone has their own approach to managing their project and these insights can help everyone, not just those on their teams.

    That’s why we love Rally user groups. They give our users a chance to do a deep dive into the features they use, how they use them, and why it’s important for their teams to focus on them.

    In our most recent user group sessions, Rally users talked about how they use OKRs and Timelines, taking the time to explore how they applied them directly in Rally.


    OKRs - also known as objectives and key results - are a powerful way to create focus and alignment (both vertical and horizontal) among teams, according to Doug Wilson of T. Rowe Price.

    To Wilson, OKRs are a way to describe where you want to go, not where you are. They’re a way to describe broadly what you hope to achieve during a sprint or project. They break OKRs down into two types: committed (i.e., they must be achieved no matter what) and aspirational (i.e., “wouldn’t it be nice if we could do this”).

    Creating good OKRs means looking at what you need, why you need it, and what you hope to achieve by doing it. The objective is a statement of a broad, qualitative goal. The key result is a quantitative statement that measures the achievement of the objective.

    The diagram below helps you break down what an OKR should look like, or better yet, how to put it together.

    One of the ways that Wilson uses OKRs is to better manage dependencies. These are always going to exist within a project, but you can use your OKRs to limit their impact and better ensure alignment within teams.

    OKRs work best when you constantly evaluate and manage them. Breaking your objectives down on at least a quarterly basis can help you create a cycle of attempting, measuring, and adapting. And, by constantly checking in, you can make sure things are heading in the right direction.

    In this user group session, Wilson covers how to apply this practice directly within Rally.


    At Sabre, Elaine McNaughton and her teams use Timelines to perform high-level planning, sequence work in a way that reduces handoffs, and reduce dependencies.

    As a planning tool, Timelines give McNaughton a way to visualize large volumes of work. It provides leadership with an easy way to check the status of projects. Program managers and release train engineers can see a project’s status and proactively recognize any potential scheduling risks, reducing the number of dependencies.

    Timelines are also useful as a coaching tool for new teams who may not understand how the various pieces of a project fit together. By putting together timelines and giving these new teams a way to see dependencies that might exist, teams can learn how to better plan and organize future projects.

    McNaughton also likes the way timelines can be used to determine an idea’s feasibility when brainstorming, helping you understand and plan the journey from idea to marketplace.

    To see how McNaughton uses Rally to manage Timelines, check out her user session here.

    Don’t miss out on Rally activities

    You might find this summary of different engagement opportunities with the Rally team a helpful resource. Whether you need 1:1 support or have product questions, there are many different forums you can leverage such as office hours, communities, and more!

    Tag(s): ValueOps , Rally

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