5 Questions & Answers about Viva Goals


Hey there! I'm a researcher who recently rolled out Viva Goals to my organization. I wanted to share about about what they looked like, Q&A style! So.. here we go!


  1. Who am I?
    • Hi, I’m Jenna, and I’m a Principal Applied Research Scientist on the Engineering Systems team at Microsoft. We build the tools that developers use to build Office, and I study our tools and processes to help make developers more productive.
  2. Why did I decide to use Viva Goals for my org?
    • One of the biggest challenges in my team is that we work with people all over the company and the world, and each team does things in a slightly different way. It was really hard for PMs to use so many different planning tools, reporting mechanisms, etc, and it was hard to keep track of what everyone was doing and where they were in the journey. As a researcher, I had done a study on how our organization sets goals and how we measure against those goals. One thing we found was that it would be really useful to have a common tool that everyone could use and see – voila! Viva Goals! Now we all speak the same goal setting language and it is easier to understand cross team work.
  3. What do you wish I'd known earlier on your journey?
    • I wish I’d known two things: Firstly, I wish I’d know it’s okay to be a little unsure when you start, and to learn as you go. I know every OKR book tells you to do this, but I still wanted to do it perfectly right off the bat. It doesn’t always work like that. Once we actually got data in the tool and were able to see how teams used it, then we could make some tweaks and changes to get it working just the way we wanted. Secondly, I wish I’d known how helpful the Viva Goals team are! They are an amazing resource when getting your organization onto the OKR framework.
  4. What gets me excited about Viva Goals?
    • I feel empowered in my work knowing exactly where to look to understand what my teams are working on and how it’s going. I don’t feel as confused and I can look up other teams or people in the organization to get myself familiarized with their work. I love that!
  5. What feature do I wish Viva Goals would add?
    • I want to see Viva Goals proactively identifying teams of people I should work with. I imagine there are other people in the company working on work that is similar to mine and it would be great to connect with them! If Viva Goals could tell that their work and goals sound similar to mine and connect us together, that would be awesome.


What about you? Why are you using Viva Goals, and what would you like to see in it? I'd love to learn more!

4 Replies

@JennaButler thanks for the insights. I’d be interested to hear what the change process was like moving from multiple PM tools to Goals. How’d you get everyone on board with the move? Did you replaced the existing tools or are they integrated with Goals?

@HelloBenTeoh thanks for the thoughtful question! For us, it's been a slow journey. We started with understanding all the different tools people used and how they used them. We then got one part of the org (about 1/5th) to start using Viva Goals and really held their hands through the whole process. We are working closely with each team to help them get onboard. We ask for their feedback, do surveys, etc, to understand the best path to move onto this tool. Once they have been on for one or two OKR cycles, we plan to replicate what worked with them to the rest of the org. So we are still a work in progress, but we are doing it slowly, with lots of feedback and data gathering along the way.

@JennaButler thanks. Sounds like a great process.


How did you find the process of teaching people to write OKRs? What sort of challenges did you face there?

The biggest issue was people wanting to get it perfect instead of just diving in and getting started. The OKR process is designed to take a few cycles to get right, but you need to get started to improve. We had folks wanting to get a lot figured out upfront that was easier to tackle once we got going. Another challenge was working between teams, and helping teams with OKRs that spread across teams or that had different styles than other teams. The Viva Goals team would help us in those situations. The use of the tag a team feature in Viva Goals really helped, as did the explorer view.