Manage Objectives and Key Results with Transparency | Microsoft Viva Goals

Mechanics Team
12 min readAug 1, 2022

If you’re a manager or a team member, Viva Goals makes it easier to align and stay focused on the strategic priorities of your organization and work together to accelerate progress.

Vetri Vellore, Viva Goals team lead at Microsoft, joins Jeremy Chapman for a closer look at how this brand-new goal setting and management solution helps drive clarity around your objectives and key results, and makes it seamless for teams to track progress against them as they work. If you are a team leader, we’ll show you the intuitive goal setting experience, along with Microsoft 365 integration for your team members to record their contribution to goals. For admins, we’ll demonstrate how quickly you can set everything up.

Address organizational pressures.

Prioritize individual efforts with clarity on team contributions of a shared project. Viva Goals’ proven framework increases motivation and reduces burnout in hybrid work environments. See what’s behind Viva Goals.

People > Platforms

Align your team’s individual efforts with broader organizational goals easily. And provide criteria and clarity for their success. Viva is the first platform that combines systems of work with systems of support into an integrated employee experience. See how to create and track OKRs with Viva Goals.

“This meeting could have been an email,” said no one on my team ever again.

Keep check-ins streamlined with up-to-date progress reports and key learnings to help track against goals using the Team Dashboard feature. Take a first look at our new goal-setting and OKR management solution, Microsoft Viva Goals.

Watch our video here.


00:00 Introduction of Microsoft Viva Goals

00:46 Overview of Microsoft Viva experiences

01:06 What’s behind Viva Goals

02:49 Overview of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) framework

5:16 How to create and track OKRs with Viva Goals

7:06 Add/track data for status updates

09:13 Dashboard view to measure progress against organizational goals

10:22 How to create a Key Result

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Video Transcript:

- Up next, we’ll take a closer look at Microsoft Viva Goals, a brand new goal-setting and management solution that helps you drive clarity around your objectives and key results and makes it seamless for teams to track progress against them as they work. Now, if you’re a team leader, we’ll show you the intuitive goal-setting experience, along with Microsoft 365 integration, for your team members to record their contribution to goals, and for admins, we’ll share the quick steps to set it up. And to walk us through all this, I’m joined by Vetri Vellore, who leads our Viva Goals team at Microsoft. Welcome to the show.

- Thanks so much, Jeremy.

- And it’s really great to have you on, especially as the author of this brand new Viva experience. But before we go there with Viva Goals, if you’re new to Microsoft Viva, this is our employee experience platform. Viva Goals joins a growing number of experiences with Viva Topics, Viva Connections, Viva Learning, and Viva Insights. Everything is built on top of Microsoft 365 and surfaced in the context of your work, and you can watch our full overview at So, Vetri, what’s behind the rationale for this brand new experience with Viva Goals?

- So, to build on what you were saying, Viva is all about putting people at the center, and it’s the first platform that brings together systems of work with systems of support into an integrated employee experience. And Viva Goals is about alignment and purpose so that it’s easier for us to connect the dots between our efforts, as an individual contributor, and the broader organizational goals, and at the same time, if you’re a leader, you can bring more clarity along with the criteria for success. In fact, it’s designed to address both the organization and employee pressures because, on one hand, organizations are facing unprecedented levels of disruption and uncertainty, whether it’s due to technology disruptions, macroeconomic conditions, or other factors. And on the other hand, the pandemic has made hybrid and remote work the norm, which can create communication silos, and even worse, lead us to a loss of sense of purpose. As part of our work trend index research, we saw 77% of employees are now looking for more purpose in their work. A lot of the time, that’s because we may not have context about how what we are doing really matters, and that really impacts motivation. So with Viva Goals, whether you are a manager or a member of a team, we make it easier to align and stay focused on the strategic projects of the organization and work together to accelerate progress.

- This clarified focus will hopefully lead to less burnout because you can prioritize your efforts, and there’s also this bidirectional clarity on everyone’s contributions towards a shared goal. You know, that said, the goal setting and tracking, what’s already part of, I think, a lot of normal operations out there for organizations right now, so how’s this different?

- That’s true. Organizations have been using various methods like KPIs, MBOs, and SMART Goals for a while. These models don’t always show the alignment between the company, department, and team objectives. So you may not even understand why your work really matters. Viva Goals automates a relatively new but proven framework called OKRs, which stands for objectives and key results. In fact, I wrote a book on it. The OKR framework is relatively simple. First, objectives define what you want to accomplish, and key results are defined as measurements to achieve your objective, and initiatives comprise the activities you’ll use to achieve those outcomes. Let me make this real with a few examples for a company that develops video games. Our objective is to be the best gaming platform in the region. We have defined measurable key results with monthly active users and retention along with initiatives to achieve them like shipping a new product and executing a campaign to increase user reach. And these OKRs can then cascade from the company level to the department level down to the team level so that everyone is contributing to the shared priorities. And more importantly, everyone knows how they are contributing.

- Viva Goals has the OKR framework built in, but how would organizations then adopt this approach?

- So half the battle is making it easy for everyone to get on board with the OKR framework. Here, we have built a centralized place and a simple interior experience for creating and aligning OKRs, allowing everyone to get on the same page quickly. Next, a common problem is making sure everyone retains focus on those OKRs, so those are not just written and forgotten. In order to be frictionless and right where you work, Viva Goals is integrated with the tools that you already use every day. OKRs are integrated into the flow of work, for example, in Microsoft Teams. If you’re a developer, it integrates with Azure DevOps. Additionally, it works with other work management and data tools, and you can expect to see even more integrations with other Viva modules, Power BI, GitHub, and more Microsoft 365 apps over time. This level of integration makes progress tracking and updates automatic, keeping everyone on track with an always up-to-date view on the key results that use live data, as well as team and organization dashboards that are rich with insights.

- Now would be a great time, I think, to show Viva Goals in action and how it works with the OKR framework.

- Great, like all Viva experiences, it starts with Microsoft Teams. I will start with the perspective of what most of us will see as individuals in a team inside an organization. So I’m in the Viva Goals app. At the top, there are tabs to navigate between my OKRs, my team’s OKRs, and the organizational OKRs. And just to show you how all of these views work together, I’ll start with the organizational OKRs. Here, we are seeing the top level objectives across the company. You will see the aspect with the best gaming platform, a great place to work, as well as a goal for increasing profitability. I will expand our platform goal. You will see that we have a few key results for monthly active users and retention, and there are also a few department level objectives aligned to this one. Each objective has an assigned department or team. We can also see the status and progress, owners, and a due date for each. From here, I will move to my team OKRs, which is a similar view, but scope down to my team. You can easily see how these objectives ladder up to our organizational OKRs, and this one at the bottom about minimal downtime is clearly tailored for my team of platform developers. And finally, I’ll move to my OKRs tab. This is the default tab where, as an individual, you’ll spend most of your time. Here, I’m looking at my OKRs related to the broader organizational goal of delivering against the objective to become the best gaming platform, and my role in this larger objective is to deliver the group play feature this year. As you can see, everything is designed to be transparent, and it’s super easy to understand how your work and your team’s work contributes to the overall goals.

- And you can really see how the OKR model kind of comes to life here, so how does the data flow in for progress or status updates?

- There are a lot of ways, from direct live data connections with other systems or manual check-ins. Let me start with the experience in Viva Goals. I can easily update my progress right here from my OKRs. When I do that, I see the progress over time. I input a current value. We are up to 75,000 power users now, and from this dropdown, I will change the status from behind to on track and add a quick note for additional context. From there, I just need to hit check in, and everyone will now be able to see my progress.

- And one thing I noticed when you updated that KR was that the other key result actually updated as well, so are they linked?

- Yeah, that’s a great observation. What relationship exists between this key result and everything about it will get updated with this information. For example, this one was previously behind, and when it updated the downstream key result, it changed to on-track, and the percentage moved up from 60% to 72%, and it gets even better. Because this is a fully Teams-integrated experience, as I work and collaborate with others, I can easily share progress updates in my conversations and in other tools. Here, I am in Teams chat. I can see there’s a question here looking for progress, and right in my flow, I can check in with the new update. I will share the key result value. We want to reach 10%. So far, we have hit 3%, which is still behind, so I will keep the status as it is. And I’ll paste in a note from my clipboard to save time and complete my check-in, and this will be deeply linked directly to that OKR in Viva Goals app. Now, what’s even more exciting is how we can directly integrate with common cloud services and Microsoft data sources to automatically synchronize the data against your key results, which we’ll get to in a moment.

- That was the key experience for updating your key results, then, as an individual contributor or member of the team, but what if you’re a manager or a team leader, how would you be able to track your team’s progress or maybe the progress of an organization as a whole?

- So as a manager, you will benefit from even more drill downs to be able to see progress. You’ll remember the views I showed before at organization level, and there’s something else I want to point out is that we have a full web experience for Viva Goals. Here, you are seeing a top level chat view with objectives at the team level. You can see the objectives of each team, how they align, and how everything is going. And let me show you the dashboard tab, which is a great way to share information. I can see all of the key updates of progress on how things are developing over time, and importantly, you can also see where we are capturing key learnings that we can now use to improve our progress towards the goal. In fact, in my team meetings, I like to use the dashboard view because it provides the most fidelity and context for the team, and these are super easy to use because Viva Goals populates all of this information based on your check-ins.

- Now I’ve introduced, for everyone watching, you know, the concept of Viva Goals really by starting with its end state, where OKRs have already been established, so why don’t we rewind a little bit. As a manager or a team leader, how would I get in the objectives and key results in the first place?

- Yeah, objectives and key results are very similar. In this case, I’ll create a key result to show you the process. To create an objective or key result, you just hit the new button, and to save a little time, I’ve started already building a key result. That metric name is Daily Active Users. You will see the target in my case is set to 50 million along with a load that we want to increase it from 25 million. Then measuring progress can be achieved in a number of ways. It can be inputted manually, rolled up from other key results or fed by a data source. And further, by the way, we have a few dozen common data connection options for both Microsoft and non-Microsoft systems as well as supported file types like Excel spreadsheet. I will choose a SQL data set where we centrally track our usage telemetry. I’ll set the details so it knows where to query it from, and that’s it. Now I just hit create, and I’ve automated a data feed, and it’s up and running.

- Okay, it’s pretty straightforward to set everything up and really align and also automate the process itself. Now, for the IT folks who are watching right now, what do they need to do to get everything set up and make sure that people can access the experience?

- It is pretty simple. There are just a few prerequisites and recommended actions. First, you need to make sure your users have a license for the service and it’s enabled. Then, from the Teams admin center’s app setup policies, a good way to make sure people can easily access the Viva Goals app experience is to pin it to everyone’s left nav. I will just search for goals in this case and select it, then I can place it where I want. Now, that’s all it takes to get started. Now you can easily align your teams with your organizational strategic priorities as you work together and make progress towards objectives.

- And this is a really great addition to the Viva employee experiences, so for anyone who’s watching right now looking to get started or learn more, what do you recommend?

- We have just announced general availability, and you can find out more at

- Thanks so much, Vetri, for joining us today and also all the work that you and team have done to deliver Viva Goals. Also, don’t forget to check out the rest of our series on Microsoft Viva at Be sure to subscribe to our channel if you haven’t already, and, as always, thank you so much for watching.